As promised here, here are a few more of the reasons why I am not rich (financially), and the reasons (in my opinion) why.
In the 90’s the perception was that the stock market and making money was as easy as sex, but I can assure you that this was not the case. I like to think of it like teenage sex, everybody talks about it, but (when I was young) there wasn’t any going on for me (I kept asking where do I get some, but no one thought that was funny).
Yes, there were opportunities that arose that I might have taken advantage of, if I didn’t have kids, a mortgage and a fairly paranoid view of how the stock market worked (and had a large pot of money I was willing to lose). I was in the Nortel Savings Plan, where for every $3 I deposited the company kicked in $1, but this was in stock and money could only be removed 2 years after the money was put in. I did actually make some good money on this in the early part of the 90’s, and it helped pay for a car and some repairs on my house, so my claims of abject poverty are really not based in fact. Yes, I made some money early on in the 90’s.
I did take a few flyers on a few stocks, but I became confident that I could bet on the loser in a one horse race after a few of these flyers crashed into the financial terra firma with a loud bang. A few of these were Carona Mining, and a few other mistakes.
My biggest slap on the back of the head recollection is when I was in the I.T. group at Nortel and I looked at these stacks of boxes from this company called Cisco. I went and talked to the Networking dweebs, and was told this was the manufacturer we were going to use to set up our corporate data network. At that time Cisco was not a name I even recognized, but I thought, boy I should really buy some stock in that company if we are using them, this was in 1990, and if I had bought some Cisco (and presumebly sold before 2000), I might be a lot farther ahead in my financial journey.
On the converse side of things, as I have written about before, in the Top 5 Investing Regrets of my Life I held onto high tech (specifically Nortel) shares for way too long (when I knew full well that most of the claims being made were at best fantasy). Another example of sometimes when to buy is not as important as when to sell. At the point I am commenting on, I had a substantial investment in Nortel in terms of:
- Savings Plan stock which I had purchased with a kick in from Nortel of 25%
- I was being paid by Nortel (including bonuses and such)
- I had a pension with them (which was also buying Nortel Shares)
- Stock options (which never were worth anything) to purchase Nortel Shares
- Owned Nortel shares outside of the savings plan that I had bought myself (yes that was a huge mistake)
I could have made a lot of money here, I could have made some money, but at the end I lost a fair amount of money, which was my own fault. Luckily, I was able to extricate my pension in tact, but the rest of the money was mostly written off, so I am better off than a lot of folks.
Am I Feeling Sorry For Myself?
Now I have a boring RRSP, Spousal RRSP, and a Public Service Pension, and I am quite happy.
Am I lamenting with these posts about how this is all unfair? No, not in the least, this was all of my own doing, and it has taught me a great deal about what is valuable in life, and how a lot of times bad things happen for a reason.