My company’s stock has been doing very, very well since I joined it back in 2008. When I joined, I received a good amount of stock (RSUs) which vested over the years.
Today, looking back, I just saw that if my company’s stock is the only thing I had ever saved in my life, and assuming I’d have kept it, I’d roughly have the exact same egg nest that I have today.
Yup, I could have spent my entire paycheck for my whole life, and I’d still be as rich as I am today. In hindsight, I could have lived the “good” life, as long as I’d chosen to hold on my company’s stock.
Obviously, it’s easy to say in hindsight. In practice, although I’ve made multiple financial mistakes in my adult life, I’m happy that my company’s stock is not the only asset I own. I’m pretty well diversified, I think, and the cost of that diversification is that I’ve had to sell a lot of my company stock over the years.
With everything else being equal, if I had hold onto my stock instead of buying index ETFs, I’d probably be twice as rich today. That’s the power of hindsight. Of course, I’m not sure I’d feel financially secure though, because it would mean more than half of my wealth would be in my company’s stock, so I don;t regret much. I still believe the right move with RSUs is to sell them as soon as they vest.
But this clearly shows me I haven’t handled my money optimally, for the vast majority of my life. Had I known better in my early twenties, I probably would have reached financial independence a few years ago.
I’ve spent lots of money on foolish things including my wedding (which was great but expensive), parties, electronic gadgets, poor investment choices, and even a light bulb that cost us about $1000 (maybe I’ll tell this story once).
Some of these things I don’t regret. The wedding for example was one of the best events of my life. Parties in general gave me good memories. Sure, they might have been as much fun for half the price, but it was still a good experience. Bad investments and material crap such as the gadgets or the light bulb, I wish I had known better.
It’s a bit depressing to try and count how much money I have received in my life, and how little is actually remaining of all of that. We save a lot nowadays, but it wasn’t always the case.
A back of the envelope calculation of all the (after tax) money I ever received or made in my adult life (for example counting the value of the stock at the time they vested, not the value they would have now) tells me that my current wealth is roughly equal to all the money I made in my life. That’s despite my money growing super fast over the past few years thanks to the bull market. It feels like a waste.
Interestingly, the same rough estimates show me that I owe 80% of my wealth to my 9 to 5 jobs (almost half of that being the stock of my current company), 10% to my side gig, and 10% to the bank of mom and dad (my parents helped my significantly, financially, on several occasions when I was younger). I guess it’s a good reminder to be grateful for the corporate job that I so badly want to quit 🙂