It’s only a few more months until my 25th birthday, so I thought it would be appropriate to write a list of the biggest money regrets I had by that point. But as you might expect from someone who suffered from financial illiteracy for years and took longer than most people to finally get their act together, there were many regrets–and not all of them were about money. Some of them are on this list; others aren’t. And some didn’t even happen yet (I still have time to fix those before turning 26!). In any case, here are my top 25 regrets about money:
There was a short period of time, when I first moved to the city and was working a low-paying internship for six months followed by two years as an entry-level employee at a medium-sized tech firm, where I didn’t have much money coming in. But even though my expenses were relatively low, I should have saved some of that income so that it would compound over time–something I could now use to help pay down debt or make a down payment on a home.
Perhaps due to my aforementioned ignorance about personal finance, I initially thought that deferring payments on student loans until after graduation was wise. In other words, while others were aggressively paying off their debts while they could still get away with it (i.e., before getting a real job and having to shoulder the burdens of other expenses), I did nothing at all with my loans except let them sit there, collecting interest.
My situation was different from most people who are in school–I had a full-time job that paid pretty well, so when my employer offered to match any contributions I made to a 401(k) retirement plan, I took advantage of that opportunity without hesitation. But by not contributing the maximum to an IRA or Roth IRA while still in school (or even during those first few years out of grad school), I missed out on decades’ worth of tax-free growth on my investments.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard about investing is that you should start as early as possible and invest as much as you can afford–even if it’s just a little bit each month. By not heeding this advice in my 20s, I have less time for my investments to grow and compound over time.
Even now, in my mid-20s, I am still guilty of making too many impulse purchases–whether it’s picking up something small on sale at the grocery store or buying an expensive item that I don’t really need but want nonetheless. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional splurge, if I had saved that money instead of spending it, I would be in a much better financial position now.
While I didn’t technically do this wrong, it was a mistake in that I should have spent more time learning about personal finance earlier on. After all, the sooner you learn what to do when it comes to finances–whether that means maxing out retirement accounts, investing wisely in low-fee index funds and diversifying your portfolio, or even making use of credit cards and other debt products responsibly–the greater opportunity you have for growing wealth over time.
I’ve written about this before, but I really wish I had learned about cryptocurrency sooner. Not only could I have made some serious profits by investing early on, but I would have also had a better understanding of the technology behind it–something that would come in handy now as crypto is becoming more mainstream.
This is more of a recent regret, but I really wish I had been tracking my net worth all along. Not only would it have given me a better idea of where I stood financially, but it would also have motivated me to save and invest more aggressively.
Another recent regret is not having a clear plan for the future. While I’ve always been a pretty goal-oriented person, I didn’t really start thinking about my long-term financial goals until recently. If I had done so sooner, I could have been better prepared–both financially and emotionally–for whatever life throws my way.
This is perhaps my biggest regret of all. For too long, I was too afraid to ask for help when it came to my finances. Whether it was not knowing who to turn to for advice or simply being too proud to admit that I needed help, this was a mistake that ended up costing me dearly. If I had only asked for help sooner, I could have avoided making so many of these other mistakes in the first place.
I’ve made some mistakes and would change a few things if I could. But the biggest mistake that I regret is trying to keep up with the Joneses, as it’s caused me to spend more money than I really can afford. This has resulted in me having sizable credit card debt and not saving enough for retirement or my children’s education. If I had been more focused on myself and what makes me happy instead of worrying about what others might think of me, then perhaps my financial situation wouldn’t be so bad.
This is a mistake that I’m still trying to correct. I used to buy things even if I knew they were bad for me, whether it was an expensive pair of shoes or a designer handbag. But these days, I’m trying to be more mindful about my purchases and only buy things that I truly need and will use.
One of the biggest regrets that I have is not saving enough money. I wish I had started saving sooner and been more disciplined with my spending. If I had done so, then perhaps I wouldn’t be in such a tight financial situation now.
One of the biggest financial mistakes that I made was not having an emergency fund in place. This led to me being unprepared for unexpected expenses and often had to rely on credit cards or loans to get by. If I had only saved up a small amount of money each month, then perhaps I wouldn’t have been so stressed out when unexpected
Another mistake that I regret is not taking money seriously before. I didn’t pay attention to my finances or take the time to learn more about savings and investments. If I had done so, then perhaps it wouldn’t have taken me so long to realize the importance of saving and investing for the future.
I think the biggest mistake that I’ve made with my money is thinking that spending it was always the right thing to do. If I had realized sooner that saving and investing is what’s truly important, then perhaps I would have been more focused on those things instead of just fretting over how much money I could buy myself. In hindsight, this has really cost me when it comes to my finances.
As someone who loves to shop and owns way too many things, I regret not learning about minimalism earlier. If I had realized sooner that less is more when it comes to possessions, then perhaps I wouldn’t have acquired so much stuff or spent so much money on things that I didn’t really need.
I wish that I had done more research before traveling so that I could have avoided some of the mistakes and regrets that I experienced. Traveling is a wonderful way to experience new cultures, but it can also be expensive and cause you to rack up debt if you’re not careful. If I had researched my travel destinations ahead of time and planned out my trip more strategically, then perhaps I wouldn’t have been caught off-guard by all the additional expenses and would have saved more along the way.
Another mistake that I made was not setting boundaries with my money. I used to allow myself to spend freely and didn’t think twice about it. But now, I’m trying to be more mindful about my spending and only allow myself to purchase things that I really need or want. This has helped me to save more money and avoid debt in the long run.
I regret not talking to my partner about money sooner. Money is such a sensitive and personal topic, but it’s also something that can cause tension in relationships if we’re not open about our financial goals and plans. If I had been more forthcoming about my finances with my partner, then perhaps we could have avoided some of the misunderstandings and disagreements that we’ve had over the years.
Finally, I wish that I had handled my money better when I was younger. If I’d been more disciplined with my spending or focused on saving earlier in life, then perhaps things wouldn’t be so tight financially now. But as they say, hindsight is always 20/20! Thankfully, there’s still plenty of time to turn things around and start being more careful with my money. After all, it’s never too late to learn from your mistakes and make better decisions in the future.
One mistake that I’ve made is not getting comfortable talking about money sooner. Money is such a sensitive topic, and it can be easy to avoid discussing it out of fear of causing tension or disagreement. However, not talking about money can actually lead to more problems down the road. If I had been more open and honest about my finances with my partner earlier on, we might have been able to avoid some of the misunderstandings and arguments that we’ve had over money. Going forward, I’m resolved to be more comfortable with talking about money so that we can make better financial decisions as a team.
One regret that I have is not learning how to negotiate salary sooner. Negotiating a higher salary can be an intense and even intimidating process, especially if you’re just starting out in your career. However, it’s important to remember that you deserve to be fairly compensated for the work that you do. If I had learned how to negotiate my salary earlier on, then perhaps I wouldn’t have been taken advantage of or underpaid by my employers over the years. Going forward, I’m committed to finding ways to improve my negotiation skills so that I can better advocate for myself and earn what I deserve.
Another regret that I have is not asking for a raise sooner. It can be difficult to broach the topic of salary with your employer, especially if you’re worried about seeming focused on the money rather than the work itself. However, it’s important to remember that your hard work and dedication deserve to be compensated. If I had asked for a raise earlier, then perhaps I could have avoided some of the financial struggles that I’ve experienced in recent years. Going forward, I’m committed to finding ways to become more confident and assertive when negotiating my salary so that I can better provide for myself and my family.
I regret not being more confident about my money choices sooner. For a long time, I allowed myself to be influenced by other people’s opinions on what I should do with my money. But now, I’m trying to be more mindful about my spending and only allow myself to purchase things that I really need or want. This has helped me to save more money and avoid debt in the long run.
Another mistake that I made was not sticking to a budget sooner. It’s so easy to overspend when you don’t have a plan for your finances. But once I started tracking my income and expenses, it became much easier to stick to a budget and make better decisions about my money.
This includes everything between paying off debt to investing in more school. I regret not taking more time to invest in myself. I’m trying to be more mindful about this now, but I definitely wish I had started sooner.
I regret not starting a side hustle sooner. If I had started one when I was first starting out in my career, I would have had more time to let it grow and potentially make more money.
Overall, whether it’s tracking your net worth or asking for help when you need it most, focusing on these key financial habits can help you take control of your money and build a bright future for yourself and your family.
In the end, though, I know that making mistakes is part of life. As long as we learn from these mistakes and try to avoid repeating them in the future, we will grow stronger both financially and emotionally over
While there’s no way to go back and change the past, hopefully, by sharing my own financial regrets, you can avoid making some of the same mistakes–and set yourself up for a more prosperous future.
Remember, we all make mistakes – the key is to learn from them and not repeat them in the future. By sharing our financial regrets, we can help each other become more financially savvy and avoid making the same mistakes in our own lives. Thanks for reading!
I hope by sharing these regrets with you today, some of which are specific to me and others that seem to be shared by just about everyone these days (at least if they’re being honest), that you can avoid making some of the same financial mistakes in your own life. If you have any regrets of your own that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below – let’s get a discussion going!
What is your biggest financial regret? Let us know in the comments below!
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