What do you wish your younger self knew about money?

Let us know! Clark may read your response on his podcast. :studio_microphone::studio_microphone::studio_microphone:

I’m not sure Clark will read this, but here goes.

I wish I had know that you don’t have to be fully invested all of the time. There are simple (but emotionally challenging to implement) technical trading techniques that reduce stock market drawdowns during recessions.

The 200 day / 10 month simple moving average on SPY. The 12 month absolute momentum measure on SPY. I reference white papers at SSRN by Mebane Faber and Gary Antonacci. This is free public domain stuff, it’s not proprietary snake oil. Admittedly you have to be a math nerd, but if I had known before the Tech Bust and Great Financial Crisis I’d be a lot richer. I’ve been doing this since 2014 and it has worked as designed. I’m happy with it.

I wish I had known about the Dow-Gold ratio. I would have sold some stocks and bought gold in 2000, then the reverse in 2011, just by following the ratio. Again, for math nerds, but I wish had known about it.

I wish I hadn’t been buying new cars early on. My last new car was in 1996, but had I not bought new in 1989 and 1996 I would have saved lots of money.

I’m glad I paid off my 30 year mortgage in 20 years. It has been dead for ten years now, it has been a joy.

Roth IRAs started in 1997, I should have put more into them earlier. Same with HSAs whenever they started, I lost opportunities to shelter money in HSAs. I missed the opportunity to do a Backdoor Roth. Same with I-Bonds and to some extent EE Savings Bonds.

I should not have changed jobs so much. I should have waited to get fired (with a severance package!) rather than get discouraged and leave early. Too many jobs on my resume hurt me.

I wasted money trading and swapping hobby items. I should have just bought quality items and held. I tended to be cheap, under buy (not enough RAM, not enough whatever) then I wasn’t happy with the purchase.

Only limit orders for overnight ETF orders. Ouch did I learn my lesson.

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I wish I had read the book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Khaneman when I was 35 years old. If I had done so, I’m pretty sure that I would have had triple the net worth I had at the time I retired.

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I wish I just went with Vanguard and the STAR fund right out of the gate when I started investing. Instead, got mired with Janus and its drama and also put money into outfits like Citizens Funds and Domini because I thought ESG investing back then would be responsible and virtuous.

Still feeling the nuisance of a legacy of investing at the buyandhold.com site. It is a minor bit of my portfolio but it evolved to transferring to M1 Finance. I am semi-happy with M1 but they are still just a more sophisticated close-and-play operation like buyandhold.com was.

Wish I bought a house when down payments and mortgages were a yawner and nobody acted like a wannabe Carlton Sheets about real estate. Ironically, I lived in NC back in the Clinton era and buying a house would have been a good move but I liked mobility.

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I’ve known about technical analysis and chart reading and indicators for a long time now. I think my impatience has made me not work with them as much as I should have. I like swing trading as my method of shoring up my portfolio for gains. Been listening on and off to Gary Kaltbaum since the Madoff days. He uses stock screening and moving averages, etc. and has mentioned more than a few times he saw the market turning last fall and told his listeners such. Oh well, had plenty time to sell in the ensuing weeks and the market has been making lower highs since the new year as a consequence. So yes, I am getting back into the camp of wanting to preserve gains and ‘getting ahead’ of market downturns.

Interest rates what they are, there is some money being vacuumed away from stocks and going into bonds. I like that money markets at Vanguard are nearing 3%. I also like the idea of swing trading an ETF and making a 5% gain and then parking that principal in a 4.6% bond for a year and locking in a 9.6% return over the year in total.

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I wish I had learned what we learned in Taipei when I was 49.
“Pay yourself first”. Put x% into savings, CD’s, invest, whatever. Those funds are sacred–never touch them.

Live on the rest. If that means, beans, rice, hash, avoid buying things, then fine. Learn how to manage.

I am very comfortable now, learning this at 49, but sure wish I had learned earlier.


Definitely how to budget as a couple and know how to handle finances jointly. It was much simpler to handle them separately but handling them together added so much complexity whether we had separate or joint finances. Kids added about $25,000 of expenses of which we need to be more careful of our spending and are trying to dig out of

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Wish I had started learning and educating myself in my mid 20’s instead of my mid 30’s. Was pushed into learning after leaving a fortune 50 company and leaving their saving plans behind.


I wish I had learned about real estate as an asset class coming out of college. Instead I just blindly followed everyone into investing in the market.


Luckily I started listening to Clark at age 22 and reading his message boards shortly thereafter (back when Clark used to ask callers if they were “internet-active”), so it’s tough to think of anything I would have been ready for that I didn’t get through those channels already.

That is a great book. I read it while I was still teaching, and I learned a lot from it.

The book changed my life. And I know 4 other people who feel the same way.

It is the #1 nonfiction book in my list of a lifetime of reading.

Two things come to mind.

First, you keep a keen eye on the things you care about. If, for example, you have a young child, too young to swim, who has wandered too close to a river runs the unfortunate risk of drowning. Similarly, if you don’t know where every penny is coming in and going out each month, you run the risk of drowning in debt.

The second thing I learned from Clark Howard is the tip about paying a credit card on off twice a month. I no longer carry any credit card debt over, but that certainly always wasn’t the case. Paying twice a month saves a lot of interest. In the interest of brevity, find out when the statement date closes and if you can’t make the full payment amount, pay the rest on the due date. Credit card interest compounds daily, so you save quite a bit of interest charges when you pay two times a month if you are in a situation that you have to carry debt over.

I always assumed that Clark’s advice to make multiple credit card payments was to avoid a hit on your credit rating.ie: like in not exceeding 25% of your card’s credit limit.

If you pay off the full amount before the due date each month anyway, what’s the advantage in making an extra payment?

I thought that when the CC bill arrives, you make a payment of the minimum payment. That eliminates any late payment fee.

But paying the full amount on the due date allows you to have your money earning you interest a few more days and there is no interest charged to your CC account.

If you do an EFT and get an acknowledgement before the due date you should never be hit with a late payment penalty. In the many years I’ve done that I’ve never incurred a late payment penalty.

Clark addressed the twice a month payment in the 10/17 podcast at around the 6:00 mark. It seems to be targeted for people that are in credit card debt. The benefit is due to interest being calculated daily.

Money – it does come in handy, but there’s a lot more to a happy life than just piling the stuff up. :smile:

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but you can rent it for a few hours.”

Well, there is that I guess, but I prefer a long lease over a short-term rental. :innocent:

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