8 Years Since the Market Crashed… How’s Your Money / Life Now?

Came across this clipping during this current week’s decluttering… Check out the date!

market meldown clipping - 2008

That’s right, this occurred exactly 8 years ago, today! Crazy, right?? Do you remember when all this was going on?? How do you feel about it all now, and how has it affected your money?

Actually, hold onto those answers… Do you know what we haven’t done here in quite some time? Our 5 for Friday series!! Where I used to ask you 5 questions about your life/money, and then you answer them below for everyone to gawk at :) We used to have some fun ones back in the day, didn’t we?

So in honor of this fateful day in 2008, let’s do a 5 For Friday and see how far we’ve come… As always, any questions I ask of you I’ll answer myself, so I’ll go first and then it’ll be your turn. And feel free to go anonymously too if you prefer!

Here we go… Back to the future:

  1. Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
  2. Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))
  3. How’s your money doing now compared to then?
  4. How do you feel about the stock market today?
  5. What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
  6. *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? In money or life in general?

My answers:

  1. September 16th 2008 — I was a freshly married 28 year old, running a customer service department at a DC area start-up. I had just started paying attention to my money more, and had launched this blog just 7 months earlier!
  2. Scare me? — According to my blog post about that day, it did not: “i guess we’re not at rock bottom yet…but at least stocks are cheap!” (I also apparently didn’t believe in grammar ;)). Two weeks later it seemed my tune had changed though, when I freely admitted to “peeing in my pants,” and then needing to “get back to my book of accomplishments,” haha… Nowadays I love when the market goes under ‘cuz everything’s on sale, but I know if I was older (and already pulling from it) the story would be much different :(  It’s good to know ahead of time though how you’d react, so do think about it if you haven’t already. It’s not a matter of if it’ll crash again it’s when.
  3. Money now vs then — Still on the up and up! One of the first things I decided to do as soon as it all “clicked” was to get going maxing out my 401(k) up to the legal limit each  year (around $15,000 back then). And this was in no small part due to my company offering 100% matching on 100% of whatever I put in – even the $15,000!!! And when stocks were on fire sale those next few years, it all just started compounding… we went from $60k in Sep of ’08 to over $500k now in investments. And I still make it my #1 priority to max out my retirement accounts every year, even though the matching has been long gone :)
  4. How do I feel about the stock market today? — You already know the answer to this – I think it’s the easiest way to grow your wealth without lifting a finger! Especially when you harness *time* and retirement accounts… I used to not like it at all because it was confusing as $hit and I thought investing = picking the hottest stocks, but once I spent some time learning it became much, much easier. Now if only I could bring myself to get back to real estate or other ways to diversify more!
  5. Fund of choiceVTSAX, Vanguard’s “Total Stock Market Index Fund” (Admiral Shares). A few years ago however it would have been “Whatever Warren Buffett is investing in,” haha… I figured why go through the hassle of researching it all when it’s been working so well for him? :) But really every other year I was changing my mind and switching strategies up… So glad I’ve stopped all of that nonsense, thanks to the FIRE community.
  6. *BONUS* — My biggest accomplishment is probably becoming self-employed and lasting as long as I have so far :) I’d totally go back to a 9-5 if it made sense (I’m over my “screw the man!” mentality, haha…) – but being able to survive while also starting a family has been pretty fulfilling. Stressful at times, but fulfilling. Been trying to figure out my next Big Move ever since, however, and haven’t been as successful… Maybe reading some of your accomplishments will inspire me :)

Your turn! Spill your guts below and let’s see how far everyone’s come!

If this bog is still around in another 8 years, we’ll have to come back and re-check-in again :) Though no rush with that… As much as I enjoy building up some wealth, I prefer my youth even more! No one’s figured out how to buy back our time yet, right?

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  1. Jon @ Be Net Worthy September 16, 2016 at 5:56 AM

    Wow, what a cool idea! Things were crazy back in Sep. 2008, here goes.

    #1 – September 2008 – I was eight years out of b-school at my Fortune 50 employer. I had a stay at home wife, an 8 and a 6 year old at home and we were in a new house we had just built two years prior.

    #2 – Scared – Hell yes. It was the first time that I really realized what a house of cards I had built. Layoffs were ripping through the organization, my house had dropped in value by $100k, so there was no way in hell I was selling and my emergency funds were basically zero.

    #3 – Now – I have my act together big time. The kids are now 14 and 16 and we’re starting to look at colleges. My emergency funds are at $100k and I’m still with my Fortune 50 employer. The layoff situation is still possible, in fact I was laid off briefly in 2014 and then re-hired in 2015 already. If I get laid off, I have a plan of action and it’s not a worry.

    #4 Stock market today – I wish the market wasn’t so frothy, but I stick to my dollar-cost-averaging with every paycheck. I can’t be bothered with timing the market, just need to ride it out.

    #5 Fund(s) of choice – There’s a generic total stock market index that I invest in through my 401k and my IRA money is in Vanguard funds with the bulk in VTSAX.

    Bonus – Biggest Accomplishment – Without getting too sappy, I would say my biggest accomplishment has been my family. We have a rock solid marriage and great kids! Aside from that, getting ourselves on firm financial footing has been awesome. We never had a ton of debt or out of control credit card spending, but we’ve come a long, long way since 2008!

    That was fun, looking forward to seeing what other people post!

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 4:45 PM

      Beautiful man, just beautiful :)

  2. The Green Swan September 16, 2016 at 6:13 AM

    Can’t believe it’s been 8 years already!

    1. I was actually working at one of the large banks and had just taken a job promotion that required a geographic move with my wife. My wife was in the process of finding a new job in the new city.

    2. Definitely very scary. My employer shortly after my promotion put out a hiring freeze and my wife still hasn’t found her new job yet. It was bad timing to say the least!

    3. We made it through and our money situation had only gotten better. We kept our jobs, have continued to get pay raises and promotions and save aggressively.

    4. I’m still completely in stock mutual funds. I recognize Jon’s point above about it being frothy…i hope the economy picks up the pace to balance things out. I’m not concerned though, I’m a long term investor.

    5. Primarily invested in domestic large cap (vfinx), small cap (naesx) and international (vgtsx).

    Bonus – Biggest accomplishment had been getting my M.B.A. In 2010 which helped me continue to add value to my company and earn the promotions and pay I wanted.

    Thanks J$

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 4:48 PM

      Oh man, I can’t even imagine what it would be like working AT A BANK during all this!! People were ripping all over them! (And to see all the freaked out customers too? Oy…)

  3. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers September 16, 2016 at 7:06 AM

    #1. I was serving as a missionary in Zimbabwe. I had been there for about 20 months and didn’t know anything about the meltdown until I came home in December.

    #2. My only investments at the time was about $7k in my 529. It never lost money, but all of my gains from the previous 6 years were wiped away. Since I didn’t have much skin in the game and was just going into college I didn’t feel the sting that much (so, too young to care might be the best answer here).

    #3. I never ended up using my 529 and not it has just more than doubled, up to about $15.5k. I started investing in 2013 and since then I’ve graduated and gotten a real job. So over the past 8 years my net worth has increased from about $15k up to $180K. I think we’ve been doing good.

    #4. I love it! I currently have about $84k in the market invested 100% in stock and I track their movements everyday cause I love seeing the movements.

    #5. The majority of my investments are in index funds that track to the S&P 500. With Vanguard its VFIAX and in my Fidelity 401(k) its FXAIX.

    Bonus: I’ve started and finished college and started being a productive member of society. I’ve also gotten married and have 2 little boys.

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 4:47 PM

      Productive in more ways than one! :)

  4. Mike September 16, 2016 at 7:18 AM

    1.Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    Working…..Same place, different company
    2.Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))
    Probably scared me a little, but was just trying to save and invest regularly. Didn’t make me change anything.
    3.How’s your money doing now compared to then?
    Finally back to where I was and growing. Took about 5 yrs to get back to even, but with the ups and down, some months are good some are bad. General trend it moving up!
    4.How do you feel about the stock market today?
    A little pricy, but about 70% invested in stock, 20% in cash and the rest in bonds.
    5.What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
    I use Fidelity so the Index 500. Now that they lowered the price it is cheaper than Vanguard :)
    6.*BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?
    My family of course, but getting ready to be FI/Retired. Need to figure out what my next life is going to be if I don’t have to do a 6-3 everyday.

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 4:49 PM

      Damn good problem to solve!

      I heard about that Fidelity fund too – awesome :)

  5. SL September 16, 2016 at 7:28 AM

    1. Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    newly remarried. 18 months after bankruptcy, youngest in middle school

    2. Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))
    It didn’t scare me a lot; young enough not to worry about bounce back, and consoling myself that new additions were buying more fund shares per dollar.

    3. How’s your money doing now compared to then?
    upward and onward

    4. How do you feel about the stock market today?
    same – still young enough to do the wait, watch and more forward game, with some of my funds going into more conservative investments as I get older, just in case.

    5. What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
    targeted fund 2030

    6. *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?
    paid off all student loans, moved credit score up by almost 200 points, living on my own, and ready to downsize my home.

  6. Apathy Ends September 16, 2016 at 8:00 AM

    1. I was a junior in college and had no idea how much of an impact the markets would have on me later

    2. Didn’t know enough to care unfortunately, wish I would have been paying attention to throw the little money I had at the dip!

    3. I caught the last 5 years of the bull market since I actually have money now. So going up – for now

    4. Primary investment vehicle right now, in it for the long term and buy on any dips

    5. I mostly buy Vanguard Funds, one is a 2050 target date, VDIGX is another one we own. Expense ratio is a huge factor in anything we look at.

    6. Doubling my salary in around 4 years, definitely has had the biggest impact on our financial life

  7. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies September 16, 2016 at 8:13 AM

    Let’s see. I was in my first year of teaching a few months away from being RIFed due to budget issues. Thanks for the reminder, J! ;) Kidding! In all honesty, that first year of teaching was lifechanging because I realized that I was doing exactly what I needed to be doing. The job market was absolutely over saturated, and I had somehow snagged a job that over 1,000 candidates applied for…right out of college. That September, I was riding so high, I’m not even sure that it really registered. However, it caught up with me with the budget stuff! Perspective is so important, isn’t it? All the things that seem insurmountable…

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 4:51 PM

      What a blessing to find your calling so early like that :)

  8. dreemsie September 16, 2016 at 8:25 AM

    Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?

    28 years old at the time with same company, different job, just starting seeing my now wife.

    Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))

    I wasn’t as scared as I was interested. I knew I had plenty of time till I retired, so I wasn’t worried about the loss to my 401k, etc. What scared me is a about a year earlier I thought about buying a home. When I talked about the mortgage, the guy kept pushing this thing called an Option ARM. The way he sold it to me did not make sense. It was baffling. My parents always talked about 20% down and having equity in a home. What he was offering me just seemed downright scary and unsafe. I was motivated as things got worse because I knew I was cash heavy and looking to buy a house at lower interest rates and sale prices. Cash is king.

    How’s your money doing now compared to then?

    Slow and steady.

    How do you feel about the stock market today?

    Its priced to high at this moment, but I have been wrong for at least a year now.

    What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)

    401k, 529, UTMA, and Real Estate!

    *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?

    Definitely life.

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 4:55 PM

      You dodged a bullet w/ that ARM stuff!

      Did you end up scooping up a great house and price?

      1. dreemsie September 17, 2016 at 2:05 PM

        I think the price was ok, should have hassled for lower. Seller paid closing costs and I hope it ends up being a very good long term investment.

  9. Financial Canadian September 16, 2016 at 8:29 AM

    Thankfully I’m young enough that I wasn’t a market participant when the markets floundered in 2008.

    There are two downsides to this, though: 1) I don’t have the experience of navigating through a market downturn, and 2) I never had the opportunity to buy stocks at record-low prices.

  10. Hannah September 16, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    I love that you say you love when the stock market is under… we’re in the second longest bull run in history, we haven’t experienced under in 7+ years :)

    I have to say, I have had the unprecedented advantage of starting to invest at the market bottom. It’s been awesome!

  11. Free to Pursue September 16, 2016 at 8:39 AM

    1. Around September 16th, 2008, I was submitting my examination for my first fitness trainer course (now a full-fledged Kinesiologist) and booking an amazing diving trip to Saba in the Dutch West Indies. Mr. F2P was tackling another house addition.
    2. Didn’t care, other than expecting people to go to jail, which they did not. Most of my retirement and investments were in either a company pension plan or in company stock, which didn’t tank. (Can you tell I needed to diversify? Exxon anyone?)
    3. Money situation’s good. I still wouldn’t mind a stock sale thought. Not necessarily 2008, but a small correction for a few months would be nice. ;)
    4. OK. I’ll admit it. I think it’s overvalued right now and that there’s no room to maneuver for the Fed, given where interest rates sit. I wonder about the coming year.
    5. Full market ETFs.
    6. I work for myself and love it (coaching, writing, speaking, consulting). I’m looking forward to the next eight years!

  12. jennydecki September 16, 2016 at 8:40 AM

    1. I remember being glued to the Fox Business channel watching Jim Cramer screaming.
    2. I told the husband, “We have to scrounge up some money to invest.”
    3. We have no investments but the money we made from investing in 2008 helped us not be homeless, for sure. Our income is way better but we have no current investments. That being said hubs is now in a job with a pension so there’s that. It’s all over the place right now.
    4. I feel everything is a cycle and look forward to participating again.
    5. I can’t wait until we have enough saved to buy some VTSAX.
    *BONUS* Our biggest accomplishment since 2008 is moving to a new state, putting the kids in a more challenging school district, going from house to apartment living, the husband getting a new job, and becoming a housewife (I prefer the term to stay at home mom.) He makes more than he did and is on track to actually maybe clearing that six figure hurdle in the next few years. Pretty much everything has changed for us since 2008 LOL Heck, I only had two kids in 2008!

    1. Miss Mazuma September 16, 2016 at 4:00 PM

      Hey Jenny!

      I read your comment and it seems you’ve been busy in the past 8 years!! I just wanted to touch on #5, and you may already know this, but you can start on your way to VTSAX by buying VTSMX. Same index but the investor shares at a higher expense ratio (.16 as apposed to .05 with VTSAX) and lower minimum of 3k instead of 10k. Once you hit 10k you can upgrade for free to VTSAX either on your own or call vanguard. Hopefully that helps! :)


      1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 4:59 PM

        Thanks MM!

        And congrats to your husband rockin’ that job, Jen! :)

  13. Miss Mazuma September 16, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Wow – good questions!!

    1. I was 29 (3 days from 30!!), living with my boyfriend in a condo. I had purchased earlier that year. That was the last of 3 I had purchased since 2005 and in the next few years I would lose them all to short sales when the housing market took a dump. Bummer.

    2. I didn’t realize how much the stock market would effect me…until I saw the aftermath with housing. Even in 2009 (as a Realtor!) my boyfriend (different one) and I purchased a house together and were doing major renovations. I was barely hanging on to the rental properties and soon one by one the dominoes fell. Oh, and a few years later I also lost the house…this time to the soon to be ex husband not the bank.

    3. I wasn’t “invested” in the market as I am now. I had a 401K but didn’t actively manage it. In 2008 I was a cash hoarder so I could purchase properties. When I had 20% I would dive in.

    4. The stock market and I have only gotten acquainted in the last year. Our relationship is in the feeling it out stage but so far so good.

    5. VTSAX and some individual stocks…Anyone hungry for Chipotle today?? GO!!!

    6. My biggest accomplishment in 8 years is getting over the huge impact that financial explosion caused in my life. I lost in a big way. Now I am happy to say I am back to where I started and then some. I own my place, my credit score is only 80 pts off from where it once was at 820 (I still believe in the score!), I have a cushy emergency fund, and last November a FIRE was lit under my ass. I now have a goal in sight.

    I have been working on my financial story post since the day I started my blog MONTHS ago – the rise and fall of my empire. I keep going back to it but I never press publish…I guess it feels to raw. Now, since I already put it out there here, I am motivated to finish it!! Thanks for kicking me in gear, J.!!

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 5:00 PM

      YES!!! We want to read it!! Sounds fascinating actually, though of course sucks you had to go through it all :( Maybe your blog will blow up and will magically recoup all the money you lost from writing about it :)

      1. Miss Mazumaq September 16, 2016 at 5:15 PM

        Haha – is that all it would take?? ;) One finance horror story coming right up!

  14. Tia @ financiallyfitandfab September 16, 2016 at 8:49 AM

    1. I was finishing my last semester up in college during September 2008. Although I was an avid CNN follower, I didn’t really understand what was going on at the time – def not the magnitude.
    2. I honestly didn’t care at that point. I do remember that CNN and other news stations were extremely dramatic.
    3. My money is doing much better now! At that time, I only had a savings account and a CD that my parents opened when I was a baby.
    4. At this point, I am really focused on investing for the long term. I try not to pay attention to dips (like Brexit earlier this year).
    5. Primarily domestic large cap mutual funds.
    6. Increasing my credit score 150 points, buying a home, and starting my blog.

  15. Paul September 16, 2016 at 9:03 AM

    I just wish I wasn’t so afraid of the market back then, I didn’t understand the buying opportunity, Although, to be honest I didn’t even follow the news during that time, I had a new born, between that and trying to enhance my position at work I really didn’t even care.

    Selfishly, I wish the stock market would tank like that again because I am better prepared at 35 then I was at 26-27.

  16. geckovision September 16, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    1) Some class at college. I was paying people for homework.
    2) I knew i would be insulated for at least another year and a half
    3) Epically awesome. I benefited slightly since the car i drive was dirt cheap (bought from a bank that repo-ed it) and bought my house dirt cheap (bought from someone who bought it from a bank repo)
    4) I know not to mess around with it (stocks). Stick to index and mutual funds
    5) Target 2055 for now (plan on retiring way before then). Still haven’t opened my vanguard account yet
    Bonus: Wife, Kid, awesome job, and Debt free (besides a mortgage)

  17. Jover September 16, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    1. I was working in Planning & Zoning for the community that HAD been leading the nation in growth, but was quickly transitioning to leading the nation in foreclosures.
    2. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the market at that time, but the housing market was already 2 years into a decline at that point, so I was watching my coworkers get fired every few months, wondering when it was going to be my turn.
    3. Night and day difference. Even though I have yet to make as much money in salary in the past 8 years, I’m now at a 6-figure net worth compared to the low point of negative 150,000
    4. I think the market is the market. Nothing that I think or do will change it, so I continue to invest in my tax-advantaged accounts.
    5. I’m mostly invested in Betterment, so I have 12 Vanguard index funds.
    6. Surviving two bouts of unemployment and the resulting depression. I’ve moved across the country twice since I was laid off in July 2009, so restarting my life has been difficult but it’s beginning to be “old hat”. I’m excited to be on solid financial footing and working towards FIRE.

    1. J. Money September 16, 2016 at 5:04 PM

      I’m so glad things are better for you lately :) I hope you blog about the depression stuff as we need as many people sharing their stories (and tips/hopes!) as we can get.

  18. Josh September 16, 2016 at 9:53 AM

    1. Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    I had my first full-time job out of college, having graduated just the previous year.

    2. Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))
    In a way, I was “too young” (or perhaps, more like too ignorant). When I got my first job, some of the admin. people gave me the advice to invest in a target-date fund, and just put 5% of my pay into it. So that’s what I blindly did, and just kept right on doing without ever looking at how it was doing. I was totally ignorant of this financial/investing stuff at the time.

    3. How’s your money doing now compared to then?
    WAY better. I’m making considerably more than I was back then, and I’ve gotten A LOT more aware of where my money goes these days. And I’m 100% debt free!!!!

    4. How do you feel about the stock market today?
    Great! I’m in it for the long haul now! So let the dips come! I will agree though too with some earlier comments that it’s currently overpriced. :/

    5. What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
    Most of my money is held up in my 403(b) where it’s invested in an equity index fund (my employer’s equivalent of VTSAX). It has a higher expense ratio than VTSAX, but it’s the best option they have. :/

    *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?
    I’ll give a “general” one and a financial one. In general, probably working at one of the best astronomical observatories in the world (I majored in astronomy in college). In financial terms, being a lot more aware of my money in general, thanks in large part to this blog (thanks J!). As a result, I have a good chance of joining the 6-figure net worth club this year, and my credit score is over 800!

    Oh! A note to J$: You mentioned wanting to perhaps diversify into real estate. Vanguard has a way to do that. They have a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) index fund. You’re basically investing in commercial real estate of various kinds.

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 2:51 PM

      Thanks man! I’ve heard about that one just haven’t poked around much :)

      Really cool about the astronomical observatory! You don’t hear about those very often (or people majoring in it!)

  19. Amanda @centsiblyrich September 16, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Seems like so long ago! I was 33 and mom to a 6 and 8 year old. I don’t remember being scared. I do remember my husband telling me we lost half of our investments, but I didn’t want to look at the numbers. Thankfully we were smart and just left it alone. We both agreed we had time and things would, eventually, turn around. (Guess we were smarter than I thought). Our money is doing well now – we started putting more and more into the market after that point and we’ve seen great growth. I still get a little down when I see the market go down, but never touch it. 2008 was a great lesson. We have all of our IRAs in VTSAX, but it’s not available for the 401k, so we stick with other index funds in that.

    Biggest accomplishment? Becoming more grateful, gaining an appreciation for the simple things, and learning to not give a sh*t about what other people think. I didn’t used to do that so much and would stress over little things. Now, I’m so much happier and content each and every day!

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 2:54 PM

      Such a great mentality to have! Love hearing that :)

  20. Rachel September 16, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    1. I was starting my senior year of high school, blissfully unaware of anything to do with the stock market.

    2. I’m going to dare: I was too young to care. (Ooh, that rhymed!) My dad works for UPS and has a lot of UPS stock, though, so my parents were nervous and therefore I was, as well. Even though I had no idea what I was nervous about because I was a very naive child stuck in La La Land. But seriously, I was only 17.

    3. Well, back then I worked a crappy part time job and now I’m a badass engineer, so I’d say it’s much improved. And invested in all the right places, of course!

    4. I love the stock market and its ups and downs don’t really scare me right now, because I know I have all the time in the world for it to recover.

    5. VTSAX, of course! What else is there? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

    6. I’ve had several big life and money accomplishments in the last 8 years: I graduated high school, graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, graduated with my Master’s degree, and moved 475 miles away from home to pursue my career (with a $20K jump in salary, to boot). And I’m doing swimmingly! :)

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 2:55 PM

      Congratulations on it all :)

  21. Ms. Montana September 16, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    Mr. Mt was still in the Army and we had just moved to Germany.

    Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then?
    I had saved up a bunch of cash to buy a house, then Mr. Mt reenlisted. Everything was so much cheaper and I decided to invest all that cash into stocks. I thought it was a great opportunity, and I wanted to vomit.

    How’s your money doing now compared to then?
    We went from about $120,000 to $560,000.

    How do you feel about the stock market today?
    I agree it seems frothy. We held off investing this year, and I am hesitant to jump back in at this moment.

    What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
    Vanguard Index funds

    *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?
    In the last 8 years, we travel through 27 countries, bought and remodeled 3 houses, adopted 3 kids and had a baby. It’s been crazy good.

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 2:56 PM

      Holy crap! Lots of homes, countries and babies! :)

      1. Ms. Montana September 20, 2016 at 2:21 PM

        Sometimes I suggest that we could be doing more, and Mr. Mt looks at me like a crazy person.

  22. Sydni September 16, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    #1 – I was in my final year of undergrad. Great time to be graduating when there aren’t any jobs!
    #2 – No, I was probably too young to realize what it meant. I was also incredibly naive and optimist, which worked to my advantage. I was able to secure a job immediately after college (might be moving to the DC market that helped).
    #3 – Much better since I’m actually making it! However, it always ebbs and flows, especially now that I’m back in grad school.
    #4 – Great although I just started paying attention to it after finding this blog and others about a year ago.
    #5 – Currently don’t invest as I’m still paying off debt, except for maxing out my 401K. I do that every year so that my choice for now!
    #6 – My biggest money accomplishment was buying a house that was actually affordable two years ago. My husband and I only spent what we wanted to, not the top of our budget (was actually the lower end) so we know we’ll stay financially okay even if both of us lost our jobs. Hard to do when we knew we could spend more and upgrade a lot, but in the end, it’s worth it. As my husband says, “You can live like a king for a few years, or live like a prince forever. It’s your choice.”

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 2:58 PM

      Prince all the way, baby!

  23. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply September 16, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    1. Just got married and we were on our honeymoon when I saw the news during breakfast
    2. It was pretty shocking but while I did have money in the market, it wasn’t too much. I was still starting out in my career. I really regret not buying more at those cheap prices!
    3. Working in government, my salary has slowly and steadily increased. Same with money that I invested because of the stock market…plus after reading Early Retirement blogs, I really ramped up my savings!
    4. I do feel like it’s reaching a high and it makes me a little anxious but I’m a Boglehead. I continue to stay the course and invest
    5. Vanguard! A lot in the Target 2045 fund
    6. Still working in the same government job…those benefits are a pair of golden handcuffs. Surprised to hear that you wouldn’t mind working for the “Man” I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. I always envy you and others who are their own boss and have flexible schedules.

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:02 PM

      Pros and cons to both sides, really :) I used to say I’d “never” do anything (like work a 9-5 again), but then I realized how much that can limit yourself. Plus the fact that our desires/dreams change over time, so now I do my best to go for stuff that makes me happy no matter how it looks. Figured if I’m happy can’t be that bad, right? :)

  24. Rachael September 16, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    re we go… Back to the future:

    1. Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008? I was a junior in college

    2. Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;)) I don’t think I was completely aware of it at the time. I do now I had been planning to use the last of the money in the 529 plan my parents had for me but they talked me into not using it prior due to markets already going down before September.
    How’s your money doing now compared to then? Great compared to when I was in college! I was lucky to begin my Roth IRA and 403b during the time following the crash.
    How do you feel about the stock market today? That is for long term and not worth it to pay attention to it on a regular basis.
    What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?) I have my Roth in vanguard funds like the total stock market. My 403b is a target date fund
    *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?
    Getting my RN license and buying my house.

  25. DIY$ September 16, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    1. I was working as a stockbroker/financial advisor by day and had just started taking evening courses for my MBA.
    2. All of the above. I was literally meeting people every day who were overinvested in companies that were spiral towards zero (some of them did). I got to see peoples financial worlds collapse and I also got to see some thrive. The big difference was diversification and understanding your investments. Later on, I also had classmates with job offers that were rescinded long after recruiting was done. Watching someone with >$100k in student debt and a rescinded job offer was extremely motivating to stay on my track of finishing my MBA debt free.
    3. MUCH better. We barely had a positive net worth at this time and were still in the process of paying off the last of our consumer debts. Unfortunately I wasn’t contributing to retirement on this exact date since we were following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, but the amount of lost contributions was minimal. We’ve now grown our net worth to nearly $600k.
    4. Cautiously optimistic. The financial crisis caused me to be rethink my risk tolerance and invest more heavily in bonds than I should have for a short time. I have since adopted an approach similar to the one prescribed in “Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth” and am nearly 100% equities.
    5. IVV (iShares S&P 500 ETF). 0.07% expense ratio, and even though I never trade it I like to be able to see the value change in real time instead of just once per day.

    *BONUS* – I got within 6 months of paying off my house while cash-flowing a ~$90k MBA, having two kids, and having my wife leave the workplace to be home with the kids. We moved out of state before we could pay it off all the way and ended up in a bigger house, but we’re plugging away at the new mortgage pretty good. Being a dad outweighs all the financial accomplishments, but having achieved some level of financial success is very satisfying to be able to provide for them.

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:04 PM

      Oh wow man – nice! On all accounts!

  26. Fiscally Free September 16, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    1. Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    I just started my first internship with an automotive company. I left sunny southern California for a semester and headed to Michigan. It was a good experience, but I don’t ever need to live in Michigan again.

    2. Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then?
    I was pretty freaked out. I remember how surreal it felt for banks to be failing and the economy to seemingly be in collapse.
    As you recall, the auto companies got hit as hard or harder than anyone else, so that had a big impact on an aspiring automotive engineer. It actually forced me to go into aerospace when I graduated, but I eventually came back to the auto industry.

    3. How’s your money doing now compared to then?
    Pretty darn well. I never stopped investing and took advantage of the dip in housing prices to score a house I couldn’t afford today.

    4. How do you feel about the stock market today?
    I’m a little nervous about it. We have been at record highs for a quite a while, so it seems like a correction is inevitable; however, the economy seems pretty strong, so I don’t see any reason the market should fall.

    5. What’s your stock/fund of choice?
    Index funds. Low stress, low fees, solid returns.

    *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?
    I got married, bought a house, and had a kid. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.

  27. Financial Panther September 16, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    1. Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    I was in college. Probably being lazy and skipping class. Completely clueless about how money worked.

    2. Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))
    The funny thing about being in college and knowing absolutely nothing about saving or money…I literally didn’t even know there was a market crash! I never watched news or anything. All I did was play video games and watch sports. Being in college is a bit of an insulating time.

    3. How’s your money doing now compared to then?
    I didn’t have any money then, but I think my money knowledge has greatly improved now, especially over the last 2 years. My only investment I made during my college years was $100 in Borders stock (because I thought it surely would go back up – that $100 turned into $0).

    4. How do you feel about the stock market today?
    Since I’m a long term passive index investor, I really don’t care what the stock market is doing today. Instead, I just keep investing consistently, month in and month out. All I really care right now is what I’m getting into the market, since I’m in the wealth accumulation phase of my life. I’ll care more about returns in the future.

    5. What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
    I’m an index investor, so I go with total market vanguard funds or total market fidelity funds with low expense ratios.

    *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? Money or life in general?
    Graduating law school, meeting my fiance, paying off my student loans, and getting engaged.

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:07 PM

      I used to call college “The Bubble”. Never are you surrounded by so many people your own age, and without much responsibility other than just to graduate. My father always told me to enjoy every second of it because it doesn’t last forever, and It only really sunk in the last 6 months or so until it was time to get out of there :) I did take advantage of it though!

  28. Ms. Primal Prosperity September 16, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    #1 – Just left my full time job one month previously to freelance as a construction estimator/project manager…. bad move as the field tanked for several years after.
    #2 – It didn’t scare me too much, since I don’t have children to support and I could have moved anywhere in the world. Instead, I used the opportunity to buy some cheap rental properties.
    #3 – Much better financially since I have built up rental income and I live in a tiny condo that I bought for cash, so no mortgage. Now I can be choosey about the type of work I pick up. In addition to giving workshops, I’m what I call a ‘gig’ jobber, i.e. I only work part time, freelance or on a per-project basis.
    #4 – I still max out my IRA every year to stay diversified, but the remainder of my investing goes into real estate or towards our upcoming round-the-world travel trip. I agree that the market is easy investing, but I still feel uneasy about how quickly it is to fluctuate… whereas with rental properties, people will always need a place to live. Real estate, when bought reasonably and not inflated, is a very steady investment.
    #5 – The stock market is terribly boring to me, because it doesn’t feel real. Maybe that is the scientist/engineer/builder in me. :) So, I do a target retirement date fund and I rarely check how it is doing. I know, you are probably “tsk”-ing me right now, J$!
    #6 – BONUS – In the 8 years since, I have gone from working because I have to, to working because I want to. I also took a 3 week solo backpacking trip half way around the world to Australia the year I turned 40… I suggest all women try solo travel at least one time in their life… it doesn’t have to be far away or for more than a weekend, but a tour group or retreat doesn’t count. :)

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:10 PM

      Love that!!! I always say how much I admire you real estate people because I agree that it is indeed a great way to invest! Big congrats on all your success so far :)

  29. Nancy September 16, 2016 at 11:12 AM

    1. 44 years old, one kid in college, one still at home. Single mom. In debt to my eyeballs.
    2. Scared me to death. I was pretty precarious to start with and with the economy faltering lets just say I was stocking up on beans and rice. Motivated the heck out of me to finally put on my big girl pants and get my act together.
    3. Not sure if I even had a net worth back then, probably negative. Now $144K on the positive! Debt-free except the mortgage (down to $68k), about 8 month salary in the bank.
    4. Just starting to invest. I have a pension through work not counted in my numbers, so this is just “extra” retirement money.
    5. Using Acorns based on J Money recommendation.
    Bonus: Kids all “launched” and productive members of society!

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:11 PM

      BOOM! Nice comeback!

  30. sfmitch September 16, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    1. I was running my own 1-man consulting shop back in September of 2008 (same thing I am doing now) in SF Bay Area.

    2. A combo of all 3 (scared, motivated and didn’t care). I had complete confidence that the market would rebound and then some. I had no money worries because I was living below my means and had money in the bank but it is still crazy to watch the events unfold as they did. I was excited to buy stocks on the dip (turned out to be one hell of a dip) but it didn’t turn out so well. I bought AAPL on five separate occasions in September 08. The price kept going down and down. After six months, I got spooked and sold. If I had held on, it would have been a gain of over $430,000. Doh!

    3. Money is doing great now compared to then. Portfolio is 3.5x larger now.

    4. I love the stock market.

    5. I buy mostly individual stocks. I know I should probably just go all index fund (I don’t think I am the guy who is going to outperform the market) but I keep buying new stocks. Biggest position is Apple followed by Berkshire Hathaway.

    Bonus : I’m pretty excited that I’ve bought 2 homes in the last 8 years (1 primary residence and an investment property) and that I am getting close to Financial Independence / Early Retirement.

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:15 PM

      Sounds like you found the right line of work too – going strong for 8+ years now!

  31. Joe September 16, 2016 at 11:31 AM

    Awesome! You guys came such a long way since 2008. From 60k to 500k, that’s unbelievable.
    1. I was working. I still liked my job back then and wasn’t thinking about early retirement.
    2. I was a bit scared, but I knew we had to keep investing. We kept plowing money into our 401k and Roth IRA. We didn’t have much extra money to invest in our brokerage account, though.
    3. Pretty good. Our net worth is 3x of what it was in 2008.
    4. I think the stock market is overvalued and we will see a crash with in a year… This time I will have some powder in the keg to take advantage of the correction.
    5. VTSAX too! It’s so simple, a caveman could do it.

    Bonus – Have a kid and get him into kindergarten. Life is so much easier now that he is in school.

  32. Millennial Moola September 16, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    I was a freshman in college. My econ professor told me he was asked to give a talk at a small mens bible study group on the stock market and retirement savings. He asked how many people should he expect they said 50. He turned up and there was 1000 people there. There were busloads of people from the retirement communities around the college town coming in to listen to the professors thoughts on the economy and the markets

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:17 PM


  33. Fulltimefinance September 16, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    1.Just entering my second year at a new company in a completely new field. Only 1 year out of Business school and 5 years out of undergrad. Single and living in a nice apartment on my own saving moderately for retirement.
    2.It didn’t really scare me. Ultimately the company I worked for cut our pay by 10% which for better or worse resulted in me cutting back slightly on my 401k contribution (still above the match but at a much lower level then I had been). I was looking for investment opportunities but I didn’t yet have the funds to take advantage of “Stocks on Sale”
    3.These days my savings rate has ramped up significantly and I actually have investment money. Then again now my perspective is changed as I have money to take advantage of “stocks on sale” as a crash comes but I also have more to lose if I’m not within my risk tolerance.
    4.I suspect we will have low returns over the next few years, or even a few short term drops. That being said my horizon is still measured in decades so I’m not that concerned. We’ll see what happens when a real correction occurs.
    5. Vanguard and Schwab index funds. A variety of them capturing different market segments.
    6. Married with 2 wonderful kids.

  34. Nathan September 16, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    1. I was a loan officer sitting at a desk watching my job crash and burn.
    2. Yes, see above.
    3. My money is better. I’m a spender, and I watch my spending more now. I also am better at saving. A long way to go though!
    4. I’m realistic about the market. It goes up, it goes down. If you ride it out it goes up in the end. I am concerned about the US debt and loss of productivity though. Those are substantial long term risks.
    5. I love Fidelity index funds. Easy Peasy, doesn’t take hours and hours of research.
    6. Getting married and having my son. My wife and son are blessings that I do not deserve!

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:19 PM

      Oh man, I can’t even imagine what it was like to be a loan officer back then :(

  35. Linda @ Brooklyn Bread September 16, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    Aw, to be 33 with a nine month old, as I was then, and a solid 7 years away from having any kind of useful deep thoughts about money! I faintly recall watching what few investments we had plummet, and feeling a bit concerned, but it still didn’t really feel like it meant anything in real life. It didn’t affect our day to day and our savings weren’t enough for a down payment on an apartment or anything so nothing was seriously derailed. I wish I was thinking like I am now, then. But looking back also makes you realize how money is not the thing you really remember about life. (Schawb S&P fund has been my best investment over the years.)

  36. Laura @ Savvy Family Finance September 16, 2016 at 12:11 PM

    1. Working in tech part-time (believe it or not, negotiated that w/ manager) because was taking coursework towards possible career change (that didn’t happen)

    2. The crash both made me groan and think of it as opportunity. Groan because lost a lot of savings in crash in 2000 and just as were pulling ahead again, then came 2008. Opportunity because, hello, stocks are on sale!

    3. Embarrassingly, would take me awhile to figure out how much better doing now vs then. Moved bulk of accounts from one brokerage to Vanguard (as well as 401k), so don’t have ready access to balances back then. But fairly well up since 2013 (when moved accounts), so has to be even better going back to 2008.

    4. Now? Waiting for the third shoe to drop (remember was around in 2000 as well).

    5. Hmmm…I diversify a bit. But VTSAX and VSIAX have treated me well.

  37. Michelle September 16, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    I was a young 19 year old back in 2008. During the stock market crisis, people in my age group were repeatedly told that we would never find jobs, which was scary because I was in college and just around a year from graduating. Money is much better now and my fund of choice is definitely VTSAX.

    It’s crazy how much has changed in just 8 years. 8 years ago, I never would have thought that I would be a full-time blogger, haha!

  38. Tawcan September 16, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    It’s pretty crazy how fast 8 years went by. If there’s anything I learned from the market crash in 2008 is that we need to take advantage of the stock market crash.

  39. Syed September 16, 2016 at 1:04 PM

    This is an awesome exercise!

    1. In September 2008 I was still a student in optometry school. I was working at the Orlando VA and I remember reading about all of this stock market stuff and it didn’t really make much sense to me. I had boards to study for!

    2. I wouldn’t say I was too young to care, but I was otherwise preoccupied with school!

    3. Money is a lot better now mainly because I didn’t have any then! I’m making a great income that has been going up along with my net worth. Couldn’t ask for more.

    4. The market is doing well but I’m using it for long term returns; as in 20-30 years. So how it’s doing now is immaterial. My job is to contribute as much as I can!

    5. VTSAX. My 401k doesn’t offer that so I use Vanguard’s S&P and International funds instead. Vanguard is great.

    My biggest accomplishment since then is my son. Trying to raise a good kid is a challenge, but it’s so much fun. In the last 8 years I’ve achieved my goal of becoming an optometrist, got married, bought a house and had a son. The American Dream is alive!

  40. DEC1 September 16, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    #1 Working at same company I had been working at for 18 years and still there…planning/hoping at that time to be “out” in approx 10 years. Then this happened…
    #2 Briefly scared, since we had been building a nice little nest egg in 401K that was growing nicely…then ANGRY and MOTIVATED to seize the moment and went totally aggressive when many were bailing out of the market. Changed all of our 401k investments to growth funds and crossed our fingers that it would bounce back…and…it has.
    #3 We’ve easily doubled our 401k value since before the crash. Then with investment return and continuing to plow in the max every year since. In a weird way, the crash probably woke us up a bit and the recovery catapulted us forward beyond where I had ever imagined we could be….and dollar cost average buying all that stock at fire sale prices didn’t hurt!
    #4 Concerned that it’s too high but don’t see any reason to be overly frightened by any apparent bubbles…(unless a certain politician gets elected and he screws it all up with his crazy ideas). With 6 months until we take the leap away from our current jobs (notice I didn’t say retirement), we have become much more conservatively invested. We have enough…no reason to be greedy. We aren’t depending on our 401k to support us completely…we have modest pensions and plan a comfortable but not extravagant life after work. Downsizing, moving south, selling house with tons of equity, etc.
    #5 We’ve totally bought into the index fund strategy…along with some bonds for about a 50-50 mix. And we’ve already purchased our future home and using seasonal rentals to pay the mortgage and watching it rise in value since we bought it at the bottom as well.
    #6 Both kids through college, with great jobs that allow them to support themselves and allowing us to start this exciting new chapter of our lives. And having become financially independent along the way!

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:29 PM

      Such an exciting time, indeed!! And just right around the corner now too – beautiful!

  41. SavvyFinancialLatina September 16, 2016 at 6:26 PM

    1. 1st month of freshman year. Really had no idea what the stock market meant. Was told by many professors being in college was insulating us from the crash…true
    2. I was worried about other things. I was a broke college student trying to survive.
    3. Money now vs. then. I have a job, a house (mortgage) that turned into a rental property when we move in July, a 401K, IRAs, savings, and a brokerage. Life has turned around for me. Also, I’m married to my college sweetheart.
    4. The stock market is high, which scares me from investing sometimes. But I remind myself I’m in it for the long run. I’m 26, so it’s going to be a while before I can access the retirement accounts. Even the brokerage fund is for long term investments. My high school boss and mentor told me never invest money in the stock market that you will need in the next 4 years. Even after tax investments should have a 10 year horizon.
    5. VTSAX!
    6. Bonus – I’m working on being satisfied with the present. I’m always thinking about future goals and if I’m on track to meet them, but it keeps me from enjoying the present. So, the current goal is to be satisfied with where I am today.

  42. Financial Samurai September 16, 2016 at 6:55 PM

    It’s night and day. Thought the world was ending, hence FS was born! Broke free in 2012 and haven’t looked back.

    If there was no major downturn, I don’t think I would have ever changed!

    1. Mystery Money Man September 17, 2016 at 6:23 PM

      Isn’t it true, how sometimes a hardship, or negative events in our lives can be a catalyst for change. Very cool!

    2. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:31 PM

      Hah – interesting!

  43. Andhika September 16, 2016 at 7:19 PM

    Hey J, I am finance blogger like you but based in Indonesia and in Bahasa..
    I always read your new article, until now.. But this is my first post..

    When we talk about crisis, it impacted to my countries economy. It hits really bad, made our index go fucking down. I lost a lot.. but thanks to God, I can comeback now..

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:31 PM

      Representin’ around the world!

      Nice to meet you, man :)

  44. Beez September 17, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    I was studying Graphic Design at my university. I remember being grateful I wasn’t graduating then. I ended up graduating in 2010. I was working retail and my hours were cut a lot.

    It made me worry about my job prospects. I took extra web courses during my tenure which helped me get into web design and later user experience design.

    I’m making more money out of college. I started maxing out my 401k a few months ago and contribute to a mix of IRA, Roth IRA, and brokerage.

    It’s inflated and high. I know you’re not supposed to time the market, but I feel a downturn coming.
    Mix of equity, few bonds in 401k, VTI etf, VTSMX in IRAs, mixture of etf from a betterment transfer in brokerage.

    No debt. Meeting my husband and getting married. Hitting my stride in my career. Learning about personal finance before I’m 30. Reading about two books a month.

  45. Mystery Money Man September 17, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    1. Working at a big bank, leading a team of financial advisors, busy talking investment clients off the ledge.
    2. Not really, too busy telling people to keep a long term mindset, I might as well take my own advice, right?
    3. A lot better, since I jumped off the “Keep Up with The Jones” bandwagon. Deciding to kick consumerism’s A$$ may be the most impactful money decision one can make.
    4. I feel about the same. I like to keep things simple. Long term approach, dollar cost average, harness the power of time and compounding.
    5. Most of my money is in large blue chip companies that pay consistent dividends. Fits with my slow and steady approach.
    6. Family is my biggest accomplishment. Strong marriage, and 3 kids who I am so proud of.

  46. Dividend Diplomats September 17, 2016 at 3:15 PM

    Woah….matching 100% on every dollar put in to the plan??? Man how do I get my company to adopt those terms?? Smart strategy flipping the switch on and maximizing your investments during the free fall. Think about where you would be financially today if you would have panicked and decided to sell your positions like so many others did versus doubling down and getting as much in the market as possible. Here are the answers to the questions:

    Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008? – I was a sophomore in college.

    Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;)) – It isn’t that I was too young to care, I was always interesting in the stock market and investing. I think I was too young to understand the severity of what was going on and recognize the opportunity at hand. The answer is kind of yes, but not for the reasons you think!

    How’s your money doing now compared to then? Great. I went from a college student to having a very solid portfolio now! Can’t complain.

    How do you feel about the stock market today? – My answer is similar to yours. Some say it is overvalued and there are definitely a fair share of stocks that are trading at insane levels. But there are always opportunities out there. I’m still trying to get as much in as possible to allow the power of compounding to take out.

    What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
    -Stock = JNJ and fund is VINIX

    *BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? In money or life in general?
    -Getting married tops the chart by far! Shout out to my wife if she sees this comment…

    Thanks for allowing me to reflect here.

    Bert, One of the Dividend Diplomats

    1. J. Money September 18, 2016 at 3:34 PM

      Haha… if you married the right girl, she’d be here reading right now ;)

  47. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank September 17, 2016 at 8:36 PM

    Eight years since then. I think I have gotten better in terms of career and money. I’ve just never let it affect me. It’s all about finding a way out and taking advantage of the crash.

  48. Rae September 18, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    1. I was 25 and finishing the last days at my first job out of college. I was a software developer for a mortgage consulting company. In the previous months, I could see our software shifting focus to foreclosures and short sales and our client offices emptying by the hundreds. That scared me, so I started looking for a new job months before and luckily got a job offer in early September. My first day at the new job was the Monday after the crash. The timing couldn’t have been better.
    2. It didn’t scare me because I had secured the new job and I had no investments at the time, not even a retirement account. Everything I had was in cash.
    3. It’s what inspired me to stop hoarding cash. In my head, everything in the market was on “sale” so in the following years, I scrounged up the courage to put all my cash into various Vanguard mutual funds. Looking back, I really had nothing to lose, but at the time but it was the scariest thing I’d ever done financially. So the crash was the turning point and awakening for my financial health. Because of it, I forced myself to learn about various aspects of finances. Investing, retirement, taxes, and controlling my spending. Now, I’m on my to the million dollar club.
    4. When I was a child, I always heard people say “Make your money work for you”. I never understood what it meant, but since the crash, it’s never made more sense. Also, I feel I have an inflated view of the market and whenever a bear market hits, I might be in shock.
    5. VFINX
    *BONUS* Building my career which in turn builds my wealth. Also, controlling my spending and making sure to spend on things that really matter to me, like making time to visit family and friends.

  49. Petra September 18, 2016 at 3:13 PM

    There’s an Elizabeth Rose on linkedin, director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Seems like her world didn’t completely collapse in 2008?

  50. Keith "Shin" Schindler September 18, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    We don’t really pay attention to the market, so when it crashed in 2008 we really didn’t know. We left our investments alone and they’ve climbed back up, same as they have for years. We know that the market historically climbs, so we just let her ride.

  51. ZJ Thorne September 19, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    I had just started professional school in a brand new city to me after living in my small college town for six years.
    The market crash worried me because I knew I wanted a job when I graduated and that my market would be heavily impacted by the recession. I was right. There were no jobs when I graduated. I had to do temp work to survive.
    I am doing much better. I still do the temp work, but at a far more lucrative rate. This rate will double once I finish mastering a new skill. I also started my own business, which will eventually be my full time work and provide me the type of life I’d prefer.
    I am wary that something big will happen soon, but finally began investing last September. I am a few decades away from retirement and think the stock market makes sense as a wealth-builder.
    What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?) — I like the Schwabb version of the S&P 500 and the Total Stock Market Index funds.
    Biggest accomplishment? I came out and began living my true life.

    1. J. Money September 19, 2016 at 11:21 AM

      Love to hear that last part :)

  52. Peter September 19, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    1.Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    Probably at work – Yay petsmart (the good ol’ days)
    2.Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? Honestly no it wasn’t scary it was awesome for me. I was making barely minimum wage so really everything I needed to buy just went on sale! Also as for my hardly existent stock portfolio I think the “big crash” cost be about $45

    3.How’s your money doing now compared to then? like an 1,000% increase :P
    4.How do you feel about the stock market today? It’s about to crash again.
    5.What’s your stock/fund of choice? I invest in real estate much more than the stock market, better returns, better control, better safety/security. Coming up on another cycle crash – SALE!

    6.*BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? In money or life in general?
    Building my small real estate portfolio, buying my own house (almost paid off!), increasing my own wage by about $35,000

  53. Dan September 19, 2016 at 5:09 PM

    1. I’d just bought my first house and changed job to join a national uk housebuilder whose shares were suspended as they plummeted to next to nothing!
    2. It scared me but probably not as much as some, mainly because I was young and confident in my job prospects even if my new job went belly up
    3. I’m increasing my exposure to stocks to try and balance my investments after 2 years of extreme property investing.
    4. I’ve worked in UK property since the crash and have spent the ensuing years investing in that as its what I know best. I’m now trying to rebalance with whole-world trackers, eliminating home bias in my pensions and buying in my ISAs
    5. Biggest money accomplishment? Upgrading to a new, bigger house whilst keeping my old place for rental, even when the new place turned into a complete moneypit. A year and a half later the new place is sorted, the old place has made good money and all the stress and risk was worth it.

  54. Beth September 20, 2016 at 3:20 PM

    This is a fun game! And pretty funny to me too…

    1.Where were you/what were you doing around September 16th, 2008?
    I was 26, had recently graduated college and just got my first ‘big girl’ job working with retirement plans. So I came in to the industry at the BEST time…lol. Week 1 on the job I was getting panicked phone calls from plan participants about their retirement funds. Plans lost almost half of their market values! I don’t think I would have ever grasped the severity of the crash if I hadn’t been in this new job.
    2.Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))
    Like I said, if I wouldn’t have been at my job at that exact time I think the crash would have scared me and intimidated me. BUT – thankfully I came in to the industry realizing how serious this was and it actually motivated to be better with my money all-around.
    3.How’s your money doing now compared to then?
    Since the market crash motivated me I would say my money is doing better than it would have had I not worked in the industry during the crash. I am still improving but I definitely wised up and figured out how important it was to save and not have debt.
    4.How do you feel about the stock market today?
    Today I just wish everyone would not overreact in regards to their investments to every single thing that happens in this world. Yellen says ‘boo’ and the market is down. It drives me nuts! What goes up must come down and vice versa. If you can ride out the market’s ups and downs it will be worth it in the end. Just chill…LOL
    5.What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)
    My funds are mostly in Vanguard mutual funds across the board; fixed and equity (small, mid, large, int’l, emerging mkts, etc..) – and my emergency fund is just in a savings account.
    6.*BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? In money or life in general?
    My biggest accomplishment are my kids – they are the best and my life would be a bore without them. :) I would say that it is in big part due to them that I graduated college, worked hard to get a decent paying job and try to be smart with my money. They motivate me.

  55. Beth September 20, 2016 at 3:21 PM

    I totally didn’t mean to write that much! But I can’t wait to do it again in 8 years. :)

    1. J. Money September 22, 2016 at 6:55 AM

      Awww, haha…. it was fun hearing your story! And totally agree with kids too! (though I prefer to stay out of the emergency room when making life non-boring, haha… they’re always getting hurt!)

      1. Beth September 22, 2016 at 10:08 AM

        I should post a video of my 7 year old son repeatedly trying to get a back handspring on my bed last night. I was cringing with fear that he was going to break his neck but he was so bound and determined to get it that I couldn’t stop him. He successfully got the back handspring by the way. I have no idea how we have never been to the emergency room by now…(I’m knocking on wood) LOL

  56. Becky September 20, 2016 at 5:13 PM

    I was a freshly married 22-year old with a husband in college and had been working for nearly 1 year at my office job. I have always been cheap/frugal/whatever but the economy tanking really made me stick to my frugality that much more, especially since I was bringing in the only income while my husband when to college full-time. I remember thinking at first that the stock market should have no effect on me since the only money I had in stocks was less than a year’s worth of 401(k) input. Little did I know it affected the cost of nearly everything. That is still the only place I have investments, but I have more in there now. I’m still a little leery of the stock market, but once we get our debts gone, I want to focus more on putting some money in the market.

    1. J. Money September 28, 2016 at 11:02 AM

      I’m really glad it didn’t scare you away that much :) A lot of people lost a ton – pulled out – and then never put back in and weren’t able to recoup it :( You can’t always time the market and know when is best and worst, but if you have a lot of *time* on your side, it’s always better odds of it rallying. The worst is for those in retirement and pulling from it since you don’t have a choice but to pull out and you’re not buying anything on the cheap :(

  57. SwordGuy September 22, 2016 at 8:26 PM

    1.September 16th, 2008?
    I was mid-way thru a 1 year job in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia writing software for a government department.

    2.Did the market crash scare you, motivate you, or were you too young to even care back then? (Don’t you dare say yes ;))

    I was very far from a savvy investor, but I knew enough to do nothing about it other than keep investing in our 401Ks.

    3.How’s your money doing now compared to then?

    We’re doing very well! We were most of the way thru paying off all our debt (including mortgage) by then, we then rolled those same payments into maxing up our 401Ks.
    About 4 years ago I ran across the financial independence blogs and forums and they really transformed things for us.

    4.How do you feel about the stock market today?
    Uncertain! That’s why our FI strategy has 4 legs, Social Security, Rental Property Income, passive Farm Income, and Stock Market returns. If the market gets average results we’ll be splendidly well off and if it doesn’t, well be just fine (and our kids will inherit a bunch of stock we never sold ’cause the price was too low).

    5.What’s your stock/fund of choice? (If you don’t invest, where do you put your $$ instead?)

    Vanguard’s VTSAX is the stock fund of choice. I’m also a real fan of rental property.

    6.*BONUS* What’s been your biggest accomplishment in 8 years? In money or life in general?

    Money-wise, based on what we learned from the FI online community, we cut 12 years off my expected retirement age. That’s a lot of days of freedom! Thanks!

    Life-wise, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary and 36th anniversary of being together. Plans for more years are still very firm. :)

    1. J. Money September 28, 2016 at 11:03 AM


      On all accounts! :)