HP Giving Away $500 to a Lucky Wise Bread Reader

by Will Chen on 31 August 2011 (856 comments)

Editor's Note: The contest is officially closed! Congratulations to Wise Bread reader Ben Marvin for his winning comment!

HP is launching a new blog for lifehackers, work-from-home entrepreneurs, and small business owners called Input/Output. It has a lot of relevant tips for savvy Wise Bread readers, such as 5 Tips to Cutting Hidden IT CostsHow Not to  Blow Your IT Job Interview, and 3 Ways to Print From Your Mobile Phone

To celebrate the launch of Input/Output, HP is giving Away $500 to Wise Bread Readers!

How to Enter

Simply leave a comment below answering the question: What is the smartest investment you’ve ever made? (Answer must be at least two sentences long.)

It can be any kind of investment—business, personal, or family investment. What is an investment that has yielded a solid return for you? Perhaps a degree, office equipment, cooking lessons, or a new suit?

Prize is a $500 Visa gift card.

Be sure to leave your name and email so we can contact you when you win!

Comment must be entered before September 23, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Contest Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older.  Ends 9/23/11.  Winners will be randomly selected and announced on Wise Bread before end of September. See Official Rules. Void where prohibited.

More About INPUT / OUTPUT

One of the best ways to achieve success is to emulate successful people. HP's new blog features original articles from the industry’s most respected writers and exclusive interviews with technology leaders.

You can learn life and business lessons from the top business minds of our time. Some of my favorites include:

Enter the contest now by leaving a comment!

This post is brought to you by HP. For more information on HP and HP products visit us at Inputcreatesoutput.com.

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Nuno Rodrigues

Buying a house at the age of 20. Best investment I've ever made

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Tim Lukes

The smartest investment I ever made was in going to college. It allowed me to get a good job before the economy went bad and then I lost my job due to downsizing.

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clynsg

My best investment was in my education. The initial part was comparatively easy, since I had a state scholarship and my parents paid for the comparatively small remainder of the costs. Later, I figured out that a master's would be a benefit to me, and I returned to school. This was before there were government grants for education (which is dating me I know), but I had my GI bill benefits and I expected that I could work part time to make up the difference. About 1 semester into the first year, I became ill and work was out of the question for a little while. After talking with my advisor, I reluctantly came to accept that the only way I could manage was to take out some student loans. She brought the process into perspective by asking me why it was more of a stretch to take out loans for my education, and therefore my entire life prospects, than it would be to sign a contract to buy a car on time. The amount was small, especially when compared to some that students need now, and half of them were repaid by working in a needed area after graduation, and that degree allowed me to advance in my profession, earn a very decent living, and is still paying back by that career providing me with a nice retirement package.

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Dominic

The greatest investment I have ever made was marrying my wife. She came into my life at a really emotional and uncertain time. I had recently left my dream job in radio, my father had passed away and I was recently divorced. Since I have met my wife I have been getting returns everyday in the form of friendship, love and caring, but recently we just found out we are getting the greatest return. My wife is pregnant with our first child. How about that for ROI!

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jwhyrock

Tough question as I buy a lot of things with long term payoff in mind. I don't drive. It's a hardship I put on myself in order to invest more, and eliminate all debt. Been at it for a few years now. Biggest and most difficult investment I have made. A work in progress.

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Kim

The very best investment I ever made was in myself! A few years ago, I was a divorced mom with few prospects. I took my last bit of money and started my own business. It was slow going at first, but I am making a decent life for us!

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Cathy

I hope this isn't too cliche but I'm going to say my marriage. When our first child was born, it was tempting to make life all about the baby, but my husband and I really worked at keeping our relationship close and even though our child is still in elementary school, I can see the day not *that* far off in the future when our next is empty and we have hopefully decades together still. The investment we made in our relationship is already paying off, since we have more "couple time" now, and it will really pay off when it's just the two of us again. Thank you for the giveaway!

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Loc V

I'd have to say purchasing our first house that needed a lot of work. I got a great deal and I fixed the house. Even in this current housing market, I'm still coming out ahead.

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Sharon

The smartest investment I've made was to purchase a high end luxury car at well below book value, very well made, used (9 years old) ....a one owner with very low mileage ...that has performed like a champ for me for the last six years with no maintenance other than an oil and filter change.

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Jesse Clark

The smartest investment I've ever made was deciding to go back to school to pursue an Architecture degree. It's currently putting me thousands of dollars in debt, but for the first time in my academic life, I can honestly say that I'm truly happy with my decisions and the direction in which I'm going.

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Sheila

The smartest invest I made was for a set of external hard-drives. I learned the hard way that you should always have a back-up for your computer - especially if you use it for a business.

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Mami2jcn

The smartest investment I ever made was purchasing a home in New Jersey when I was just 24 years old, before the prices skyrocketed. When I sold I made quite a tidy profit, that I was able to use as a large down payment on the next house. I was the first of my friends to become a homeowner when many in NJ couldn't afford to buy.

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simone

The smartest investment I ever made was in my healthcare insurance. I have saved thousands of dollars simply by having insurance. I pray I never have to go without it.

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Kim

The smartest investment I ever made was my commitment to living without credit cards. After digging myself out of a financial hole an ex-husband put me in 15 years ago, I vowed never to have another credit card again. I have been living without credit cards for over 10 years. It's not easy but I live by the motto that if I don't have the cash, it wasn't meant to be.

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Peter S

Probably college. Even though I don't actively use my degree, getting through college itself got me my first major job and that kicked off my career. Just wish I'd gone to a less expensive college now, but who knows what would have happened if that had been the case.

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shirley fin

Investing time in volunteering in my community because it is so rewarding both for me and for the disadvantaged people I am serving.

abile27 at yahoo dot com

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Dana

My best investment to date would be getting health insurance when I was unemployed. It's been a big expense for me-$400 a month and since graduating law school I've been unemployed over 2 of the 4 years I've been out. The money could definitely be used elsewhere but it has paid for itself numerous times.

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Brooke R.

I think the smartest investment I ever made was homeownership. Owning my own home has been a great experience. I highly recommend it.

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Lauren

I invested time to read Suze Orman's Young, Fabulous, and Broke. It gave me a roadmap for personal finance, an area I was previously unfamiliar with. That interest led me to a variety of resources that has totally changed the way I live.

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Maddie Gilliland

The best investment I ever made was going to a brand new "Early College" high school. I completed high school at the age of 18, a month after graduating college with an Associate's Degree. This accomplishment helped me win a significantly large scholarship and be accepted into a top CSU for business.

I'm an advocate for the "Early College High School" system now.

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Kristen

Making my health a priority and paying for massages out of pocket (since it's rarely covered by insurance) is the smartest investment I've ever made. I started getting massages as part of a physical therapy regimen after an injury over a decade ago. I kept going back, even if just for 30 minutes once a month, because of how it contributes to my overall well-being.

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Brandon P

The most recent smartest investment I have made is brown dress shoes. I believe it is necessary with work clothes as black dress shoes are so common. These leather dress shoes were expensive but I know I'll be able to wear and use these to work, birthday parties, and bars. It has helped me gain confidence in what I wear which shoes in the work I do.

Guest's picture

The smartest investment I ever made was in my kids' education. W decided to home school...my daughter graduated at 16 with scores out of the ballpark... and is now getting ready to start college. I invested my time, and the returns have been incredible.

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Steve W.

I went to see my regular doctor to get a referral to see a specialist. He mentioned I hadn't had any blood tests in quite awhile and wanted me to come back the next morning. I had the blood drawn the next day and several days later I found out I was diabetic. If I had not invested the time to have the tests done, I never would have known.

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Jennifer Horn

The smartest investment I've made is into my family. I make sure I'm available emotionally and physically to them so they know they always have someone to rely on. I feel this will make them better adults.

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Carson

The smartest investment I made was a liberal arts college degree. I feel it made me quite well-rounded, including study of culture, arts, religion, communication, and other topics that are critical to success in life and in business besides specific technical skills.

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AMC2299

To date the smartest investment we have made would be in our house. We have no debt and are working rapidly to pay it off. Once it is paid off we plan on living in it for a few years and then upgrading. Which means our paid off house will become an income property! We'll love that extra $1000 a month!

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Tepe

The smartest investment I ever made was a case of beer. I gave it to a kind machine-shop owner in return for his taking a look at a busted motorcycle crankcase, and managed to parlay the small favor into work at his shop. A great way to learn machining!

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Anita A.

Smartest investment ever was buying stock in the Walt Disney Company. We invested by using the DRIP (dividend re-investment program) and had $$ taken out of our bank account monthly. Painless stock investment, with the dividends put to buyng additional stock.

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Kelly

The smartest investment that I've made is my education. It makes all the difference.

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Susanne Raymond

After my husband died, I went back to school and got my Bachelors and then a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology. I graduated last year. I've wanted to become a therapist and help people since I was seven years old, so I'm grateful I could realize my dream. I think this is the smartest investment I ever made because not only can I make a difference - I can be happy while doing it.

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Ellie W

The smartest investment I ever made was buying my house. We bought is a a HUD house 19 years ago for about half it's value. So while the rest of the neighborhood is coping with outlandish mortgage payments, we are sitting pretty. Now if only the rest of our bills were cut in half, we'd be doing good.
Thanks for the giveaway!

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sara villarreal

The smartest investment I have ever made has been my camera. I am so glad I have memories captured on film to share with my family and friends. Something that I will forever have in picture form.

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Stormy R

The smartest investment I have made was in a move from Georgia to Texas. Opportunities were extremely limited in my hometown and by making a move to a much larger city in Texas in which I had more access to GOOD jobs (one of which I was able to be hired), more entertainment choices, more networking opportunities which all increased a greater happiness with life.

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Chelsea Saulpaugh

My smartest investment so far was my DSLR. I get so much joy out of photography and it has really helped my confidence grow. Im usually very shy, but I come out of my shell with my camera.

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Janna

The best investment I ever made was to have our back yard professionally landscaped. We took out some money from our HELOC to make our deary back yard into a space we could use to entertain friends, host birthday parties, holiday cook-outs, etc. We have since (6 yrs ago) paid off the loan and have created many happy memories with family and friends in that beautiful space. Further, having a nice space for parties means we don't have to have our birthday parties at the local playland which is $300 a party. Sometimes now when we're trying to save $, we'll actually host a dinner party outdoors because for less than the price of dining out (family of 5), we can feed and entertain ourselves *and* friends with a delicious bbq all while saving $ and building friendships! I think that's a good return on our investment.

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Michelle

My best investment was my temperpedic bed. It cost quite a bit initially but has yielded 6 years and counting of great nights of sleep and rest. Therefore, I have functioned better and had much higher quality of life during my waking hours.

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One red rose. I think it cost a dollar including a few tendrils of baby's breath and a snip of ribbon to hold it all together. I gave the rose to my date, my beautiful date, our first date, just before dinner. Last week we celebrated our 32 anniversary; I gave her a red rose.

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Enoch Freeman

The smartest investment I've ever made is spending six years in junior high and high school learning to play the violin. I have a talent that will stay with me the rest of my life. I can play by ear, so jamming with friends or playing for church even witout music is possible. I have built many great relationships through music over the last twenty years.

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Amity Johnson

The best investement was in my husband going to truck driving school. It was a long year with him on the road as I was home, working and handling our small children-but years later I have become ill and cannot work. He is able to support us all with his current income. For this I am very greatful as well.

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abbi

My smartest investment was buying my used kia sportage. I took a loan out of my 401k so I'd be paying interest to myself rather than the bank. It's so good in the winter and I know I will be able to make it to work every day.

Abbi
kidpack05 at yahoo dt com

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Tim

Twelve little diamonds, set in white gold, size 4 3/4. As a grad student with basically no money, I balked a little when I saw the price tag. But, my, was it ever worth it to see the sparkle in my fiance's eyes when I slipped that sparkling band on her finger. Better yet, I catch her every now and then fingering the ring, holding her hand at different angles to catch the light glinting of the the diamonds. It's definitely not the biggest bling, but it's certainly and investment that we'll both agree was a smart one...for the rest of our lives.

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alyce poalillo

My smartest investment has been in my education, both the time and the money. I went back to school late in life to become a celebrant-I perform services and rituals for funerals and weddings etc. It provided a rewarding second career and was my best investment in me.

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Patricia

The smartest investment I made was actually to pay off our car when I got a surprise windfall. In this economy that decision has helped us in the long run.

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Mary Calabrese

The smartest investment I made was in myself. I put myself (with the help of financial aid) through college, earning both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science degree. And I'm passing on that investment today as a Financial Aid Professional!

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Deanna

The smartest investment I have ever made is the time I have invested in entering giveaways. I seriously started entering giveaways in 2009 and have won thousands of dollars worth of prizes for my family.

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kerri a

My best investment so far has been in college. It has helped me get a good job in a bad economy.

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Kristie

The smartest investment I ever made was I purchased a IRA and it was the type that I could not lose. I did not make much money when the market was going up but when the market fell out I did not lose a dime.

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Tiffany Drew

My best investment definitely has to be my laptop. At my previous job, we had a computer buying program and you could borrow up to a certain amount to purchase a computer then pay it off weekly for a year. I took that opportunity and purchased my laptop with as many extras as I could get. I have to say that it was a very wise decision. This laptop has been my savior for the last two years while I have been a stay at home mother with no vehicle during the week. I use it for everything and I would be lost without it.

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Jim W.

My smartest investment was in my education. It will provide me with a stable income and job security. It was better then my backup plan, marrying a rich girl.

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VickieB

I believe my smartest investment was going back to school. Although the degrees are not relevant in my current job, the personal satisfaction I received can't be beat.

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KD

We elected to have one of us at all times- home to raise our children. It costed us dearly at first- and now, after all this time we've opened up multiple businesses, attended EVERY one of their after school activities, events, and awards as well as were able to get them across town to go to better schools. They are honor roll students & have never missed a day.

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Andrea

The smartest investment I've ever made was my graduate degree. I paid for my Masters of Public Administration out of pocket and use the knowledge from my classes every day.

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WinneratLife

The smartest investment I've ever made is the one I made in myself following my divorce nearly 10 years ago. My ex-husband and I tried hard to make it work, but we were so different and had such different goals that all we did was make each other miserable. After far too many years of living that way, I finally decided to put me first. I started over in a new career, started running and eating better, started meditating and taking better care of myself and today I am happier, healthier and more successful in every way as a result.

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Nicole Fall

The smartest investment I ever made was to buy a house when the market was down! We got an incredible deal on a foreclosure. It's now worth almost 3 times what we paid for it and we haven't even done that much as far as fixing it up yet!

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Jane Kelly

The best investment that I have made in my entire life was spending the 18,000.00 for the invitro fertilization so that my daughter could become a part of our lives. She has made our lives complete in every way possible.

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Mary Yowell

The best investment I ever made is spending time with my family. The love and nurturing this has given to us all is invaluable!

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Gina Bettig

My best investment was going back to school and finishing my Bachelors degree. Near the end of that program I was able to find a career focused job that more than double my previous income. I since have been able to move out of the apartment I was living in and bought my own condo. Also began a small retirement fund with my current employer's 401k plan.

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Laura Berman

Listening to my seniors. There is always something old that can become new again! A lot of wisdom out there.

Guest's picture

In my fifties, the smartest investment I ever made was a computer. Not knowing how to operate one was a challenge, but has proven well worth my time and investment. It is the root of my business.

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Daniel Morgan

The smartest investment that I have ever made was investing my time into teaching my children all about life and how to be a good person.
It has paid off in ways that I could never have imagined.
My children are really good hearted, hard working, honest, and caring people,
And in this world of dog eat dog, that is a rare commodity.
I just wish that there were more people in this world like my children, and more parents like me that took the time to teach their children how to be "GOOD PEOPLE".

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Donna Lineman

The best investmet I have ever made is returning back to school after 20 years. I am going fora second Bachelor's Degree and possibly further for my Master's in Psychology or Social Work. I want to make a difference in the world with our children because they are our future. My husband and I are adopting a sibling group at Christmas time and by having this degree and these Psychology courses will help me twofold. I can help other children and my own children at the same time.

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Cheryl Carlino

The best money I have ever invested would be my Massage Therapist training. Working for yourself, on your own time and pace will carry me beyond my retirement years as I enjoy my life

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Jennifer

My best investment was a purple suit that I call my Interview dress...it makes me look stylish and confident during job interviews. Another good investment was a pair of black Zodiac boots that looked fabulous and felt as comfortable as slippers. I wore them regularly for five years, until they fell apart. I bought them on sale and, at the time, investing $50 in a pair of boots was a major investment! In hindsight, whenever I've spent a little money to improve myself, whether it's clothing, books, exercise equipment or an item that furthers my personal growth, it's been a worthwhile investment.

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Guest

The smartest investment I ever made was getting my first car. I have made plenty of money from it getting me to work and we got it for $400 and it lasted 4 years.

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Cleo Browne

The smartest investment I made was completing my education. I obtaines a Bachelor degree in Forensic Psychology. It was sometime hard but it was well worth it. My smartest investment was obtaining my degrees.

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mary rosen

My best investment was taking care of my Mother in her last days as she dwindled away mentally and physically from Alzheimers. I wouldn't trade those days for anything!

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gerald rucker

In Vietnam I invested in partner friendships. This allowed me to always have someone watching my 6.

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carol donnermeyer

My smartest investment is my children and grandchildren. We may go without but we make sure they have the educational, sports, and social chances they will need to be successful in life. An example is our YMCA membership which is very pricey on our very limited income but it provides so much benefit in social and sports.

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kathryn cecero

The best investment I made was going back to college At the age of 52. I did this while working full time,taking care of my elderly mother and doing the books for my husband's business.

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kelly loss

The smartest investment that I ever made was to buy a foreclosed home,fix it up and have the house paid off in three years,so I am now able to provide for my family,without a mortgage.

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Sheron Young

The smartest investment I've ever made was in myself. By electing to further my education and pursue my degree, the options for my life have drastically changed.

Sheron Young

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stephanie mcdaniel

As a result of a "reduction in force" action, I was recently laid off my job. While searching for a new employment opportunity, I enrolled in a graduate certificate program. I am confident the newly acquired skills will prove useful in securing another position.

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Grace

The best investment I ever made is my home. Despite the terrible economy and the state of real estate sales, it still is worth more than I paid for it.

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Henrietta Sewell

HP is my first and only computer. It is great!

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Bev Kesselring

The smartest investment I have ever made was using my inheritance to fund the adoptions of our three daughters. Nothing I would have purchased with this money would have given us the life changing rewards that they have given us. Every day I get to watch this investment grow, learn, change and develop. No other investment could have given me the pleasure and life lessons these three girls do. I consider it money well spent. I believe this investment gives me much more in return than I have ever put into it. My investment will continue to grow and develop for generations long after I have left this world.

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Elan McMonigal

My 401k investement is by far the smartest investment I have ever made. I made investements in cars and in a home but both depreciated extensively. My 401 has as well but not nearly as much as the home and cars.

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Penny Schrotberger

Best investment ever made is trusting in God, loving my family. If you are talking dollars then my best investment is my Thriftsaving account thru work--for retirement.

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Rebecca S Farish

The smartest investment i ever made was my son. I never gave up on him and he is still alive and healthy today.

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Malinda L. Williams

The smartest investment I've ever made is to teach my children about entreprenuership and encourage them to pursue having a business of their own. My children now all have goals to start their own businesses, just as I did while they were growing up. They've come up with very good ideas, and now we're working on getting the business plans written and implemented. I'm very proud of the progress they've made!

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Romina

It would have to be getting rid of a bad tenant & updating/fixing up our rental. We were able to get a new (quality) tenant and charge almost double the previous rent. This covers most of our mortage.

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randy

The best investment I ever made was buying my home. Thank god the housing market hasn't crashed in Portland Oregon.

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Miguel Barajas

I think it was my "Compaq Presario", I have been able to get my investment returned very fast.

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Catherine Teegardin

The best investment my mom and I have made is making Baylor Unversity tuition affordable. We have both worked hard to earn extra money and scholarships. I believe that I am getting the education of a lifetime, and that I will be able to get a good job or get into grad school when I graduate. I see myself beginning to become the woman I wanted to be, thanks to Baylor and the people here.

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Patricia Kennedy

The smartest investment I ever made was earning my Masters degree in Psychology at the age of 50. I loved the experience and learned a lot about human beings. It was worth the sacrifices it required. I got my Masters in 1 and 1/2 years after getting my Bachelors in 2 years. We are never too old to learn if we want to learn.

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marty donovan

The smartest investment I ever made was in a lap top computer. We get more use and value out of it than anything I can think of.

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Keri

My education is my best investment. I was able to travel the world and explore new places which has been such a benefit to my life and career.

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jaimee

The best investment I've ever made is in my family, by committing to having family dinners together at least 3 times a week. It's not always easy, and sometimes dinner is actually breakfast, but we do manage 3 meals a week as a family. The rule is nothing on while at the table- no phones, internet, tv, radio, etc. Just sitting down as a family talking, connecting, and planning for the days ahead

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Walter Stabenau

My best investment was investing in GE stock from 1980 to 1999. This was the period beginning when the stock was cheap through the Jack Welsh GE presidency.

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Cynthia Chouinard

My smartest investment is when I bought my condo back in 1992. I was paying rent for all those years and I decided to buy a home. I am a single mom,not married and the rent just kept on getting higher every year. So I was looking around and seen this condo as I bought it for a very low price plus fixed rate was low too. I am still living in my condo as its been now over 19 years.

My other investment is, when I took a trip with my sister. We went to Mt.Pleasent,North Carolina to see a friend of ours. She took us to this flee market and wow did I get a great buy. I bought this three piece table set. It has oak wood and on top is granite tops on the coffee table and two end tables at a price of $300.00 for all. I could not beleive the price when the lady told it to me.As these tables would cost about $1,000 to $1,200 if I bought them here in Maryland where I live. These tables are all hand made too. I was so glad I had a big van so I could bring them home,as they were in boxes.

So that is my two smartest investments that I have done that saved me a lot of money threw my years.

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Judith Sharp

The smartest investment I ever made was buying my I-phone so I can check e-mails from anywhere. I don't have to rush home now to get on my computer because I'm afraid I've missed a very important message.

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Janet Smith

Not to be patronizing, but the best investment that I ever made was my laptop computer (tablet to follow). I have always said that if I were to lose all, but one of my many electronic gadgets I would keep the laptop. It functions among other things, as a phone, voice messages, a television and a full mobile entertainment center. It is the connection to the world.

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Jared Schulz

When I graduated high school in 2002 I decided to use all my money I had saved from
Work, graduation presents, and birthdays to buy gold coins from my jeweler. He had convinced me that it would be a safe investment and that throwing it away on gifts for girlfriends or booze in college would be a decision I would regret. I believe gold was around 600 an ounce and I picked up 18 American eagles. With the price today I've tripled my money in less than a decade and it's only going to grow with time!

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LINDA CUSTARD

THE SMARTEST INVESTMENT WE MADE WAS TO TAKE IN OUR GRANDSON FOR 5 YEARS AND PUT OFF OUR RETIREMENT. HE IS NOW ON HIS LAST YEAR OF COLLEGE AND ON THE B HONOR ROLL AND WE ARE SO PROUD OF HIM.

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Patricia

The best investment I ever made was to purchase land and a mobile home. Paid them off within 12 years and now we live rent and mortgage-free. We would never be able to afford to pay the current rent or mortgage rates since my husband is retired and disabled from an injury on the job. And my chances of being hired for a job is slim to none because of my age and other reasons. So I am grateful to God for helping us make that investment in the first place. So even though we are living off his Social Security payments, it is enough to meet our needs, and maybe once in a while a few 'wants', since we don't have to pay for a place to live.

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Benjamin Nice

The best investment of my time and money has been in my relationship with my future wife. We spent 3 long years living 900 miles away from each other but we bought plane tickets whenever we could but spent a lot of time talking on our phones and webcams. It has been tough but completely worth it. We are engaged to be marry on June 9th, 2012.

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Ryan Vanderbur

The best investment for me was actually filing for bankruptcy. Its tough to read that back but its the truth. After i lost everything including my job and truck i am able to now start from scratch never getting involved with credit cards or "low interest loans" ever again. If i cant pay for it i cant have it.

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James

The smartest investment I ever made was getting out of the stock market completely back in 2000. I took everything and invested in precious metals. Since then, my investment has increased ten-fold. The investment return of people believing their "in-it-for-the-long haul" stock broker has barely kept pace with inflation.

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Tom B.

My greatest investment was investing in my children. Just watching them blossom and grow into individuals is the best investment anyone could wish for.

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Angela Taylor

The smartest investment that I ever made was marrying my husband 31 years ago. Two children and a grandchild later I am still in love with him.