Best financial decision every made?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Chicago526, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. Chicago526

    Chicago526 <font color=red>Any dream will do...<br><font colo

    May 6, 2003
    Inspired by the "worst financial mistake" thread! :wave2:

    What's the best financial decison(s) you've made in life?

    For me, it's four things.

    1) Starting my 401k at age 23
    2) Buying a condo when I moved out of my parents. Best investment I've ever made!
    3) Buying my car instead of leasing, and when paid off I kept the car instead of going out to buy a new one. 3 years of no car payments has been wonderful!
    4) Keeping my credit history spotless. Everything is paid ontime no matter what.

    What are the smart decisions you've made?
  2. Kay1

    Kay1 <font color=red>Check out Ricki's hidden Mickey!<b

    Aug 30, 1999
    Driving to the library and checking out "Tightwad Gazette" and "Cheap Tricks."
    I've also been investing in energy and precious metals and that's going well. And, I must admit, letting my husband talk me into buying a house about ten years ago. I'm a renter at heart but we lucked into the housing bubble.
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  4. Ardenne

    Ardenne Mouseketeer

    Jul 5, 2005
    I'd have to say #1 was starting to save as early as we did, even though we had very low income at the time. It really made a huge difference.

    #2 has been maintaining our 'starving college student' penny-conscious spending habits, even after graduating to real jobs -- and saving all the extra :)
  5. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

    Aug 22, 2003
    Actually total dumb luck - but accepting a job with a company that had a 401K (with 4:1 matching) and a pension plan. The smart part was in not leaving for more salary when I had opportunities come up. The retirement benefits far outweighed a salary increase with no retirement benefits.

    Another piece of total luck - buying a condo in New Orleans ten days prior to Katrina. It's on the 6th floor of a VERY sturdy building that had no damage or flooding. There is no housing in New Orleans right now so the properties in my little sliver by the river have gone up a lot.
  6. pilgrimage

    pilgrimage DIS Veteran

    Mar 29, 2002
    Learning to use sites like, and
    to help me stretch my budget. Also clipping coupons and living simply so
    there were savings to protect during layoffs.
  7. sap1227

    sap1227 DIS Veteran

    Nov 6, 2002
    -Starting my 401K at 19 years old
    -Working a full time job and a part time job to ensure I would get my "retirement" from Publix at 22 (I had graduated college and got a "real job", but I needed 1000 more hours to get my "free stock" from Publix, so I sucked it up and did it--well worth the $8K in stock they gave me).
    -Convincing my now DH that each of us should put $700 a month in our savings account starting as soon as we got engaged--it gave us a very nice start in our marriage--no Credit Cards and a good amount in savings at 23 years old (great for our house downpayment and me being able to stay home)
    -Working through college so I had no student loans
    -Buying our first house at 23

    Sigh, at 23 I was financially on track. At 28 we have taken a few steps back (being a SAHM with 2 boys has really depleated our savings and added some debt) but I know in a couple of years we will be back where we need to be!
  8. Cindy B

    Cindy B <font color=blue>Have taken some furniture polish

    Oct 8, 2000
    Buying cars for cash... no car payments for two cars over a year now.. its wonderful

    Buying our house when we did, now the houses in the area are worth double.

    Doing ING savings... its been wonderful for us.
  9. pearlieq

    pearlieq <font color=green>They can sit & spin<br><font col

    Aug 3, 2004
    Getting serious about budgeting and money management early. I was about 20 or so when I got it together. We stopped the flow of money out, cleaned up our debt, and began building for the future.

    Also, it wasn't totally a financial decision, but picking DH as my spouse helped a lot. I'm glad I have a partner who is willing to work with me on bettering our situation. Also, his career success as given us a great boost!

    I can't stress enough the importance of a spouse who is financially responsible and a hard worker!
  10. bbangel

    bbangel My friends call me the font of useless knowledge

    May 18, 2006
    1. Starting first chequing account at 5. I am now a wiz at saving money.
    2. Buying my condo when interest rates were down and just before prices boomed.
    3. Saving half my paycheque every month, which allows me to be a world traveller and not feel guilty :)
    4. Not getting married or having kids.
    5. Not owning a car.
    6. Never carrying a balance on my credit card.
  11. kydisneyfans

    kydisneyfans <font color=blue>It may be because they are too em

    Sep 26, 2005
    Quitting KMart and pulling my 401K out before it went bankrupt.
  12. crjack

    crjack DIS Veteran

    Mar 6, 2005
    Two things helped us tremendously:

    1) Both of us started 401k's very early and have never stopped contributing. (even though I only work part-time now)

    2) Dh took advantage of great tuition reimbursement benefit at his job and continuously went back to school. Several degrees later (and no loans to repay) it helped him to secure a professional position and stay marketable. It wasn't easy with a full time job to hold down and eventually two children but he did it and he finished when our youngest was just turning 1. They dont even remember him being gone so much but it helped to make our future much more secure.
  13. poptoone

    poptoone DIS Veteran

    Aug 2, 2006
    1) Bought first house at 21
    2) DW and I began contributing a specific amount to savings each month!
    3) Began 401-K as soon as eligible at first job
    4) Agreed to never have more than 1 car payment and preferably none
    5) Pay credit cards off each month (only use to gain cash back)

    DW is now a SAHM so #2 isn't happening as much anymore but we are still sticking to the others!
  14. KelNottAt

    KelNottAt <a href="" targ

    Oct 29, 2002
    1. Starting our 401(k)s at 23.

    2. Buying our current house. It is perfect for us and has tripled in value since we bought it 10 years ago. As a bonus, the lot was just perfect for us to add-on DH's office. (He's self-employed. So, even tho he works 70 hour weeks, at least he can pull the all-nighters at home.)
  15. EthansMom

    EthansMom <font color=red>spare yourself from asking me to d

    Jul 13, 2003
    1) Starting 401k contributions with my first "real" job and then increasing the contribution as I got raises. By 25, I was maxing out my 401k.

    2) Saving in advance for purchases.

    3) Using "extra" money to pay off debt rather than spend it on splurges. We've managed to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in debt in only 7 years.
  16. StephMK

    StephMK DIS Veteran

    Mar 22, 2004
    Definitely getting into the real estate market before the housing costs exploded!! My condo was a foreclosure and our townhouse was purchased back before prices skyrocketed. Now, the purchase prices of those two properties combined would not even pay for the condo now! If not for those purchases, we would not have been able to move up into a single family at all. It's just crazy & I don't know how new couples do it.
  17. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

    Feb 24, 2002
    Best financial choices:

    Choosing to live in poverty rather than take out student loans. It wasn't easy, but when I graduated, the pain was over -- with loans it would've continued for years.

    Marrying a man whose financial goals match mine. We both believe in living beneath our means -- we'd rather live in security rather than luxury. For example, right now we're looking at paying cash for a Honda Civic rather than financing a more expensive car. The key here though is that HE AND I AGREE on these things; I don't think we'd be so successful if we disagreed on these sthings.

    Contributing to my 401K and savings from my very first professional paycheck. I was already used to being broke all the time, so it was painless.

    Choosing to be a teacher. I know, this doesn't make sense at first glance, but it's really been a good choice for us. It's one of the few jobs that still has an old-fashioned pay-til-ya-die pension plan, and if I live as long as the other women in my family, I will be collecting for a long time. I don't have to pay outrageous prices for day care after school, teacher workdays and summer care. (Plus -- though this isn't really a financial decision -- I don't have to worry about them being home alone in the afternoons.)
  18. mill4023

    mill4023 DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2005
    1. Going back to school shortly after getting a useless degree to get a second bachelor's in Computer Science. This resulted in a job that started at almost triple the income I had been making.

    2. Deciding we should talk to a lender and look into buying a house even though we didn't have any cash for a downpayment and had bad credit. We really didn't expect it to be possible, but we were able to buy a new 1500 sq. ft. house that doubled in value over the next 3 years. With that profit, we were able to completely pay off both our cars and still have enough cash to put 20% down on a 3500 sq. ft house in Charlotte, NC.
  19. perdidobay

    perdidobay <font color=green>Will work for travel ;-)<br><fon

    Feb 17, 2001
    1 DH and I never tried to live above our means and so had no credit card debt, even when we were poor college students.

    2 Bought our first house at age 20 and sold it, and each home since, for a profit thanks to fixing them up a little better than we bought them.

    3 Starting retirement savings at the age of 27.

    4 Buying a condo on the beach in 2001 before prices got really crazy in 2002.

    5 Having a low interest 10 year mortgage on our house
    and a 15 year on our condo. Each month we are paying down $2,300 in principal between the two.

    6 THE MOST IMPORTANT- having a plan!!!
  20. Caitsmama

    Caitsmama <font color=darkorchid>Closet Hannah Montana Fan!<

    Apr 13, 2006
    Great thread.. Thank you!! I am still thinking of my best advice.. there hasn't been much to report here yet on that! LOL
  21. Lizzybear

    Lizzybear DIS Veteran

    Jul 23, 2006
    Deciding to clear my credit card and sticking to it, took me some failed attempts but i'm so glad i'm well on my way with it now! :cool1:

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