Two of the smartest things I did this year and one stupid thing...

I did two smart things so far this year. I finally started a Roth IRA for a my wife and myself. I went with Fidelity, because of the relatively low start up fee and my 401K is with them (even though in hindsight Vanguard is the place to be). I dumped a lump sum of $2,500 into FLATX (which is emerging market Latin America/Brazil) for my wife and FSEAX (China) for myself. This could of had a lot more benefit if I had started it sooner due to the power of compounding, but this year is better than next year or anytime after now for that matter. Now I just have to keep up the habit and contribute yearly.

The other smart thing that I'll definitely do next year as well is getting taxes done early. We just got our tax refund back today (directly deposited into our bank account). It's a lot easier to get it done early and out of the way. No scrambling for receipts and papers like last year.

The stupid thing I did was to chase past returns. It is my estimation that emerging markets will stay hot, I saw last year's returns of 40% and 50% in the funds I just bought positions in and got excited. I bought the hype of a growing economy in China, and a oily beast in Brazil. I'm betting that these two economies/parts of the world do better than the United States over the next few years at least in the financial realm. I know that past results don't predict future success, and realize it's risky but I figure that I have a long investing career ahead and time to go for big returns now.

I must admit, I am tempted by the chance of making a lot of money very quickly, even though everything I read is contrary to fast money. Investing is really boring, get a well diversified index fund with little to no fees and invest systematically, the same amount no matter what until you're done working. I guess I just wanted to be flashy and take my shot at some bigger returns, feel like I have something special, like I can be the pros at their own game. I know the result of being quick to jump at things that sound almost too good to be true. I'm sure you know as well, and it ain't pretty, it's not a happy ending, but hey I'm taking my shot now, I taking a risk. We'll see what happens over the next few years.

By the way I reached my 401K recently pasted a landmark $20,000. My goal is to have at least $30,000 in there by the time I'm thirty and I'm currently well on my way.

What is the smartest or dumbest money move you've made this year?

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