If you are reading a lot about personal finances and money, you probably of come across a few financial bloggers. Me being one of them!
Many have started their personal finance blogs to share their stories, connect with others, or turn it into a nice side hustle business.
Regardless, many of the financial bloggers out there have unique backgrounds, interests, and reasons for their pursuit of improving their financial health.
Yet, I was curious to what some of their top money regrets might be. Whether it is something with savings, budgeting, debt, investing, or even career wise that may have affected their salary.
Financial Bloggers Share Their Top Money Regrets
In the below article, a few financial bloggers (including me at the end!) share what their top money regrets are and why they chose that as something they look back on.
Andrew, The Wealthy Nickel
My top money regret is not getting started sooner. This has been a regret in various stages in the past, and I’m sure will continue into the future.
For example, I regret not investing more money into my 401k as a young employee just out of college. I graduated in 2006, and while I put in enough money to get the company match plus a little extra, I made a good salary and could have contributed more than that to max it out or at least get close.
Imagine what maxing out a 401k in the 2007-2009 timeframe could have done for my portfolio 10 years later!
Similarly, I got interested in real estate in 2013 and bought my first rental property. While I’ve had a great run, acquiring several properties that have appreciated handsomely over the last several years, I regret not starting sooner.
If I had started buying rental properties in 2008 or 2009, I could have at least doubled the size of my portfolio and increased my passive cash flow.
All that said, I don’t like to dwell too much on regrets. I’m glad I have the opportunity to contribute to my 401k now, and I’m glad I got into real estate and accumulated a small portfolio of properties.
Both have added to my net worth and financial security. I like to live by the old Chinese proverb says, ” the best time to plant an oak tree is 20 years ago, but the second best time is now”. It’s never too late to start, even if you regret not starting sooner.
Jarek, Time in the Market
My top money regret is simply not tracking my savings and expenses earlier. I started to do it in 2015 but until then I was just kind of winging it.
That worked to a point but I didn’t start seeing impressive growth in my portfolio until after I started tracking expenses monthly.
Psst…Make sure to track your spending and net worth with something like Personal Capital. It’s free to use, you can sign up here.
The problem with just winging it is that you really have no idea what’s going on with your money. You think you’re on the right track but you don’t realize how much better things could be if you made some small changes.
One of the first things I noticed when I started tracking my expenses was how much money I was spending on stuff that didn’t matter. It was an
I stopped buying things that I got 0 value out of because that value is better spent on my future via savings. I’ve improved my savings rate immensely due to this change.
I still don’t follow a budget but I can look at my monthly expense reports and see if I’m spending money in the right places. It’s too bad I started to do this so late but better late than never! In the end, I don’t dwell too much on past mistakes since those are the things we learn from.
I’m sure I’m doing something today that I will realize is silly in two years and make some changes to improve my financial status. It’s important to not hold money on too high a pedestal and still enjoy life while you save for the future and I work every day to walk that fine balance between the two. I think I’m in a good spot now and have improved a lot in the past few years but I’m still learning new stuff every day!
I first learned how to budget in the 2nd grade. As a poor kid whose family was adopted by the local Rotary Club, I was taken by bus to the local Walmart and given $50 to purchase gifts for my family of six.
You’d think I would have taken note of how my parents lived and learned from their mistakes. And to some degree, I did.
However, when I was in my mid-20’s, I found myself in the midst of a nasty divorce after moving my then-husband and our daughter halfway across the country for a “fresh start”. At the time, I worked for a local bank in Macon, Georgia, and grossed a mere $30,000 a year.
I left my ex and found an apartment that (kind-of) wasn’t too ghetto. Because I was dealing with so many emotional issues as a result of an abusive relationship and divorce, I turned to drinking…every other weekend when it was ‘his weekend’.
I wasn’t keeping track of my finances, and I wound up borrowing from my overdraft protection at the bank I worked at (to the tune of $1000) and taking out a payday loan.
The last straw was when I came home to an eviction notice. I called my grandma in tears and explained that I had messed up bad and needed help. She walked me through my budget, and she gave me the money to climb out of the hole.
From that moment on, I’ve never touched overdraft protection or a payday lender. The thing is…I knew better. I was a financial professional working in the banking industry, but I was out of control. If you’ve ever faced such financial difficulties, I can empathize with you. That’s why I’m so passionate about what I do!
Fred, Money With A Purpose
My biggest money regret is pouring money into our son thinking we could help him overcome his addiction to heroin. Knowing what we now know, it was exactly the wrong thing to do. It was not helping, but enabling.
The amount is embarrassing and cost us dearly. We’re still recovering from those decisions. There is a silver lining in the story. Our son has been sober for over 8 months now. It’s not because of our efforts, but his.
Robert from RealMoneyRobert.com
My biggest money regret was taking an early withdraw out of my 401k in an effort to pay off debt. My company was purchased by another much larger company at the beginning of 2013, and at the time I had roughly $14,000 saved in my 401k account.
Not a bad start for a 24-year-old at the time.
When my company was purchased, I had 2 options. I could either take the money out if the 401k as an early withdraw and incur all of the penalties associated with that, or I could roll the money over into the new company’s 401k account.
So, of course undecided to take the early withdraw, incurred the 10% early withdraw penalty, and also had to pay income taxes on that amount as well. My intentions were good at the time, as I had used the money to pay of our car loan at the time.
I netted just under $10,000 and that was just enough to cover my car loan and pay the entire thing off, which was great at the time.
However, what I didn’t take into consideration was the opportunity costs of taking that early withdraw. If I would have left that money in my 401k, it would have been worth about $261,000 by the time I was ready to retire!!
Not to mention I had a subsequent bankruptcy filing while I went through a divorce shortly after that. The car loan would have been included in that bankruptcy, and I would still have that money in my 401k. So, due to a variety of factors, withdrawing that money out of my 401k is my biggest financial regret.
I hope to educate people about these types of mistakes so that others won’t make the same mistakes I did!
Camilo, from The Finance Twins
Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money. After our dad died when I was 7 years old, our mom always struggled to make ends meet. But everything changed when I got into the college of my dreams.
After spending countless all-nighters studying for classes and preparing for job interviews I was able to get a coveted job in NYC as an investment banker on Wall Street. Being poor my whole life, I simply wanted to find the best paying job I could find.
In my first year full year of working after college I made over $100,000. I could hardly believe it when I saw my first paycheck. It sure beat the $6.25 per hour I made cleaning cars at a local car dealership in high school.
But having all of this money seemingly overnight meant that I had very little time to learn how to manage my money. And this led to some terrible money decisions.
You see, when I first got to Manhattan I lived in the livingroom of an apartment I shared with 2 friends and paid $1,050 a month. Coming from growing up in Minnesota I could hardly believe that $1,050 per month wasn’t even enough for an actual bedroom, but I was happy because I was paying less than anyone else I knew to live in the heart of Manhattan.
But after bonus season rolled around, I had decided that I needed to move out so I could live on my own. I chalk this lapse in judgement to sleep deprivation from working until 2 or 3 in the morning every day.
But living on my own in a studio in Manhattan meant that my rent shot up to $2,300 overnight. Which came out to $27,600 per year after taxes. This is roughly $40,000 in gross wages that went directly to my landlord every year. Worse yet, I lived there for two years before I came to my senses. That’s $80,000 down the drain (closer to $60,000 once you take into account the fact that I had to live somewhere).
After realizing how much money I had unnecessarily wasted, I immediately moved in with a friend and cut my rent bill nearly in half. Suffice it to say that I NEVER made that same mistake again.
Michael, Your Money Geek
My biggest money regret is being too trusting of others and not sticking up for myself.
Several years ago I bartered some work with a contractor, I was supposed to do some planning for his son, in exchange for a sizable discount on some concrete work. I completed my work as we had agreed.
However, the contractor’s son decided last minute he didn’t want the plan, despite the plan not only being exactly as they requested, but I was also able to exceed their expectations.
Needless to say, bartering deals that
I find as time goes on, every time I go above and beyond to make a customer happy or for someone, I can’t help but think about that poorly constructed basement deal.
Todd, Invested Wallet
If you have been on this blog or read my start here page, you know I’ve made a bunch of personal finance mistakes. While there is always some regret from past decisions, I also realize how much of a learning moment they were for my future.
That being said, one of my top money regrets during my lifetime is not understanding investing and 401ks sooner. The reason I choose this money regret is because I left thousands of dollars on the table for my future.
When I got my first big boy job in 2010 after graduating college, the company I worked for offered a 401k after 6 months of employment. I had no clue what that meant, but my parents told me its for your retirement and that I should sign up.
I did and contributed 2% because I didn’t want to lose any money from my $30,000/year salary and had no clue how it worked.
But I wasn’t contributing enough for a company match (free money) nor was very much going to the 401k. Factor in compound interest for the almost 5 years I was there, I missed on a lot of gains and extra money.
Sure, it wasn’t like $100k, but that extra compounded to when I retire really adds up.
Looking For More Goods?
I wrote a post about some of the other personal finance mistakes I made and why I no longer regret them. You can read that post here.