2018 Me Has A Conversation With 1998 Me: Me on Money, Investing, Family, and Career – Part 1
This is a guest post by “Vagabond MD,” well known to those in the physician personal finance community. He is a 53 year old radiologist who recently emerged from burnout and currently works part time. He is married an attorney and has two children – one in college and one in high school.
2018: Dude, you were a total idiot for buying that fancy Euro car right out of training, on credit (of course!), before receiving your first paycheck. Bad on you!
1998: Hey, man, give me a break. I always wanted one and could finally afford one.
2018: No way, you could not afford it. You could afford the payments, not the car. Big difference.
1998: Nobody buys cars outright. Everyone makes payments, right?
2018: Well, the last six cars you (I) purchased were with a check.
1998: Really? Wow, I must have made a lot of money and saved some of it, too.
2018: About a year ago you read, “The Millionaire Next Door”, and it changed your life.
1998: True dat. I was on course to be a UAW (Under Accumulator of Wealth), and I turned that ship around.
2018: Keep turning it, bro. Here’s something else you should know. This investment and mutual fund “hobby” you are enjoying is actually making you poorer, not richer.
1998: How can that be? I am researching and discovering the stocks and funds and trading strategies that are going to make me wealthy by the time I am your age.
2018: No, that’s what you think. But not how it works. You would be much better off learning about index funds and low cost buy-and-hold investing and shoveling as much excess income into these funds as you can. Forget about the hot manager (Van Wagoner), the value manager (Whitman), and any investment that begins with the word, “Janus”.
1998: Index funds, at Vanguard, with that weird Bogle guy, right? Nobody really believes that crap. Van Wagoner Emerging Growth was up 74% last year. I want some of that action!
2018: Van Wagoner Funds have been dead and gone for over 15 years. That kind of investing never works in the long run. Hardly anyone even remembers yesterday’s star managers. Everyone with half a brain is using index funds…and they really do work to build wealth, over time.
1998: Hard to believe, but okay, if I drop the investment hobby, what should I do with my free time?
2018: Study Italian Renaissance art, cook meatless paella, and learn to do some stuff around the house. All of them are more enjoyable and will serve you better than trying to pick future investment winners.
1998: Meatless paella? Am I still a pescatarian?
2018: Yes, but now you are cheating because the word, “pescatarian” will not be known to you for a few more years.