May 11, 2009

What's the best decision you ever made?


Anonymous said...

Selling my house in DC / NoVA in '05
Oh yeah :)

Anonymous said...

Starting my own business; working from home.

Jersey Girl

Anonymous said...

Personally, marrying my wife. Money matters putting $2500 a month in the bank for 4 years during the tech bubble. It was hard at first because everyone would brag about HOW much money they had "made" but when it crashed I just watched the news and smiled. So what is the next big bubble? Anyone.

Mike Hunt said...

Putting Soot & Ashes on my favourits list.

(what an asskisser)


Mike Hunt said...

Ok, for real:

Buying a condo in cash and living here for 3 years - payment free. And as a plus my previous employer paid me a $3500/ month housing allowance. It was pretty sweet, but that's over now.

Another arguable best decision was marrying a good woman who has great financial sense and is frugal. This is how we are going to end up retiring at 40 and 34 respectively.


Smiley Face said...

Apparently, not buying a house during the peak of the boom:

Toxic Chinese drywall story:

Anonymous said...

sold my house that was priced at triple in 06. major hat tip to you kieth! rented for 2 and a half years and bought one back at half the bubble price. (i know, i's not the bottom yet)prices are still 25 percent or so above year 2000 prices here in inland empire of so cal, but i wasn't getting anything for my $ in the bank so it made sense for me. it looks to me like we are about to see prices go well below year 2000 with the absolutely horrific unemployment rate we will see soon. kieth, i owe you big for that couple hundred grand i made by selling! signed: buttcrackofdoom

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Marrying my wife. This one, not the first Mrs. Bukko. It hasn't always been the HAPPIEST decision, but she's gotten me to go in new directions that I wouldn't have otherwise -- figuratively and literally.

The $64,000 question is, would she say the same about me?

Michael G said...

Selling my apartment in Brooklyn for over 500k when I knew it was only worth about 400k. Renting ever since and so happy I don't own a old apartment in a crappy building and made a 200% profit from it.

consultant said...

Three actually.

Not voting for Bush.

Getting out of a contract with a realtor back in 1999. She was a real piece of work.

Markus Arelius said...

Moving to southern California from northern Europe in 2005 and renting instead of buying.

Never thought it was atmospherically possible for weather to be 75 degrees and sunny almost every day of the year.
I'm happier for it.

Anonymous said...

Divested my money from Europe, before the coming major economic collapse.

Ross said...

Mine was picking a private Jesuit High School over public school and the International Baccalaureate program. The Jesuits taught more than just how to write and read critically. They taught me what it means to be a man and have a real respobsibility to serve others.

You can mock the Catholic Church all you want, but their education is tough to beat.

Anonymous said...

marrying my wife.

Stuck in So Pa said...

Recently, like in the last five years? Easy! I decided to research online, while a lot of people in my church were advising me to by second homes out of state (like they already did.) Found HP, and the rest is history.

Now, the all time best decision I EVER made, goes back a few years, and is a sordid little tale of lust and betrayal and................

On second thought, I don't think I'm ready to share that!

FC John said...

The Best? How about top 5

#1 Making the decision to invest in higher education as continuous improvement exercise

#2 Divorcing my spendthrift ex-wife:
A perfect 10 on the hotness scale but lacking goals, common sense, & commitment to fidelity doesn't does not a strong marriage make

#3 Starting my Roth at the age of 18.

#4 Taking time off to travel the world after graduating from College (the first time around)

#5 Not having kids in my 20s

~FC John

Joe said...

Retire in 2006, cash out my 401K and buy Silver for a nice +22% gain over 3 years.

All the while all of the other working slaves now have a 201k.

Joe M.

Rob Dawg said...

Buying a house in California at the exact moment the trend changed.

Amtex said...

Best decision ever was reading Housing Panic. Sold 2 Florida house in 2006. Sold the stock market at 13900 knowing Bush's economy was phony. Bought gold at $475 and sold it at $950. Bought back into the market at 6800 riding the Obama wave.

Now I just watch and laugh at all the 'experts' on TV.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy I sold out of gold and energy funds in Aug 07' before they took the rollercoaster ride down.;range=5y

Anonymous said...

Getting drunk off my ass everyday after work to cope with stress after loosing all my savings. Just kidding, but I am down big time on this suckers market rally. Not loosing my shirt though, I know that the crash is coming.

My best decision has been to finish my Bachelor's degree and my MS degree. Did I mention that both degrees were financed on their entirety by my employers?


Banana Republicrat said...

Moving my entire 401k into a treasury-based fund in the fall of '07.

Towjam said...

It's a tie for me
2001- Quit my job and went in to Real Estate full time.
2006- Sold my house and started renting.

Anonymous said...

Not to buy a house in 06.

Burn Baby Burn

bottom feeder in philly said...

The best life decision I made was when I married my wife, and had my 2 boys. Life is so much better when you have someone to share it with, especially someone as great as her and my 2 wonderful kids. They make me happy. Business wise the best decision I made was buying a rundown rooming house 15 years ago. We didn't realize it at the time, but that building changed our lives. We now have enough rental property that we can live off the cash flows. The 1st few deals were no money down with seller held 2nd notes. As they appreciated we did lines of credit against them to buy more. Today we have 100 units and a six figure yearly cash flow that we live comfortably on. The other wise decision we made together was to live a conservative lifestyle. We do have toys, and do like to play. However we own everything for cash except our home.
Worst decision was to pursue a dream of being a used car dealer. That's been a trainwreck. There is no financing out there and people are broke. Oh well shit happens it has been a growing experience and valuable education.

Anonymous said...

not buying a $400k condo in irvine, california when they offered me a HELOC instead of declining me like they should have ..

something just wasn't right (circa july 2007)

Lady Di said...

Getting my law degree/becoming a lawyer. It pays well; the education can never be taken away from me; it enabled me to say Buh Bye to the corporate life and start my own practice; I've been able to help people with it; and last but not least... I met my husband at law school.

Mark said...

Best decisions I ever made:
(1) Went to an in-state university, graduating with almost no debt.
(2) Didn't get a credit card until in was 28 years old... and then only because I needed to travel for work.
(3) Didn't buy real estate between 2000-2009.
(4) Worked and lived all over the world for 8-9 years... so someone else paid for me to travel.
(5) Professionally, I went where the growth was.
(6) Started a business.
(7) Learned from everything, and still do.

Angelo Mozilo's Pubes said...

Selling my rental house in 2006. I jumped just as the ship was going down. Thanks Keith!

Anonymous said...

selling the cabin in 05 and moving to South America to a nicer house in a nicer place with free health care and no violence and clean air.

Anonymous said...

"Selling my house in DC / NoVA in '05
Oh yeah :)"

See, this is funny - people on this blog talk about how this country has become morally bankrupt, there are no values anymore, Angelo Mozillo is a scumbag, the banks are scumbags, etc.

Yet, for some reason, many of you probably think the above is OK - knowingly screwing someone else over to get paid.

"I gots mines"

However, the above actions and mentalities are no different than the stupid short term crap that wall street pulled.

"I gots mines, I don't give a f*ck bout any one elses."

And, anon, if you supposedly did not know that your POS NOVA home was overpriced and/or did not know that you were screwing someone else over, then you are just plain stupid and should not be boasting in the first place.

All I am saying is that back in the day, people seemed to do "the right thing" and there were things called honesty and integrity. Such characteristics have been almost been completely lost and the world now sucks because of it.

Thanks assholes.

Sgt. Bob said...

Back in 98 I bought 22 acres cash, built a Timberframe cash, got rid of all credit debt. Now I work for myself as a sales rep. from home, driving a truck that's paid
for. I am liquid as all hell! I've seen our country doing economic stupid shit for years.
I have to live here, not join in and become a consumption idiot.....

Anonymous said...

Relying on me.

Mammoth said...

“What is the best decision you ever made?:”
(1) Quitting my job as a printer for a newspaper in my late 20’s and going to college. Not so much for the education, but for what came along with the ‘sheepskin’ – a good-paying job, more healthy working conditions & hours, and a more interesting group of colleagues.

(2) Financial – turning our first house into a rental when we moved out, and then selling it at the peak for more than twice what we paid for it. This enabled us to pay off our residence.

(3) Personal – Answering an advertisement in 1992 that read, “Meet lovely Russian women!!!” Yeah, yeah – sounds cheesy but it has worked out wonderfully.

After taking the time to learn the language and corresponding for 2½ years, we finally met in person. Married my wife in 1995 and we are very happy to have one another, plus a child.

If I could only have had one of the above, it would be (3) of course!


Anonymous said...

Not closing on a house in Jan 06, with the help of your adive in Mesa, AZ off of Higley... the $314k hom is worth less than 150k now.

Anonymous said...

Not hiring Greg Swann

Anonymous said...

#1 - marrying my wife.

#2 - was enlisting in the army for 3 years out of high school. turned me from the slaker I was into the man I am which enabled me to get #1 right (along with many other decisions throughout my life).

December 2008

Anonymous said...

Selling my overpriced illegal labor built shitbox in SoCal "inland empire" for more than 100% over its value in July, 2006. Just in time we were just at the peak, before the bubble burst.

Thanks to Keith and HP, I was reading for months before then when searching for some news about a housing bubble I ran across the HP and Ben's sites. Although the bubble was obvious, it wasn't too obvious just how BIG it had become. Put the dump on the market and sold quick. Cleared a cool 1/4 million $$ on it. No doubt this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I took full advantage of it.

Now trying to find ways to hang on to the money as it's rapidly being devalued by the gang. Thinking about buying lotsa gold and holding it at the Perth Mint in Aussieland.

patrat said...

When I saw a fork in the road, I took it!

(Courtesy of Yogi Berra)

Anonymous said...

So I sold at the top of the Market and it's my fault I'm not an FB now?

It's a free Market society (?)and I made money of my sale of my Primary residence?

I didn't "knowingly screw someone" - they paid the going rate at the time for the area - guess what dipshit - the BUYERS set the price, not me the seller.

This makes me an asshole - ??

Let's see, and all the Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, RE "Investors", Flippers are Ok

Sorry you still don't get it

gwk said...

to stop reading soots but someone told me of this question so i had to respond but it is by far the best decision i have ever made i think clearer am not as depressed and am enjoying the sitcom called the obama administration more than ever so and i said when i left i come back in a few years to see how obama is doing

vanilla ice said...

Deciding to never give one red cent to any realtwhore.

Wind Farmer said...

Yogi explained his remark, "When you get to the fork in the road, take it."

He was giving directions to his house and it didn't matter which way you went, both ways lead to his house.

The best decision I ever made?
Majoring in Animal Science...because it forced me to take some real science and math (Biology, Chemistry, Agronomy, Calculas). Then changing majors to Liberal Arts and taking different courses (Medieval English Lit, Ancient Greek History, Theatre Makeup, French). Then (unfortunately) majoring in Business (BS Marketing). I aways wanted to live on a farm, but ended up in Manhattan for 20 years. Life's funny. The fork in the road for me hasn't gotten me to my farm (yet).

Wind Farmer said...

Also, after the post on "Why are Americans so fat?" I've been waiting for the post "What's the best meal you ever had and where did you eat it?"

Home made ravioli
Calimara, Italy (Lecce)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Selling my house in DC / NoVA in '05
Oh yeah :)"

See, this is funny - people on this blog talk about how this country has become morally bankrupt, there are no values anymore, Angelo Mozillo is a scumbag, the banks are scumbags, etc.

Yet, for some reason, many of you probably think the above is OK - knowingly screwing someone else over to get paid.

"I gots mines"

However, the above actions and mentalities are no different than the stupid short term crap that wall street pulled.

"I gots mines, I don't give a f*ck bout any one elses."

And, anon, if you supposedly did not know that your POS NOVA home was overpriced and/or did not know that you were screwing someone else over, then you are just plain stupid and should not be boasting in the first place.

All I am saying is that back in the day, people seemed to do "the right thing" and there were things called honesty and integrity. Such characteristics have been almost been completely lost and the world now sucks because of it.

Thanks assholes.

May 11, 2009 8:31 PM


Hey John...Don't blame us, blame Suzanne, she did the reserch!!!


Ross said...

Thanks to all who listed a marriage on this thread. It give me hope as a single, never married 27 yr old.

Went2puke said...

Cutting into pieces all my credit cards 15 yrs ago--living on cash only!I know, I know! One cannot book or buy anything online or in some stores in America without a CC! But I moved overseas and found out that life was much more enjoyable without the hefty bills, the constantly banging TV commercials and the junck mail!

I never trusted the stock market, so I stayed the hell away from it.

I sold my house back in 1998 and I lived only in furnished appartments overseas ever since.

The housing market, stocks, gold, oil, can go up and down as they may wish-- I don't give a flying f*ck and I am happy that way.

Oh! I don't have health insurance! But I don't care! Where I now live I can have my health needs fulfilled for just dimes and some change!

What else?.. I can go on and on, but I most certainly feel sorry that I may never get accustomed again to this kind of life in America, although I miss America-- a great country, but one which turned its citizens into permanent slaves for the benefit of a handful of fat cats!

Thank u Congress!

long beach, ca said...

deciding to get a job with the state. and buying my one bedroom condo in november '96 for $38,900 with $2000 down in downtown long beach, ca.

Miss Goldbug said...

In the San Jose Mercury news today, the link below is a database of company layoffs. Scroll through and see what is happening in the cities throughout CA.

There's no way house prices can keep their values.

Anonymous said...

Finding HP in 2006!

Your views confirmed mine and caution became paramount at that point.

Being conservative, I eventually sold all my homes that year. If not for teaming up with HP I may have kept building until........

Well in 20/20 hindsight I/we now know that outcome.

Thanks Kieth!

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Now trying to find ways to hang on to the money as it's rapidly being devalued by the gang. Thinking about buying lotsa gold and holding it at the Perth Mint in Aussieland.Hey anonymous, do your due diligence before you buy any gold. I toured the Perth Mint when I was out there in March. It's got a good museum of gold coins from many countries and historical eras. They put on a fun show for the tourists of pouring molten gold into a mould in front of our eyes to make a bar. You can stop at the front of the house and buy PM coins. (Although I bought out their entire stock of 1-oz. silver ducats -- 170 -- because they couldn't even come up with the 200 I wanted. Not very big-time if they don't even have AU$6,000 worth of physical silver on hand.)

The gold storage site is in another section of the Mint property. They don't give tours there. I cannot vouch pro or con for their business practises.

However, Australian business history has been full of dishonest schemes. Google terms like HIH, Opes, BrisConnections or just "Australian financial scams" to get a picture. All countries have crooks. But for a small population, Oz seems to have more than its share. I like this place, but I am not investing serious money in it. With gold, I would not want to let anyone, except my gnomes in Zurich, hold it for me. And we're seriously thinking about flying out there this year to reclaim what we left in their vaults. Be wary!

Malemedic07 said...

Bucking the male family trend back home in Detroit. I did'nt follow my dad and brothers to the Factories. I went to nursing school in CA after I got out of the Navy as a Corpsman. met my wife, who is a pharmacist...we are set

Anonymous said...

Dumping every last dime of mutual funds I had and doing my own investing.

Anonymous said...

Paying off my mortgage in 8 years during ‘The Lost Decade’ rather than investing the extra principle in the market. Sure, I fully funded my 401(k) during that time as well as maxed out my Roth every year but I saved $60,000 in interest that I will never have to pay. If I invested all that extra principle in the market during those 8 years I would have lost 40% of it like everybody else in the country. With true unemployment running at 16% I can now live on a minimum wage job when I get laid off. Living with no debt rules and it is one of the few things we common people can do to strike fear into the hearts of the financial industry. This country has been designed to run on debt and I will not play.

Roscoe said...

Not proceeding with construction on a big debt trap last year which would have resulted in us being $150k under right now.

It wasn't easy -- the dirtbag builder squeezed the wife hard and managed to get $2000 out of her for blueprints, and we still lost $30k on the lot we're still holding (at least we paid cash).

Though, I can't claim all the credit. While I would have stood firm against the project at the projected cost, the task of resisting the pressure to proceed was made easier by an ongoing period of uncertainty about my job.

BG said...

Hey Fat Amelican,

“Much of the costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been funded through regular appropriations bills, but through emergency supplemental appropriations bills. Some budget experts argue that emergency supplemental appropriations bills do not receive the same level of legislative care as regular appropriations bills. In addition, emergency supplemental appropriations are not subject to the same budget enforcement mechanisms imposed on regular appropriations.”
“In principle, the Department of Defense (DoD) separates war funding from base funding. In most cases, however, funds for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan use the same accounts as other DoD accounts. This raises challenges to attempts to achieve a precise separation of expenditures on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan from the base defense operations.”

Republicans held a majority in Congress from the 1994 “Republican Revolution” until 2006. With Clinton in office spending was kept in check and he ended his presidency with a surplus. Then lo and behold, Bushie/Cheney steal the election and the Republicans get total domination and watch out, deficit grows leaps and bonds, spending like drunken sailors on a binge (see The administration refused to include the spending in Iraq (a hapless, needless war). Now, Obama’s in office, trying to pick through the wreckage, trying to salvage an economy, spending to provide life support and somehow, it’s his fault? What drugs are you Republicans on? The GOP lost its soul a long time ago. The GOP has been full of crap for a long time. Just shut up and let others pick up the pieces and try to put humpty dumpty back together again. The GOP has lost its credibility, it’s gone. History will not be kind. By the way, I am a registered Independent, so screw you and stay out of my body, my sexuality, my home, my soul and my face. The Dems have a lot to be ashamed of but the Republicans have been evil incarnate and the biggest, most flagrant hypocrites ever in the history of our country. Despicable.

Mike H. said...


I thought you said that Oz is full of honest, good people. Now the post about the crooks comes out! Am I missing something or are you just talking about opposite ends of the society?


Anonymous said...

Finding a religion, paying tithing, and realizing that money isnt the road to happiness after all.

Anonymous said...

Buying gold back when it was in the $35 to $40 range.

Jeff said...

Getting my BSME. Mostly it was a life goal, but my income doubled after the fact, which helps make life comfortable.

Nimesh said...

Best decision I ever made was to let my first wife go. She was very good looking. Both of us made a very good income (she made more than me). But she would spend all the money. When the month was over, we saved nothing.

Her excuse was "well we are young and besides, we can't take the money to our graves. We will save later". And I knew later would never arrive.

So after five years and not saving a dime. I just had to leave. I married a frugal wife and we are happy. We have a lot in common and get along just fine.

Anonymous said...

This is a kind of a broad answer, but: listening to my own voice and not the crowd's. Has saved me from making a thousand bad decisions, even if it does make me realize how brain dead the average person is.

keith said...


Leaving the US

Big world out there...

Jerry Lee said...

It's a two parter-
1-Moving back to LA about six years ago after living in Phoenix long enough to witness the seeds of that cities destruction being sown. When I moved there in '92 it's a pretty cool place to live by the time I moved it was as bad as Frank makes it sound.
2-When I got back to LA I wanted a career change and decided to go to work with a buddy who was an electrical contractor instead of going to work in the mortgage business.

Construction is getting tougher but the mortgage business??? I would much rather be in the position I am in now having a marketable trade than having spent the last riding the gravy train that just crashed and sitting there going "Oh F*ck."

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Mike -- the little ockers are good happy-go-lucky types; the "tall poppies" are gamblers and often grifters. It strikes me as a Damon Runyon world here, like the kind of folks you'd find at the horse track when most men wore hats and suit jackets outside the house. Punters, touts and fixers.

Average people are not as industrious as Americans, yet neither are they as venal. There are a lot of dodgy schemes at the top, and they're not even scammed out as well as American cons. It's like they haven't evolved to be as sharp -- in both senses of the word -- as Americans. Very much the 1950s here in many ways.

That's my take on things here. I'm an outsider, though. What I think is coloured by my own prejudices, and would probably strike a lot of Aussies as full of shite. But aren't we all?

Mike H. said...


Pretty funny.

Surely you could start a great scam of your own. Just say that you are 'merican and know how the world financial system works!

Make sure you head back to SF before the mob attacks. Should be do-able.


I Kahn O'Clast said...

Selling everything from our accounts in Jan 08 and going cash/treasuries.

gutless and lazy said...

Top 5

1)Staying connected to 2 great parents until their deaths.
2)Consulting and contracting instead of being an employee
3)Staying in great physical shape
4)Private pilot license (S.E.L) and instrument rating
5)Getting divorced 20 years ago

Anonymous said...

1) marrying my wife.

2) starting own business.

Anton Chiguhr