My Financial Goals

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

My Investing History

I figure I would give you a little history about my investments so far. I graduated college in 2002 with a Computer Information Systems degree and got a job as a programmer making $45,000 a year out of college. While it didn't happen right away I knew I wanted to start investing my money ASAP possible. I had always figured that if I started putting say $10,000 a year away when I first started working I would never miss the money or have to adjust my lifestyle to accommodate my saving/investing habits. So shortly afterwards I had a fellow classmate of mine from college approach me about an investment product he was selling. It was something called Whole Life Insurance and I eagerly agreed to set up an appointment with him, because I knew I had already wasted some precious investing time and I had no idea at that point how to invest. Well I stuck to my motto of wanting to invest $10,000 a year. Well after a short sales pitch and no research on my part my buddy had convinced me that this whole life policy would give me an 8% return on my investment, and so I told him I wanted to buy $10,000 per year of Whole Life insurance. Thankfully they'll only let you buy 10 x your salary in Life Insurance so I was only able to purchase about 450,000 worth of whole life insurance which ended up running me about $5000 a year. Regardless I was "investing" my money and had plans to put the other $5000 or so in something called a Roth IRA and some other investments my buddy would come up with. Well I ended up holding off on the other investments because in 2002 the stock market wasn't exactly roaring and I was pretty sure if I invested my money at that point in time I would actually be earning a negative return so it was better off to wait. Well about the same time I started attending graduate school for my MBA at night after work. One of my finance professors recommended that we go to as a good resource on financial matters. Well this small off the cuff remark before class completely changed my financial and investing knowledge. I read just about every article they had on their website. I learned all about Roth IRAs, Mutual Funds, Stocks, Bonds, Mortgages, Loans, Credit Cards, you name it. While I wasn't necessarily an immediate expert, I learned enough to start to take financial matters into my own hands and make educated decisions on important financial matters without the help of so called "experts" Shortly after I started doing the math on the financial figures my Whole Life agent had given me and found out that I would not end up getting nearly close to the 8% that was brought up in the sales meeting. I eventually cashed out my entire policy (at a substantial loss). I got married in the summer of 2003, and by the beginning of 2004 I had learned enough to start a Roth IRA for me and also for my wife. Both were maxed out for tax years 2004 ($6000) and 2005 ($8000). I also started contributing to my employers 401k in November of 2004 ($8000). So basically at this point I have done a pretty poor job of putting my goal of $10,000 a year away for retirement. Had I done this I should have about $35,000 put away at the end of 2005 (2002-$5K, 2003-$10K, 2004-$10k, 2005-$10k). My actual contributions have been closer to only $22K to this point in time and as we can discuss in a different post adding a catch up contribution of $10,000 now is nowhere near the same as if I had contributed that $10,000 4 years ago. So in essence I am behind the game and hopefully this blog will help be get back on track and stay that way going forward.


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