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Lost in the Numbers

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Lost in the Numbers

Postby Lucid » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:01 am

When I first graduated college, I was absolutely obsessed with financial health to the point where I had to pay off my student loans as soon as possible. I did that within 9 months. I have given up a lot of luxury to do this but I was still able to enjoy my money here and there. I felt extremely happy to pay off that debt and even when I think back on it, it makes me feel happy.

Well I started reading about investing then. I was absolutely pulled in. I already enjoyed reading about topics concerning business and I was doing everything from reading the financials to the news about certain companies. I would read about many businesses and the money at this point. Of course I had lots to learn, being a beginner.

What am I trying to say? Well I don't want to spill my life story here. But in short I made a very bad financial decision last year. I didn't lose everything but sometimes when I think of that number i often feel like I can never discuss it in real life. It is like hiding a secret. It was a loss that made me cry for many days and it still makes me feel a little heavy. I am working on building it back up but I still have some time to go. I remember driving home that night and I was trying to change the outcome of that number in my head, trying to do a lot of math to change it. It was not changing. Of course it wasn't. Math is cruel and It was absolute at that point.

But i realized I only got to that number because I was absolutely delusional. I thought I was going to be a self justified princess who would feel protected with wealth. Nobody would bother me and I could essentially live off the grid. I would spend nights until 3-4am in a bliss of "what if this price hits this!? Then how much will I make with x amount of shares?" then I would start doing math. So much stupid math in those nights. I have contemplated homelessness so I wouldn't have to pay rent. Now I just wonder if it is the right thing to do or if I have truly become so stingy. But I still live at home with family now. I truly want a better and healthier view with finances. One that isn't extreme with my stinginess. I am in a healthier state of mind now. Only investing smaller amounts at a time so I can manage the impulsive better. Also now with Corona it has given me extra time to reflect if I really want to live in my car or not. I am starting to come closer to my senses with that one, I think.

What is all of this behavior? I feel like it is right of me but in a way I feel like it has taken something away from me too. I never felt so empty after that night. I felt like I just cannot stop looking at the numbers instead of pursuing my normal hobbies at times. I cannot stop looking at my investments either. I check them so much now.
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Re: Lost in the Numbers

Postby 58gambling » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:33 am

Thanks for the story. It reminds me of how a person can get obsessed with "making money" with the goal of accumulating enough of it to live on "easy street". This is not an uncommon idea; in fact it really is in tune with the "American Dream". As to your big loss in your "investment", that is not uncommon either. Investing to me has always been a kind of gamble too; it's just supposed to be safer and smarter than laying your money down on a casino game. But it is nevertheless a risk, no matter how much one might research and do one's due diligence. I remember one statistic in a business class about how 85 or 90% of all starting businesses fail. That alone is a discouraging and daunting thought. As to your situation, it seems to me that you have become rather extremely obsessed with accumulating money because you are talking about living in your car, or living homeless, ostensibly to renew your efforts to accumulate wealth. Well, I have heard of and known of people who spend most or all of their lives living frugally and sacrificing just to accumulate money, but it never seems to end well. Usually they die rich, or at least with a sizable amount of money, which might go to their heirs or the government. The point being, they never got to enjoy their money, because they just couldn't bring themselves to spend any of it, after going to such efforts to save it up. You might be young enough to change your thinking and take another path in your life; to where you can save money but doing it in such a way that you can still spend money and live a balanced financial life. Talking to a professional financial planner might help. If you still feel obsessed, maybe counseling would help that too.
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Re: Lost in the Numbers

Postby betterchange » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:00 pm

Investing and trading are both areas of gambling close to my heart (not in a good way either).

I spent a large part of my terrible losses periods doing what I called 'trading' rather than what is called 'gambling' - still lost a fortune. If it's a risk, loses lots of cash, then it's gambling basically. I've had to re-program that into my brain a few times.
I realise you said you didn't like saying the actual amount you lost, but sometimes it can help to just say it - I looked around one day and realised I had debt of £26K - I'd thought it might be half that before I actually bothered to add it up. I actually lost a lot more than that, as that debt was built up despite me earning plenty money over the same years. My biggest single loss was about 10k in one go once. That was my first 'big' loss, and I chased it forever after that...but saying the figure now, I can see that my normal money processes can (eventually) cope with it all.
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Re: Lost in the Numbers

Postby Lucid » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:13 pm

58gambling wrote: Well, I have heard of and known of people who spend most or all of their lives living frugally and sacrificing just to accumulate money, but it never seems to end well. Usually they die rich, or at least with a sizable amount of money, which might go to their heirs or the government. The point being, they never got to enjoy their money, because they just couldn't bring themselves to spend any of it, after going to such efforts to save it up.=


Pretty much this. I am trying to take small steps to enjoy my money more. I actually decided to even bake brownies last night after this thread was made because i really wanted some but i saw it as a waste of money before. But I bout a box and some offbrand Nutella for around $5.00 in combination. I am in search of that medium now. A lot of my time is pretty much thinking of ways to be cheap. I have gotten my lunch at the free samples bar, read books for free at the Barnes and Noble in store, and I have used cheap ingredients or water to bulk my foods. I think my biggest life saver was the 38cent green beans. I have read tons into other people who live like this too, but I kind of wish now all that time i spent reading was pushed more to greater topics of reading so i have been working on changing my works and getting into new genres of reading so i can learn new stuff and curve this impulse.

I will change my ways before it is too late, I want my life to end well and sometimes living frugally..People either get very annoyed by it or try and do it too. But I have gotten a little judgmental over how other people spend after all this time. It isn't right of me and it is none of my business though. So I am trying to stop that too. Seeing material possessions and knowing the worth just blows my mind on why people would buy such junk.

-- Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:20 am --

betterchange wrote:Investing and trading are both areas of gambling close to my heart (not in a good way either).

I spent a large part of my terrible losses periods doing what I called 'trading' rather than what is called 'gambling' - still lost a fortune. If it's a risk, loses lots of cash, then it's gambling basically. I've had to re-program that into my brain a few times.
I realise you said you didn't like saying the actual amount you lost, but sometimes it can help to just say it - I looked around one day and realised I had debt of £26K - I'd thought it might be half that before I actually bothered to add it up. I actually lost a lot more than that, as that debt was built up despite me earning plenty money over the same years. My biggest single loss was about 10k in one go once. That was my first 'big' loss, and I chased it forever after that...but saying the figure now, I can see that my normal money processes can (eventually) cope with it all.


I think it may be a little too early for me to state the number to someone right now. I have thought about writing it down in a letter to myself. I recently wrote a letter to myself where i will open it in the future. I thought about writing the number in that letter. It is set to be open in 2023. I reference the number in the letter but never actually say it. But i can get the letter and slip it in...Maybe I can look at it 3 years from now and use this as a time to just know it is a hard lesson to learn and that i need to keep a leash on my money. I want to work up the courage to face that number again and when i do, I hope by that time I will be sure to have all my losses back and more.
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Re: Lost in the Numbers

Postby betterchange » Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:03 pm

Lucid wrote:I think it may be a little too early for me to state the number to someone right now. I have thought about writing it down in a letter to myself. I recently wrote a letter to myself where i will open it in the future. I thought about writing the number in that letter. It is set to be open in 2023. I reference the number in the letter but never actually say it. But i can get the letter and slip it in...Maybe I can look at it 3 years from now and use this as a time to just know it is a hard lesson to learn and that i need to keep a leash on my money. I want to work up the courage to face that number again and when i do, I hope by that time I will be sure to have all my losses back and more.


It's fair enough, and of course your own choice. But, one thing I'd add is that by hiding away from the numbers we build them up in our minds. That can be very unhealthy. That was also one reason I didn't even know how big my debt was in credit cards, I hid from it.
When I first started getting some help for my debt planning, I found it horrific to look at the actual figure and start working out how to pay it. I still find it hard, must admit, though it has gradually reduced at least. One thing about being clear on the absolute figure, is that you can at least feel better when it all starts to decrease. Though I don't know if you are actually in debt, or not? If it's not debt, that is a great start you have on many others!
I wonder how old you are too - likely younger than many (including myself). That is also a massive advantage you may have.
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Re: Lost in the Numbers

Postby Lucid » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:40 am

betterchange wrote:It's fair enough, and of course your own choice. But, one thing I'd add is that by hiding away from the numbers we build them up in our minds. That can be very unhealthy. That was also one reason I didn't even know how big my debt was in credit cards, I hid from it.
When I first started getting some help for my debt planning, I found it horrific to look at the actual figure and start working out how to pay it. I still find it hard, must admit, though it has gradually reduced at least. One thing about being clear on the absolute figure, is that you can at least feel better when it all starts to decrease. Though I don't know if you are actually in debt, or not? If it's not debt, that is a great start you have on many others!
I wonder how old you are too - likely younger than many (including myself). That is also a massive advantage you may have.


I'm 24 and no debt. I have a set limit in my bank account I refuse to go under so i keep myself in check. I also have decided only to do a small amount of automatic transactions into my stock account so i can keep myself better in check. It is not even that big of an amount. I caught myself looking at my numbers again tonight though. I spent about an hour reading and reading but I knew i needed to just put it down and only check it tomorrow morning and not after market hours where there is not much i can really do to anything.
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Re: Lost in the Numbers

Postby betterchange » Sat May 09, 2020 10:19 am

Hi Lucid,

You have two massive advantages over many who have problem gambling issues - you don't have debt (so plenty chance to recover finances) and you are young (plenty time).

Just don't try to do it quickly, or on impulse, basically gambling.
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