Financial Regrets That I Wish I Could Go Back and Change

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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.

I started working his baby steps and had a $1,000 emergency fund.  Over time it grew and helped me pay some expensive medical expenses when I had back surgery two years later.

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?

This post includes a list of financial regrets that I wish I could go back and change. It includes financial decisions that weren't the best. Learn from me!





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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!

4 thoughts on “Financial Regrets That I Wish I Could Go Back and Change”

  1. Don’t beat yourself up about your education. You made the best choice you could at the time. I’m in healthcare and with three hospital closures in our area in the past four years, there are no jobs for radiology techs (including ultrasound techs) in our area. Even RN’s are having trouble getting jobs in our area unless they’re willing to do night shift.

    1. Wow! Three hospital closures in four years? There’s only one hospital in my area, but a lot of the nearby towns have a medical clinic. I’ve only ever heard of one of the clinics closing down, and if my memory is right, it just got absorbed by one of the bigger clinics close-by.
      I always thought RN’s could get hired anywhere and they’re always in high demand. It’s interesting that it’s the opposite (at least where you live).
      Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it!

  2. Its one thing to find Dave Ramsey and its another thing to follow his advice. Kudos to you for finding him and putting his principles into place at age 27. I just graduated from FPU and there were a number of people in the class much older than 27. Some were in their mid late 50’s, others in their late 60’s. Their number one comment – “I wish I knew this information in my 20’s.”

    You know what you know now because of some of the mistakes you made. So, kudos to you for learning from your mistakes, moving on and doing better. As Maya Angelou said (and often quoted by Dr. Phil) – “You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.”


    In December of my senior year (HS), my parents moved to California. My dad was in the Navy. I wanted to stay in the same private school so I lived with my aunt. I worked a lot but only made like $4-5 hour (another mistake). I got my first credit card – Sears! Then came – Discover! I would go BUY things because I was bored and probably a bit depressed. I remember buying a camera and then some boots. I didn’t really wear boots but it was the new fad for many. Before I knew it I was $1,000 in debt and it grew.

    Back to the $4-5 hour… what a waste. I worked at Safeway Grocery for 3-3.5 years. I was working all the time. I started out at like $2.30 hour. Pitiful. Imagine having to work an hour to purchase a gallon of milk (maybe). I should have done what I had done before.. CUT grass. There was a guy also on my b-ball team, he had 2 cars, a trailer mowers.. I BET he was making in 1 day what I was making in a week. In school, your job is school.. focus on that part of your life. If you want a job do something that will not BOG you down.. get one you can actually make some money.

    When I was in the Navy I had purchased a new Ford Extended cab truck. The last few years, I had the money taken out of my Navy Credit Union account. After it was paid off, the money kept going there so that when I got out of the Navy, I had like $6,000 (Yeah James!). Sadly, that’s all I had after 6 years in the Navy.. maybe another $1,000 or so in my bank or money given me upon getting out.

    I loved the truck. I remember I did not take care of the brakes so it cost me like $600 to fix them instead of the typical $100-200 (stay on top of car maintenance). Then a transmission cost me $1200 or so. I probably charged those things. So, I had $2000 more into a paid off truck. But being single, I felt I needed something new so I bought a sporty Dodge Avenger basically giving away my truck in the process. I “think” I got like $2,000 on my truck. Mistake.

    My background is in Nuclear Power. STUPID James! Leave the Navy and go work Nuclear Power .. I have friends making $150-200K year…. imagine being 24 making $100,000 year (non-doctor).. Do that for 10-15 years and RETIRE! Argghhhh… Get a good education in a field that will pay you well.. and then retire… earlier the better. Get involved in worthy things.

    I could WRITE a book.. maybe I should… ha ha!

    If you want to be a sonagramist.. WHY NOT GO BACK! If I recall you are making like 4500 month.. and you said they make 79,000 or 6580… 2000 more a month or 24K a year. If I could do it all over again.. I would have been a doctor. HIGH DEMAND. GOOD MONEY… RETIRE EARLY.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Wow James! You could write a book! Thank you for sharing.

      About five years ago I actually did enroll for Sonography at the local Technical College. I changed my mind at the last minute and cancelled. Something in my gut told me it was wrong. I decided I was done going back to school. I’m happy with that decision at that point in my life. I wouldn’t mind taking some classes after I’m FI. When I can enjoy the class a little more and not get stressed out with trying to work and go to school.

      I love the quote from Maya Angelou. She’s one of my favorite authors!

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