Investing Too Late / Keeping too much Cash in the Bank
As I mentioned previously in another post, we did not invest until the past two years. Just based on the time value of money, we missed many, many opportunities and missed out some big returns between 2008 to 2010. However, we were still able to take advantage of some high interest rates at the time while interest rates were still around 3-4%. Having cash idle is never a ideal situation. We all want to have money making more money passively for us.
Not Buying Company Stock
Only purchase your company stock when it is sold to you at a discounted price (preferable 15% or greater). Mr Y stated his career with a public company offering employees a stock purchase program. If he did buy some stocks then, the stocks have been doing very well and almost double or tripled in price, with his discount. So later, when Mrs Y had the chance to purchase company stock at a discount, she did.
Buying Stocks/Timing the Market
There is no way to time the market. Even if there is, large funds will use that to their advantage, and will be rich by now. Actively managing stocks and flipping stocks in the short term is not the best strategy, especially if you do have a full time job. We were caught up in buying internet stocks. For example, Groupon. We brought some Groupon when it went IPO. Partially Mrs. Y's fault for not looking at the financials before hand. Even worse, when the stock dropped, we panicked and sold everything to realize a loss. It was not too much of a loss, but still a loss. Instead looking back, we should have brought more when it was at $2 or $3 share price to even out our cost basis to minimize the loss. DON'T TRY TO TIME THE MARKET. The best way is to buy index funds. Of course, if you truly believe in a company and its product, it might be wise to invest in the company. Telsa is a very good example. They have a great product line with almost no competitors.
Not Using Insurance Benefits
I know most people try to avoid doctors or dentists. If you do buy health/dental/vision insurance through your employer, make sure you use those benefits. Routine cleaning and oral exams are almost 100% covered in most dental plans. Routine physicals are almost 100% covered as well in most health insurance benefits. We were busy and did not really utilize all those benefits. Now, I realize that if I am already paying a monthly premium, I should have utilized the benefits even if I wasn't sick for preventive care. It is important to take care of your health at a young age. In the long run, it is a big investment in yourself.
So here are the four things on our list. What are some of your mistakes you made towards your retirement goals?