How I Did It
After losing $150,000 in tech stocks, I reformed my bad investing habits and took control of my future


"In 2000 I was an aggressive investor. All my spare money went into stocks, and all my spare time went into thinking about stocks. When I wasn't running the sales department at a catering company, I was obsessed with reading financial articles, watching business shows and checking websites. When my savings had grown to half a million dollars, I bought 2,000 shares of a tech company that analysts had been pumping--and then I watched it fall. And fall. I kept throwing good money after bad, and in the end I had 2,000 shares worth next to nothing. And I had lost $150,000.

I knew I had to make big changes. I ditched my investment counselor and began to manage my money myself. I dumped all my individual stocks and now invest primarily in mutual funds. I'd always put the max into my 401(k), but I moved myself from the 'higher' to the 'moderate' risk level. My life-cycle funds rebalance themselves, so I don't have to think about it. I now feel like I'm on solid ground. I understand my investments, and I have faith that while they could go down, they are not going to go down quickly or drastically. It took me about 2½ years to get back on track, but I recouped my losses and then some, and my savings are steadily growing. I always wanted to retire before age 60, and I'll still be able to. And I'll be a millionaire."