Someone recently started a thread on Reddit asking “What is your biggest financial mistake/regret?” I posted a couple articles on our biggest mistakes in the past and so I perused the Reddit thread to see if our misery had some company.
Here were the responses – in order of how often people mentioned them:
Spent too much on college/an impractical major (6)
- I was surprised that this was the top financial regret, as investing in your education is generally a good thing, but many Redditors are younger and still dealing with the cost of college.
Mistimed the real estate market/bought too much (5)
- Pretty much anyone who bought a house in the early-2000s probably had this experience. It’s amazing how many of these commenters were in California!
Expensive divorce (3)
- One respondent has been given this advice: “Instead of an expensive wedding, just find a woman who hates you and buy her a house”
Stayed too long in bad paying job (3)
- There is a lot of inertia to being in a job and looking for a new one requires a lot of work (and can be emotionally taxing). Still, people often get ahead by finding out what they are worth to other employers (or starting their own companies).
Starting saving too late (3)
- This one is one that millions of Americans realize each year. Retirement savings are less than half of what experts say is needed to reach a comfortable retirement.
Large/luxury car loans (3)
- Cars are about the most expensive depreciating asset that people make. The article I wrote on this suggested fancy cars can cost people 4 extra years of work. That doesn’t include the interest you might pay to buy fancy cars.
Bad individual stock pick (2)
- Someone wrote they “sold Apple stock figuring that Steve Jobs was out of tricks after the iMac”. We’ve got beat on company stock a few times, but generally shy away from individual stock picking.
Afraid to invest in stock market after the 2008 crash (2)
- That would be quite a bull run to miss out on since the S&P500 has risen about 400% since it bottomed out in early 2009.
Not buying Bitcoin at 75 cents (2)
- This one is a little like regretting you didn’t win the lottery. Still, many people were interested in Bitcoin early on but didn’t buy in. (BC is @ $6,300 today)
Some of the other comments …
- High fee mutual funds
- Buying luxuries on credit
- Making 401k withdrawals while working
- Having a smoking habit
- Having a gambling habit
- Making loans to family members
Which of these financial regrets have you run yourself into? Which ones might be missing from the list these people experienced?
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