January 30, 2008

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day


What was the worst investment you ever made?

What was the best?

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

Best: My last house, bought in '03 and sold in '05.

Worst: My current house.

Anonymous said...

The worst mistake I ever made was getting heavily into put options back in mid-06. The market was starting to crash in May/June and all the signs pointed to a recession and bear market - the inverted yield curve, the worsening housing market, faltering stock market leaders (GOOG, AAPL, Whole Foods, etc.), sinking auto sales, foundering GDP, etc. Between May and June I made a TON of money with puts on homebuilders and subprime lenders, only to watch it vanish in the incredible rally that started in August.

I still haven't quite figured out what happened - why did the stock market take off like a rocket when the economy was obviously starting to head downhill? My guess is that it had something to do with high-level political or fed actions. PPT or maybe Paulsen, who had just been appointed around June, conned China into pumping cash into the stock market. Either way, it was a horrible experience and turned me off of options forever.

Anonymous said...

Best: Shorting CFC and IMB

Worst: Not shorting harder

fish said...

Best: The Reno house I bought in 2000 and sold in late 2003.....the proceeds of which went into PM's

Worst: My ex-wife!

Anonymous said...

worst: etoys stock (only lost 8k) but held till bitter end.

best: RE - sold buncha homes in 05 - now renting a crapshack. oh man is it crap. garage floods everytime it rains, fooking lovely.

Big Cheese said...

Best investment: the place I bought and am living in while collecting $50K per year as a housing allowance.

Worst: holding on to my tech options back in 2000, became a near paper millionaire and lost it very fast without getting out. And I added some of my own money that became a net loser as well.

Ed said...

BEST: House I bought in Las Vegas and sold for $200K more within 4 years. Same house that is now worth $150K less than what I sold for.

WORST: not selling my stock options in time circa 1999/2000. I would have had to pay short term capital gains. So I foolishly held on until it would only be long term gains. Well within that time I lost a few hundred thousand dollars. Every time stock price dropped $5 I thought it has to come back. And the next $5, same thing. And on and on. I painfully watched week after week and kept (again very foolishly) thinking it has to come back.

Learned that lesson well. Which is why I sold my house at the first sign of a deteriorating housing market.

common sense said...

Condom machines in a women's prison.

Jersey Girl said...

Worst: Buying Cisco @ 65 during the height of the tech bubble.

Best: Buying Apple @ $18 just after it burst.

Harry Lime, Phd said...

A Gibson Les Paul Standard - in 1980 $860. Today $4500. too bad it's not liquid like gold which was Ok - Austrian Gold Dukat $110 ten years ago - I sold 2 for $410. each the other day - needed some fast cash - things are getting tighter, I think.

Flaming Fiero said...

Best: 4 acres of raw land I made $100 K on when I sold last year....

Worst: I think it was the 84 Pontiac Fiero. I Paid $14,500 new and it was only worth .50 cents 3 days later (Thanks GM)

Anonymous said...

BEST, buying 80 acres of Florida land in 93 for 2k an acre and reselling part of it later in 2005 for 25K an acre.

WORSE Paying 75 dollars for a marriage license in 94 that ended in divorce where the Ex gets half of the land and sells it for 500K in 2005

Malcolm said...

Worst: FSELX in 2000

Best: Sisters of St Joseph in 2003

Chris said...

Best... Buying Dell at 16.00 dollars a share.

Worst... Selling Mcdonalds at 29.00 dollars a share.

also buying my condo period.

Anonymous said...

Worst - bought Lucent at $40 because it couldn't go any lower. Sold 500 shares of Apple in 2004 because the stock wasn't going anywhere.

Best - bought silver at $4, and gold at $300.

smitty said...

worse investment? getting hooked on the MSM; best investment? finding good books and magazines to read;

Marky Mark said...

Best. Wife, kids, education and military experience.

Worst. PVII. Lost everything (only $8000) but on the bright side - that was my only loss in the tech bubble.

Marky Mark

tangelo mozilo said...

Best: Gold in mid-2006

Worst: Tech mutual fund in 1999-2000

The jury is still out on the huge investment into higher education.

Anonymous said...

I had 20K of calls on GG. The market maker / counter party / hedge fund took it down $4 for two months -- this started an hour after I took the position.

Anonymous said...

Best a house in the desert in 87 doubled my money when sold in 89

worst a mini doughnut machine I made about 33 cents and had trouble with the health dept oh well california giveth and taketh away..

Nomo said...

Best: Selling investment property in 2005. Used proceeds to pay off main house. No debt on anything.

Worst: Not enough for retirement.
What does it matter with the trashing of our $? "Serfs up dude"!

Anonymous said...

Best investment has been my gold portfolio, which has more than doubled (thanks as much to GLD as gold mining stocks like GBN and GG). Second best was buying a condo in the Philly burbs for $80K in 2003 and selling it in 2005 after 18 months for $146K.

Worst investment, boy there are so many to choose, let's just say my portfolio was tech-heavy at the height of the Internet bubble.

Lesson learned then and applied to now. You see bubble are good, but only when they're inflating. Don't stay too long past midnight on New Years' Eve, and definitely don't show up after the ball drops.

In other words, don't be a bag holder!

sam said...

Best: my house bought between Christmas and New Years 1999. I walked out of settlement (for legal cause) and knocked 20% off the price to close the next week. 120x (not percent) return on equity when sold in 2006.

Worst: letting a few CFC puts expire in May and not re-upping

Anonymous said...

500 shares of Global Crossing.

menlobear said...

Best: shorting Ambac and MBIA

Worst: holding on to my YHOO stock this year. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

Best: PUTs on financials in 2007, up $800K

Worst: Long oil and Nat Gas servicers in 1995, lost $86K

RollaCoasta said...

Best: Buying a pile of gold at $425/oz...and shorting CFC right before they crashed hard, and making money of them twice actually!


Worst: Being the last sucker piling in on some Dot.Con stocks. I barely had enough money left over for the stamp to send me my $40 check.

area 51 said...

Worst: 3 Card Monty on a street corner.

Best: Aflac

Anonopuss said...

Worst: buying gold right now.

Best: buying Thai Baht when it was 50 to the dollar in 1998, it is now 31.

beerwineliqour said...

I just bought a 2008 Vette - but I got it used. Some poor chap had it for 2 months and only put 1K miles on it before he found out he had knocked up his wife - so he trades it in on a new Tahoe. I think this will be my best investment this year hands down, as I got it at 2009 depreciated price...

My worst investments will continue to be my houses of course...

john r said...

Best: Buying a house/five acres in southern Oregon in late 1999 for $145,000 and selling in 2006 for $650,000.
Worst: Selling my Microsoft and GE stock about six years ago. Those were keepers.

Stuck in So Pa said...

What was the worst investment you ever made?

Money wise, it's always been...a little on the plus side...a little on the minus side...no great fantastic wins or utterly devastating losses (YET!).

What was the best?

$15 for a marriage license back in 75. The other half has never stopped appreciating.
(Hey, it's not always about money!)

Anonymous said...

Best:
Buying house in NoVa/DC in 2001 & selling it in 2006 & puting mega $$$ in the Bank

Worst: losing first starter house in 80's Texas Oil RE crash

BUT!
The "Worst" taught us about RE cycles so that we unloaded the DC house 20 years later & recouped our RE losses, not to mention upping our Retirement account greatly. We currently rent & save even more Monthly :)

Anonymous said...

.


This is the change Hillary is talking about!

That's all you'll have left!



.

Mammoth said...

Bought into two Janus Mutual Funds in March 2000, and put in a total of $9,200 over the course of that year. Finally sold at the end of 2006, after the price finally had risen to ½ of what I had initially shelled out. Ouch!

Shoulda held on ‘til last August. Shoulda, coulda, woulda…unfortunately in the real world you can’t just click the “UNDO” button.
----------------------------------
Best investment? That would be keeping my old house and turning it into a rental, back when I bought my current residence in 2001. Lucked out with good tenants who stayed there for six years. After they moved out last August I spent 2 months fixing up the place, then sold it in October and paid off my residence.

Purchase price: $126K. Sell price: $285K. You do the math…

But my best investment, in terms of percentage gain, was the ’67 Pontiac LeMans convertible that I bought in 1978 for $300. I drove that car – it was a BLAST – for 13 years, until some idiot ran into it and totaled it. This bozo’s insurance company paid me $4,500 plus I got to keep the car and sell it for parts.

You can go on and on about how reliable Toyotas & Hondas are, but many GM cars from the mid-‘60’s were equally reliable. When that Pontiac headed off into oblivion it had racked up nearly 320,000 miles. Man, I still miss that car!
-Mammoth

Anonymous said...

Best: buying puts on homebuilders in spring 2006 that expired that summer

Worst: buying puts on homebuilders in fall 2006 and watching them defy gravity as the housing market collapsed

Anonymous said...

.



Believe it or not...

GOLD below 250

Still have it,

all of a sudden I'm glad I hung on to it!

It was a long haul from june of 99



.

Anonymous said...

worst: lots of MRKL at ~$.50/share

best: beach condo in '97 at ~93K sold a couple years ago(definitely the best investment!)

Keyser Soze said...

Worst:
Ferrovanadium
Ascend communications

Best:
20% of a new chain
Exxon
NationsBank, now BAC

Anonymous said...

Best: A Canadian diamond set in a Kretchmer Ring for my wife

My MD

House bought $0 down in 2004, sold 2006.

Worst: Global Crossing lol

Anonymous said...

I bought MSFT at 78 right before the 2000 election. I figured that Bush 2 would kill the federal probe and the stock would go. Little did I know that we were in the middle of that HUGE tech bubble. It's now at 32.......

Anonymous said...

Purchase of a Luxury Ghetto Riverfront Townhome in America's 3rd World country, Wilmington Helawhere. The complete and utter lack of prosperity and civilization and raging crime made it impossible to live there and undermined my ability to work.

I washed my hands of my overpriced ghetto shack a year later and took a 50-60k hit. Its what motivated me seek out and find these blogs and why I now rent in a first world western civilization.

If I can hold onto what's left of the proceeds from my overpriced DC condo sale (my best investment ever) and if prices continue to tank here, in a few years I can come out ahead and be a much stronger and wiser person.

Anonymous said...

Best: Education (P/E ratio hands down the best investment ever and till they make a mindwipe they cant ever take this from you)

Worst: Hard to say...mebe new car, but it was a honda civic best of a bad situation (buying new) and hey, its a palindrome

Lady DI said...

Best: My law degree

Worst: Tech stocks. I am still writing the losses off...

ZZwcck said...

Worst: A biotech stock lost $17k at opening bell. No leverage.

Best: Joined the Army for the college benefits.

Anonymous said...

Worst: I've owned several stocks that went to zero, including one (McKesson HBOC) that dropped in half overnight when they were caught fiddling their books.

Also bad: I've made several oil and gas investments that I just got tax writeoffs for.

Best: Other oil and gas investments that have paid off big time.

Kenduffelsniffenspotzen said...

The worst? Bought 3 ounces of gold at $650 in 1980.

The best? I'll have to think about that.

michael said...

worst - great thing is i have never made a bad investment.

best - crappy thing is i have never made a good one either.

Anonymous said...

Best :

Jan 2008 Puts on Home Builders in Early 2006.

Puts on Lenders in 2007.

Puts on Financials in Late 2007 and
now.

UP 400K+

Worst :

Purchased Calls on gold/silver stocks in May 2006.
2008 GOOGLE PUT in May 2006.

DOWN 10K

Anonymous said...

Worst: Lost $4000 in ASTP a company that made photovoltaic cells, it went bankrupt.

Best: College education at a state school

Frank@Scottsdale-Sucks.com said...

Worst: Dot-com stocks in the late 90s. I was young and dumb (in my mid 20s) and listened to stockbrokers on commission.

Best: My business. I think that's the best investment anyone can have. We're getting ready to celebrate the 5-year mark soon.

sac'to watcher said...

Worst: Buying stock based on a friend's suggestion. The company went from $1/share to $0

Best: Yahoo.com (bought in Jan 97, sold in Dec 99).

Anonymous said...

Best: Receiving for free the high price for salvation that Jesus paid for me (and you, too!) almost 2000 years ago!

Worst: All the time I squandered serving the world, and the things of the world, which are obviously devilish and bent on devouring all who play the world's game.

For clarification, see John 10:10!

Anonymous said...

Honeywell stock in the 90's took a bath on that one.


RichinAz

Anonymous said...

DOLLAR

Doityourself said...

What was the worst investment you ever made?

Someone else's business.

What was the best?

My business.

Anonymous said...

Best: Graduate school. It was free tuition and I was paid a stipend eqivilant to minimum wage, but it was grueling for several years. But landing a 6 figure job (with a high ceiling) by age 26 made it worth it.

Worst: My current house. It's value will at best stagnate until 2010.

Anonymous said...

Worst: getting myself overleveraged in silver in an OANDA account last year. I had to sell in the bloodbath on Aug 17, and am just now getting close to a breakeven. If I had either not overleveraged, or just not done anything that day, I'd be $10K up.

I should have known better than to leverage more than 2 to 1 - after all silver tanked from about $15 to about $10 just in 2006. Ah greed...

Distant second: putting $2000 in American Century Ultra fund 3 days before the NASDAQ peak. Reason for that investment: it's gained 80% in the last year!!! Lost about half of it.

Best investments - dollar wise: our house: appreciated $60 over 11 years and allowed bullion investments.

% wise: bullion and Central fund of Canada. Only wish we had started buying in 2002 or so at $4.50 an ounce instead of in 2004 at $6.60. I also wish we had gotten all the cash we could at refinancing in 2005 and plowed it into silver.

Anonymous said...

The worst investment I ever made was buying $2000 worth of Worldcom stock in early 2001 when it was in the $40/share range.

I rode that baby all the way down to zero.

The ironic thing is that I almost bought Countrywide instead of Worldcom. Up until last year that would have been a much better play, but the end result would have been pretty much the same.

Jymkata

http://financialjudo.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Best: As someone else said, my education. I spent about $25K for my degrees. The difference in my income over a lifetime vs. not getting the degrees will be in the millions. Can't imagine I will ever have a better investment than that.

Worst: Had 60% if my 401k in tech funds during the late 90s. That joke about a 401k being turned into a 201k rang very true for me. Luckily I was young enough that I had time to recover.

Yoski said...

Worst: CMGI stock options during the .com bubble. Stands for
Cash
Money
Gets
Incinerated
...learned my lesson well.

Best: 15 acres in NC near Raleigh. Tripled in 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Stanley works in the 60's

With splits and the dividends it's been great!

Cornholio Mangus said...

Worst: Married for 4.5 years.
Best: Bought my first Maple Leaf (that's gold, y'all) for $277.00.

Anonymous said...

Southern Maine ...

WORST: Bought a popular nightclub in 1996 with 4 other partners (we're still friends). After 14 months of working +40hrs a week in the club (for free), we had only made a profit one month so we folded.

BEST: Bought 3 abutting parcels of raw land on a hill in 2003, created the best water/mountain view subdivision in this region. Quit my 23 year career as a Semiconductor Engineer to pursue business full time. I sold the lots, not home packages - the buyers had their own designs and contracted their own builders. I profited about $2.5M in 4 years on a $150K investment. Woo Hoo !! That's absolutely HUGE for this area. I was incredibly fortunate.


SECOND BEST: NOT developing an abutting 194 acre parcel into 70 new non-view lots in May 2006. I had become a daily reader of these housing blogs; they gave me the 4extra insight to know when to stop the process while I still could. Once you've started, there is no efficient way of turning back. Looks like I will be sitting on this land for a few years ... but that's okay by me; parcels this large are getting scarce. Taxes are about $2500 a year.

THIRD BEST: Divorcing my wife Dec 2002 ... she took half my net worth (at that time) back to Canada with her ... in retrospect, it was a real bargain!

whitetower said...

Worst: A dot.con stock bought in Feb. 2000 for $7/share. I kept the faith right down to .02/share.

Best: Obtaining my PhD.

Anonymous said...

worst:bought house in las vegas (summerlin)1993 $117.000 sold feb. 2001 for $139.000. the next year 2002 the the buyer sold same housefor $310.000 did i screw up. keep the house 8 years make $22.000 buyer keeps one year makes $171.000. to this day i still lose sleep over that one.

Anonymous said...

Best: My grad school education
Worst: Attending the most expensive grad school in the country GWU.

devestment said...

Worst= 50% loss in house bought in 1990.

Best= Gold at 250 when advised to buy tech stock.

Saving while business was good.

Buying stocks at the crash and then dumping.

Buying real estate on the way up and dumping near the top.

DTEJD said...

BEST: National Beverage in 1991, ticker is now FIZZ

WORST: Law School, I paid over $11k in student loan interest last year.

Anonymous said...

Graduating in Law and 2 postgraduation degrees (one on tax and the other on finance). 8 years of higher education and no work whatsoever...
I should have been a plumber...

Anonymous said...

In the 1970s I invested in a limited partnership that was going to build a seaside hotel in Spain. I ended up with a 100% loss. Fortunately, it was only $1,300. (I think the equivalent today would be $5,000).