My biggest financial regrets

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed today when I came across this post by WealthWellDone – it inspired me to write something along the same lines, but from an entirely different perspective.

This is a post about the financial decisions I regret the most.

  1. Not saving money during university.

This may sound crazy to some of you given the cost of university in the US and other countries. In Canada, it’s a lot less expensive, and I’ll tell you a little secret. I got a full ride. Full scholarships, with money left over after room and board. And I didn’t save a penny. In fact, I managed to graduate with a modest amount of debt! I really wish that I had saved a bit of money and I DEFINITELY wish I hadn’t graduated with any debt. I had a lot of meagre years after graduation and carrying that around was a PAIN.

It’s not so much that I didn’t save that bothers me. At most, I could have probably saved about $5,000 over the course of five years. It’s that it wasn’t a conscious choice and I didn’t adopt the habit of living within my means early.

Basically, I’m annoyed with myself for not taking full advantage of the opportunity and privilege that I had.

2. Buying a car after university.

This was just plain laziness and refusal on my part to figure out how to navigate the bus system, or bike to and from work. It cost me $10,000, was a great car, and definitely helped me get around, but man. What a waste of money. (And that doesn’t include gas or maintenance.)

3. Not increasing my mortgage payments as soon as debt was paid off.

I’m not sure what I was thinking. We paid off our debt a couple of years ago, and really should have increased our mortgage payments right away. I guess I figured it wouldn’t make a huge difference in the long term? Which is true…unless you do it every year. Then it makes ALL the difference. I’ve corrected this last one: we increased our payments this year and will also make some lump sum payments. We’re gonna slay the dragon.

To balance it out, let’s talk about the things that I don’t regret: I don’t regret any money we’ve spent on travel, or buying a house with less than 20% down (I know, that will be SHOCKING to some of you).

Do you have financial regrets? I’d love to know what they are. For anyone out there reading this that is making (or has made) these mistakes, fear not. They’re not the end of the world. I just wish I’d had better habits when I was younger. In the end, we’re doing just fine, so there’s still hope for us and everyone else who has made similar mistakes.

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