The biggest financial blunders your elders made

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ASATKat, Jun 22, 2021.

  1. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    In 1949 my grandfather basically bought 10 acres of shoreline property in North lake Tahoe for $500,000. It was in escrow and everything was proceeding just fine when he died of a heart attack at the age of 59.

    All of a sudden, my grandmother and her siblings ended the escrow and took the money, $500,000 and that was that.

    I was born in 1954 and remembering living in a nice house, a typical suburban house.
    In 1959 we moved to San Bruno 15 miles south of San Francisco. My aunt got one house, my mom got another house, these were nice homes with a fantastic view of San Francisco Bay and SF airport, pluse the view across the bay into Oakland and the East Bay. Today these are 2 million dollars.

    Cut to the chase. Grandma died in '60 and by '61 the houses and money seemed to be gone. My family lived in poverty for the most part.

    I could go deeper and deeper but no need because my point here is that if we held on to the Tahoe property the family would have been multi millionaires. In today's terms one acre average is $12.5 million. The 10 acres we would own is built up with expensive restaurants and vacation fun places. Those properties are now going for $75 million in some cases.

    I basically live the life of a struggling musician and that's perfectly fine, but I often ponder what could have been.

    Do you have similar loss of fortune stories?
    Please share.
     
  2. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    If I only would have kept my VW van, Dodge Charger or Plexi

    oh ya. Not buying a 56 gold top for $700 because I thought too much. P90
    (and too heavy)
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  3. Despres

    Despres Tele-Afflicted

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    $500,000 was a whole lot of money in 1949. Incidentally, if the property is now worth $125,000,000 as you suggest, that is a compounded rate of return of about 8% - I would wager there are plenty of investments one could have made in 1949 with a greater return than that, so don't feel too bad.
     
  4. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I wouldn't know, left home at 17, never had a conversation with an "elder" about money, good or bad. Everyone seems to be doing fine and me and mine are doing fine as well.
     
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  5. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

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    My parents moved us from an extremely low cost of living area to a very high cost of living area of the country without realizing the implications (early '70s). The princely salary (had it been in the low cost area) my Dad negotiated didn't begin to cover the bills in our new home. They were forever in catch up from then on. Deep in debt, rarely wrote or used a budget...etc.

    Unfortunately, that set the tone for my siblings and I. Mrs and I saw the light ~15yrs ago, and I had enough income to level us up to "debt-free" over about six years. One of my sisters only recently got there, but is still working to live. My other sister and her husband are still climbing the mountain with "nice to have" setbacks from time to time. We're all over 60yo at this point...so a real lesson in generational habits.

    Edit: I had a good childhood anyway...so, nothing lost I guess.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  6. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

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    I had the opportunity to purchase Berkshire Hathaway at $17,900...but didn't want to borrow to do it;). It is worth a bit more now.
     
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  7. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    My mom, and dad were set to buy a farm of their own after WWII. They had the down payment money saved and in the bank ready to go. My dad, the sterling character that he was came through for us once again, got the money out of the bank, went on a month long drinking and gambling binge, and exhausted ALL of the money. Instead of buying a farm, we ended up being share croppers who lived in poverty that would embarrass people living in the ghettos of Los Angeles. THANKS DAD!
     
  8. Manual Slim

    Manual Slim Friend of Leo's

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  9. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Buying a trailer instead of a house. When they died it was a liability instead of an asset. Great Depression survivors were not big on mortgages.
     
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  10. Greg70

    Greg70 Tele-Meister

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    Back in 1994 I drilled a hole in the chassis of an otherwise pristine JCM800 Model 2203 to add a tube for an effects loop.
     
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  11. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    Not buying real estate.
     
  12. Greg70

    Greg70 Tele-Meister

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    I remember this with an elderly friend that passed. His trailer was the first one in the trailer park when they built it and was probably 40 years old when he passed. It was completely obsolete and the family had to pay a thousand or two to have it hauled away and disposed of.
     
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  13. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    My father used a friend for an attorney. The dumb ass didn't put a clause in a contract and that oversight basically bankrupted my father. My lesson - don't do business with friends.
     
  14. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    My dad was a lawyer and became a pastor.
     
  15. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not fair to say blunder but my father invested nearly everything in a family business expansion before his unexpected death at a young age. With bank trustees involved and a business downturn we went from well off to trying to stay ahead of foreclosure pretty fast.

    If that was a blunder, I think it was not uncommon. My dad had a good record of success. He was a poor kid who got educated via GI bill and good at business. His strategy to expand would have worked if the business did not end up getting run by less competent people with their own self-interest.

    In a sick way, that tragedy helped me get educated and competitive if not rich.
     
  16. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

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    Apparently my family history includes being a partner in what is a very large company today. The partner in my family thought he was dying of scarlet fever and basically gave away his share of the company to his partner (and then recovered).

    So my family owns nothing today. Well, I once had the thought "what if" and was upset I had no part of this money. Then I realized that after 150 years, the family tree would have been to big for everyone to actually own the business, and likely I would have no part in it anyway.

    There are other smaller businesses I know my family has started in the 1920's, and 1960's. They weren't global, so you would have never heard of them. They were sold too, at a tidy profit that allowed my family to retire and enjoy life (not wealthy, but comfortable).

    Mistakes? Who knows, how would you know back then. That 500,000 escrow could have been the difference between poverty and living large back then. Its future value doesn't always matter as much as getting by right now.

    What would *I* do different if I could go back in my life? Put money in a 401k no matter how much it hurt in my 20's and 30's. Or buy gold in my 20's when it was $236 per ounce and my co-workers were brow beating me to do it :D I could have bought bitcoins when they first released, but I didn't trust it then and don't trust it now :confused:
     
  17. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

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    Total upgrade in my opinion :)
     
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  18. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    For mine, now long gone, the usual:

    Not investing in real estate enough. Especially in/near college towns/neighborhoods.

    Squandering their home purchase with a divorce that cost them both that property, a decade or so before home prices absurdly skyrocketed. However necessary the divorce, they should have worked out keeping the house jointly owned, or at least owned by one of 'em, for the family's down-the-road sake.

    Wasting money on lawyers in a divorce fight that was more spite than sense.

    Credit card debt for crap they didn't really need.

    Buying new rather than good-deal used cars.

    Not hanging onto the cars that they didn't know would be collector items:
    '57 Plymouth Fury
    '59 Chevy Impala
    '63 Chevy Impala
    '66 Chevy Impala
    '68 Plymouth Fury III
    '69 Chevy Chevelle Malibu
    Not necessarily top-dollar things, but had they kept 'em--or given them to their van-driving, now-aging son!--they'd be worth some pretty coin. Even though I would have sold only the '66 Impala (what a blahmobile) and the '69 Malibu (too small, and that massive B-pillar and small rear window made it a danger to drive).

    All but the Malibu, which was mom's car, were company-owned cars leased to pops, and then available for him to buy pretty cheaply after two years. Of this set, he bought only the '68 Fury outright. (The cars they did foolishly buy new were a '72 Chrysler Newport, a '78 Malibu, an '85 Plymouth Acclaim, an '88 Buick Century, and a '92 Mercury Cougar. What a sad set those, though the Newport was comfy and the Cougar zipped.)

    Oh, well. The human lot is to keep repeating the human mistakes. And despite all the squandering, we're still damn lucky.
     
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  19. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Holic

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    “Lending” large sums of money to extended family members who felt it was their divine right to not work for a living and instead expect everybody else in the family to give them their money and who had no intention of paying the money back. When the well ran dry and boundaries were set, they then talked smack about my elders to anybody who would listen, calling them selfish and playing the victim role.

    Am I still bitter much? o_O
     
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  20. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    My father in law trusted his broker and lost almost everything in 2008. It killed him. He lost all will to live.
     
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