Part of why I became a financial coach was to help others avoid the many money mistakes I made through the years.
There were many more than five, but here are the 5 WORST money mistakes I’ve made (in no particular order):
1. Early withdrawal from a retirement fund AND a pension fund.
At one point in our life, we stopped and looked at the amount of money we had in our retirement account. It was easily four figures (haha), so we wanted it. To us, it looked like so much! We were young and financially strapped. Instead of a shift in our spending, we took out our retirement monies.
Yep, we got hit with the penalties AND the taxes. But what we didn’t realize then was the time and opportunity costs.
If we had left our retirement money alone, it would easily be in the high five figures now. And that’s without any other contributions. Compound interest is powerful!
2. Not budgeting on paper
We used to make so little money that I thought we didn’t need to make a budget.
If we would have written a budget and accounted for all bills and discretionary spending, we wouldn’t have eaten out so much.
Since those early years, we’ve budgeted each and every month. Without a budget, we would not have been able to pay for college tuition for our four children. As you likely suspected, another mistake we made was not saving for college.
If you don’t know where to start, contact us for a free call.
3. Not making savings a line item in future budgets
Related to the previous mistake. Even when we had the beginning of a budget, we NEVER put savings as a line item on our budget. Our idea of a budget was to write down our bills, and whatever remained was how much we could spend on ourselves.
There was a lot of consuming in those years. Lots of eating out.
Thankfully, after hiring a financial coach, we learned that we really needed to “pay ourselves first” in the form of savings at the beginning of every budget cycle. That one habit has been life-changing!
4. Considering monthly payment amount over total cost
I remember vividly going to buy our first car (read buy car with monthly payments). We did not even look at the price of the car! In fact, when we sat down with the salesperson, we told him what we could afford to pay each month.
How naive we were!
We didn’t realize that dealerships can make the monthly payment be whatever you need it to be. Just draw the TERM of the loan out more! So instead of getting a four year loan, we were given a five year loan! Basically, we paid an extra year of those payments we said we could afford.
And we came out of that sale thinking we were the winners!
5. Saying “we can’t afford it” way too often
There came a time when we did make regular budgets. We did save. We paid all our bills on time. We contributed to retirement once again.
But for some reason, we developed a real scarcity mindset.
We started saying, “We can’t afford it” a lot.
I mean, so much so that our grown children called us out. And we made an effort to change our perspective.
We realized that all our money had been told where to go. We really did have “enough.” In fact, we really did have MORE than enough. And we made a concerted effort to eliminate the words “we can’t afford it.” Instead, we could say, “we are making a choice to wait on that purchase” OR “we are focusing on savings this month, but maybe we can put that on next month’s budget.”
Do you have money mistakes you’ve made in your life? We’d love to hear from you. Better yet, we’d love to work with you to avoid FUTURE money mistakes. Reach out to us, and we will help.