I’m really happy with my life right now. I have a home, a great boyfriend, an adorable kitty cat, a job that pays me well, friends, family. I could go on and on.
But looking back at the choices I made 10-15 years ago just makes me cringe. What was I thinking! I wish I could go back and change a few things, but alas, I can’t. I will have to life with my financial regrets forever.
How many of us would love to go back and make different choices?
Here is what I would do differently if I could go back and make some changes.
I would have gone to a Technical College instead of a four-year college.
It would have been cheaper. I would have been done with school sooner. I would have found a job quicker.
There are many choices to major in at a Technical College. I wish I would have gone into the medical field. Sonography is just one of the many interesting degrees that is offered. Median salary for Sonographers- $79,000! I’d be happy with that!
What I did instead was spend six and a half years at a four-year college accumulating more and more student loans because I kept changing my major! For some reason I felt that I needed that Bachelor’s degree. $26,000 of student loan debt later I received that Bachelor’s degree. I’m not convinced it was worth it. This financial regret would end up being the majority of my debt.
I wish I would have stayed away from credit cards.
My first credit card came in the mail when I was a teenager. I think I was 18, but I’m not sure. I started charging stuff to that credit card. Small items like a tank of gas, or a cute outfit. When I got my first statement in the mail I was surprised by the amount. Then I did something stupid that I really wish I could go back and change. I only paid the minimum amount. Doh!
Over the next 10 years I kept paying the minimum amount. Eventually I ended up with around $10,000 worth of credit card debt. I had 6 credit cards to my name and they were all maxed out or close to being maxed out. Talk about stress!
Credit card companies should really have some sort of financial test that one needs to pass before they mail out that credit card. Some sort of test that proves you won’t be completely stupid with their card. A test that proves you’re a responsible adult.
Wouldn’t that be the day! Credit card companies actually cared more about their customers than their profits!
I wish I wouldn’t have co-signed for an ex-boyfriends pick-up truck!
This is one financial regret that could have easily come back to bite me.
One of my ex-boyfriends was an alcoholic who was horrible with money and couldn’t hold a job. I stayed in that relationship for far too long. But, you live and learn, right?
Anyways, when we were still dating he convinced me to co-sign for a pick-up truck. He said he would make all the payments. He was planning on using it for his business that he was starting. I put my name on the loan.
A year later we broke up. He had kept his promise throughout our relationship. I didn’t have to pay a single dollar for that pick-up. After we broke up I cut all ties with this man. I didn’t want him in my life at all.
I was constantly worried that he would screw me over, and I would get a collections letter in the mail for the pick-up. That never happened. Thank God!
About a year after we broke up I did receive a check from the bank that handled the loan. My ex had overpaid for the pick-up when he sold it and for some reason the loan company sent the check to me! It wasn’t a huge amount. If I remember correctly it was somewhere around $20.
Considering I paid for the rent, the majority of the groceries, insurance, and an assortment of other expenses for him when we lived together, I cashed the check with a smile on my face.
I learned a valuable lesson with co-signing for someone who’s irresponsible with money. I was stressed and worried that I would end up paying for that vehicle. Never again would I do that.
I wish I would have started an emergency fund earlier in life.
I didn’t start saving money in an emergency fund until I was 27. That’s when I found Dave Ramsey and my financial life slowly started gaining traction and headed in the right direction.
By then I had gotten out of credit card debt thanks to my parents generosity. Since I had quit using credit cards I cash flowed all the hospital and PT bills as they came due. I don’t remember for sure, but I’m pretty sure I set up a payment plan with the hospital as I didn’t have that much money saved up!
Truth be told, I had a small amount of savings in my early 20’s. At most it was around $1,200. I was saving it so one day I could take a long road trip by myself and see the United States. Then I met the alcoholic boyfriend and it slowly disappeared because he needed beer money.
How is that for a sad financial regret?
Today I have my emergency fund with Capital One 360. Their referral program is on hold at the moment, so this is NOT a referral link. I’ve just been really happy with them and think everyone needs a savings account! I’ve been banking with them for about 10 years now and their site is super easy to use. If you’re looking to bank online, check them out!
If I had a healthy emergency fund or savings account in my twenties then I wouldn’t have the next financial regret.
I wish I wouldn’t have bought vehicles with loans.
Luckily, I was always pretty smart about my car loans. Every car loan I’ve ever had has been paid off early. Plus, I’ve always bought used cars and the most expensive loan I’ve ever had on a car was around $8,000. It could have been a lot worse.
But, now that I’m better about money and have a savings account set up specifically for a new (to me) car, I’ll never take out another car loan.
I’ve become smarter (financially) about cars. I know I’m going to need a new car soon, so I’m saving up for it. This is something I was never able to do when I was younger. I often wonder if I had a better job in my twenties and had the ability to save for a new car, would I? Or would I still take out a car loan? I like to believe I would have saved up for a new car. 🙂
I’m glad this is all in my past.
It’s weird to think about, but if I would have taken a different path back then I probably wouldn’t have met Mr. Frugal Turtle. I met him at work, so if I would have majored in Sonography and ended up working at a hospital or clinic somewhere, we wouldn’t be together.
For all the financial regrets I have, I’m incredibly grateful for them as well. I’ve learned a lot from them.
It makes me wonder what I’ll look back at in ten years and regret that I’m doing today. Maybe that’s how we should base decisions we make everyday. Think ahead ten years from now and think “Will I regret this?”
I want to know what some of your financial regrets are! Please share in the comments below. Maybe someone can learn from your mistakes!