Young Asian investor

The Power of Persistence

Or How $10k Became $272k…

At some time in our lives, we are all forced to make decisions that change the course of our financial future. For me, this time came 34 years ago. I was in the middle of a divorce and a major career change. The financial pressure I was facing was tremendous. The cost of divorce, caring for a child, and my own living expenses were weighing heavily on my mind. On top of all these demands, I also had to worry about two rent payments, credit card bills, and student loans. When I left college counseling to join a graduate fellowship program, I had the option of cashing out my 401k retirement plan, and it was tempting.

Should I make the easier choice?

It would have been easy, perhaps even justified, to withdraw the $10,000 from my 401k and relieve some of my financial pressures. As I weighed my options, I looked to my previous study of investments to help me make the decision. Because of my business training, I believed whole-heartedly in the power of compounding. I knew that to accumulate wealth, one must start investing early and often. Thus, I made the decision to stay the course and work through my financial issues without cashing out the 401k. Although I didn’t add any more money to this retirement plan, I allowed it to compound through three major stock market crashes (down 20% plus), 12 significant mini-crashes (down 10% plus) and countless corrections (down 5% plus). Were these stock market episodes nerve-wracking? Of course, but I persisted.

The return

For 34 years, this retirement account has given me a return that averaged 10% plus annually. For the most part I monitored it, with the exception of some important changes I made periodically. I thought carefully about each investment choice. In my case, I put 100% of this account in stock mutual funds, and even today, at age 66, I am still allocated 100% in stocks for this account. I hope to live another 20 to 30 years so that I can continue to enjoy this investment. In my golden years, I will adjust the asset allocation formula and withdraw money as required by IRA rules.

What about you?

I share this real life story with you in order to illustrate our company’s approach to helping people invest better and spend smarter. Succeeding in your investments will depend on how you allocate the funds in your retirement accounts. However, it will also depend upon your persistence – your willingness to stick with your plan even when it may be tempting to withdraw because of a bad financial situation or falling market.

With our free TSOA (Timing, Selection, Optimal Allocation) Freedom Portfolio models applied to your retirement accounts, you can have confidence in your own “Power of Persistence.”

My best,

Jim Tso


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Jim Tso wants to “give back” and share his 35+ years of successful personal money management experience to help others to achieve their financial goals. Jim created this InvestBetterSpendSmarter blog (IBSS) to provide you with free investing, planning, savings, retirement, and inspirational tips derived from his unique, innovative, and proven approaches to money management. He welcomes and appreciates your feedback.

Jim would also appreciate it if you would kindly share our IBSS website and blogs with your family, friends, and business associates. Thank you!

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