Three Mistakes I Made on the Road to Financial Freedom

Today we have a guest post by Simon from Financial Expert, a blog that offers free learning experiences which combine articles, interactive experiences, and assessments. Today he talks about some of the mistakes he personally made in investing and some of the lessons he learned along his way to becoming a smarter investor in the 21st century!

While the post title implies that my failures only number three, I feel it is only fair to admit that I have comfortably exceeded this number over my decade of investing!

In today's guest post, Simon from Financial Expert shares three investing mistakes he made on the way to financial freedom and how you can avoid them.

Here are three mistakes which I feel hold broader lessons for all of us to reflect upon.

1. I believed that complexity was the key to an excellent portfolio

I loved investing so passionately when I first began, that I immersed myself in the topic at every opportunity. I read magazines, blogs, newspapers to satisfy my hunger for knowledge.

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How The Beatles Success Strategy Can Motivate You

I know you probably came here to get some money making and money saving tips today. Sometimes I write about that specific topic and other times I see myself as some kind of motivational writer, the kind that can get you to think about the “how” you can do better with your finances, job, and life. I think I can do that for a couple of reasons. One, being older, it’s fairly easy for me to see the mistakes I personally have made and looking back on the things I could have done to avoid them. And two, there’s the practical me. The person that can see clearly now just what to do and how to reach goals and fulfill dreams. Unfortunately it took 70 years or so to get there, and I’m telling you so you have a better chance to get there sooner rather than 70 years later or never.

Few have reached the level of The Beatles success, so what can we learn from them? Here are a couple of elements of their success and how they apply to you.

So that got me to thinking. What do all of us really want in life? Is it fame and fortune? Is it wealth? Is it security? Or is it true that “All You Need is Love” as the Beatles once sang? It might just be all of the above rolled into one giant big ball. So, how do we get there?

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How High Can You Fly? (Attitude Determines Altitude)

Sometimes even I can get a little depressed. I know admitting that out loud may turn some people off and if it does, I may just have to bear the burden of that. It seems that way too often I have been expected to be just a ray of sunshine and a beam of light to everyone around me and sometimes that’s a big burden for me. It’s even truer when it comes to publishing the written word like I do here. After all, do you really want me to depress you with anything negative I might offer up on my blog?

Zig Ziglar's phrase "attitude determines altitude" means that positivity will take you further in your quest for success. But can you change your attitude?

And that’s a big part of my point here, even though sometimes “Rainy Days and Mondays” may get me down, “Attitude Determines Altitude” and I know that.

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Are Annuities Good or Bad for Your Retirement?

A lot of financial experts and bloggers don’t recommend annuities or even like to talk about them very much. They are more likely to recommend and want to talk to you about investments in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds for growing your wealth and prepping for retirement. That may leave you to wonder what annuities really are and whether you should you invest in them for your retirement years.

Annuities...good or bad? They have a poor reputation, but there can be good reasons to include the right one in your retirement plans.

I chose to purchase an annuity about 20 years ago (when I was 50) with qualified money I used from a 401(k). Then, about 5 years ago, I took that money and used it to purchase a 5-year deferred annuity that will start paying me beginning in January of 2020. Those payments are guaranteed to me or a beneficiary (my wife who is 20 years my junior) for 20 years, or for my entire life as long as I live (even if I live to be 100 or more). This made good sense for my situation. But, before you decide that an annuity is either a good or bad choice, ask yourself this: Have you taken a really good look at annuities and do they make any sense for you?

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Saving Money Doesn’t Mean You Have to Have No Life!

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I guess I have always been surrounded by the “aura” of saving money. It started for me as a kid, simply because I grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of extra money and I was the child of parents who grew up during the Great Depression. I am pretty sure that experience shaped my Mom and Dad’s philosophy about money and the importance of saving for a rainy day. The rainy days of the 1930’s were pretty rainy, so I get it.

If you feel like you have to have no life in order to save money, it doesn't have to be that way. Here's how to save and still enjoy life.

Of course, my parents were also around for the post-war abundance and prosperity of the 1950’s and things got a lot better for them and for all Americans as the 20th century rolled on. But even with that, the art and skill of the “saving of money” (which really primarily fell on my Mom’s shoulders as the main shopper and budget keeper) was still upper-most in their minds. And yes, of course, since I was right there by their side, mine too. But despite the emphasis on the saving of money, it didn’t mean that we had to have no life!

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Why Do You Diss All Those Valuable Pennies?

Chances are if you look around your house, your car, or any of your pockets, you will find a penny or three. Those little pennies really don’t get much respect in today’s world, do they? After all when you shop, if you start to dole them out at the cash register you might get some kind of dirty look like “What are you doing…just give them a damn nickel! Don’t look for the pennies!” Or after you pay with your cash you dump the two pennies you get in change into a little tip jar or charity collection (or is it?) on the counter.

Do you dismiss the value of pennies? Whether you're paying off debt or saving up money, pennies can be more powerful than you think.

Those orphan pennies are so small and insignificant, right? They seem to be more of a nuisance than anything of real value, and when you have them around you usually just ignore them. Why do you diss all these pennies?

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Why Are You So Awful at Saving Money?

So you haven’t yet saved a dime towards your retirement…and you have been working now for years and years. You don’t know how you’re going to pay your taxes because you haven’t been keeping up with—what are those things called—quarterly payments? You certainly don’t have a rainy day emergency fund; why should you? And college, well, the kids will just have to open a lemonade stand, and charge $100 a glass to get their tuition and books paid for. What should I do about it? It’s their education, right?! If you are awful at saving money, please step right this way because you are going straight to financial hell and the elevator is waiting for you.

If you're awful at saving money, it pays to figure out why. Here are some of the reasons why people can't save, and what to do about it.

Disciplining Yourself to Save Is Hard

If it seems hard to save money it seems that way for one huge reason: it is! That’s especially when it feels like you’re just barely scraping by yourself, so what the F? Do you expect to save on top of that little piece of reality? Well, yeah, come to think of it I do and it’s not just an idea here I am touting. It’s kind of, sort of, really, really a necessity. So,

Why are you so awful at saving money?

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What About Your Retirement Debt?

So much is written about eliminating your debt, paying off your debt, and being totally debt free at any and every age in life that you may believe that it’s always the only goal you should have. Financial independence (FIRE) depends to a huge degree on not owing money to anyone or anything.

Many recommend that you reduce or eliminate your debts, especially if you're about to retire. But are there times it makes sense to keep retirement debt?

Truthfully, it’s a wonderful goal and for some people it actually can be achieved. It’s not common, but it does happen. When you owe debt, more than you can ever repay, it can ruin your life. But today’s post isn’t about that subject. There are many posts about it, so I want to look at debt from a different angle. What about debts you hold after you retire….your retirement debt?

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