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Author: NaggingFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 11198  
Subject: Re: too embarrassed to ask questions Date: 1/8/2002 5:39 PM
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If you make the best decision you can given the available data, that isn't a mistake, even if it works out poorly. Someone could have carefully researched stocks, chosen which one to buy, and then invested a lot of money into the market on September 1st. Three weeks later all of their stocks would have been on sale. Was that a mistake? Nope. It was just unfortunate.

Also, you can't make all decision based only on personal finances. It sounds like you have a house you love, and have started a family. Those might have a rough impact on the balance sheet, but I don't think they were mistakes.

Sometime when you're in a better mood I think you should go over your "mistakes" list again and try to figure out how you could have made better decisions. I think in many cases you'll find you made the best decision you could. For example, it might look like it would be better if you hadn't started investing at all if you've lost a bunch of money. I disagree. It's always the right time to start. Maybe you started to vigorously, but starting was NOT a mistake.

As far as the IRA question goes. If you haven't made contributions for 2002 I would wait to invest the $950 because I'd be paying a lot in commission percentage-wise. Or if you have some no-fee no-load mutual funds you can invest in via your IRA put the money into those until you have more money to buy specific stocks in.
The subtext of your question seems to be -- should I try to time the market? Are stocks going to go up or down in the next three months. And that's when you have to remind yourself noone knows. Since you aren't going to need your IRA money for the near future, putting it in bonds isn't the best use of your money.

The car thing is scary. I'm sure you'll get through it.

You've learned bundles from the few mistakes you've made. And you've figured out all sorts of things. I think you're suffering from what my husband calls "But the stuff I've done is EASY". If you're not careful to remember the successes along the way, you can fall into the trap of thinking that the things you've already done are easy, and the stuff other people has done, or the stuff you haven't done yet, are impossible. You've done lots and lots of hard things. The things you've done were NOT easy; many of them are just as hard as the things you have yet to do.

-Megan
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