Regrets, we’ve all had a few… What has been your biggest regret when it comes to investments?
JUST one? I could write a book. Well, a chapter.
They’ve all been learning experiences, so I don’t know how much “regret” there really is. Investments that don’t wipe you out, make you wiser.
I’d score okay for saving early enough in my life. My biggest regret would be taking too long to learn the benefits of diversification.
I started young. Mum insisted I have money stashed away to cover the excess ($500) if we crashed the family’s Mitsubishi Magna. It had to be somewhere we couldn’t access easily.
So, after a few years saving with high interest rates from Paul Keating’s recession we had to have, I ventured into the stock market.
I bought 100 shares in sugar refiner CSR (cue Midnight Oil’s Blue Sky Mining), which was then a stock market darling.
I held onto those shares. And I held on. And I held on. More than a decade later when I sold them, they were worth less than I paid for them, although they’d paid reasonable dividends.
If my money had been diversified (into, say, an index fund) it would have doubled over the same period.
I bought Telstra shares in the float. Watched them go from $3.30 at listing, all the way up to $9 and then all the way back down again. Over the same period ... again ... sigh ... an index fund would have doubled.
Next was ... oh, it doesn’t matter. Same damn story.
Diversification. Works wonders. So, like a parent, I’ve got to say: “Do as I say, not as I do.” But I’ve learned that lesson now.
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Bruce Brammall is the author of Debt Man Walking (www.debtman.com.au) and principal adviser with Castellan Financial Consulting.