39 Financial Gurus Share Their Worst Money Mistakes

financial advice worst mistakes

It’s always a great motivator when you hear from people who are now successfully on the right track after their previous failures and mistakes. We try so hard to compare ourselves to other people and where they are now, but we often forget that many of them started off in the place we are currently in.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that will show you how to avoid the exact mistakes these experts detail here.

I hope this post allows you to stop being so hard on yourself for mistakes that have gotten you to where you are today.


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Credit Card Financial Mistakes


john and david from debt free guysDavid and John www.DebtFreeGuys.com

“Our biggest mistake was not understanding how credit cards work before using them. We didn’t understand how purchasing things on credit today meant we were borrowing from our tomorrow. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize this until we accrued $51,000 worth of credit card debt. So, at the time most of our friends were buying their first homes, we were living in a basement apartment. Luckily, this is when we had our realization that we were financial messes and we set on a path to improving our financial situation.

From our experience, many people confuse small monthly payments and even cash in their account to mean the debt they have doesn’t affect their finances. This is why we talk about the need to be money conscious. Being money conscious means understanding how everything affects your finances. This means understanding how paying up to 20% on credit means everything you buy costs 20% or more if your credit cards aren’t paid off every month. With this knowledge, you can better manage your money and achieve your financial goals.” 'Purchasing things on credit today meant we were borrowing from our tomorrow.' @DebtFreeGuys Click To Tweet


jason vitug from phroogalJason Vitug www.Phroogal.com

“My biggest money mistake was turning available credit into long term debt. My lack of understanding of how credit cards truly worked and my horrible relationship with money had me in a downward spiral. I amassed upwards to $15,000+ in credit card debt alone. To make things worse, I had the opportunity to consolidate my credit card debt into a loan with a fixed and manageable repayment term. However, I ended up using the freed up credit doubling down on my debt.

What I learned was that credit and creditors weren’t the problem. I was the biggest contributing factor to my financial situation. Credit is a tool like a hammer. A hammer can be used to tear down a home, but it could be used to build too. Credit could be used to build or destroy the life I was creating.” I was the biggest contributing factor to my financial situation @Phroogal Click To Tweet


money crashersDavid Bakke www.MoneyCrashers.com

“The biggest money mistake I ever made was falling into severe credit card debt, which happened to me in the first few years after I graduated college. It was compounded by the fact that I had student loan debts to pay off as well. I made a lot of really bad spending decisions and by the time all was said and done, the majority of my credit cards had been closed for going over the limit or non-payment, and I had wrecked my credit score.

It took me several years to get out of that awful situation. What I learned from it is that you should never spend more money than you make, that budgeting your finances is important (even if you don’t have credit card debts) and that every dollar you put on a credit card does in fact have to be paid back, with interest if you carry a balance. I also learned that if you can’t afford to pay for something in full by the time the credit card statement arrives in the mail, then you just can’t afford it.”

Every dollar you put on a credit card does in fact have to be paid back @MoneyCrashers Click To Tweet


ashley jacobs from wisebread.comAshley Jacobs www.WiseBread.com

“One of the biggest money mistakes I’ve made is being afraid to use credit cards. My parents encouraged me to get a credit card in college but I held off until after graduation because it didn’t make sense to me to have a credit card when I didn’t have a solid job. Once I finally got a card, I was extremely hesitant to use it because I had heard way too many horror stories about people going into debt due to credit cards.

Since length of credit history and utilization plays a part in your credit score, waiting so long to get a credit card and use it has impacted my credit score. While I have a good score because I’ve been using my credit responsibly, I wish I had trusted my money management abilities sooner so that my credit history would be longer and my score would be higher.”

I wish I had trusted my money management abilities sooner @WiseBread Click To Tweet


eric j nisallEric J. Nisall www.EricNisall.com

“When I was young, my parents taught me responsibility and the value of money by making me earn the money for my “wants”. They also stressed the importance of saving for future wants that I may not even be aware of at a given point in time.

Somewhere in my early-mid 20’s I lost sight of those lessons, and just spent…not only what I had, but what I didn’t have yet (ie: charging more than I could afford to pay on my credit cards). I enjoyed being the “the man” who had all the toys and spent money freely on everyone. Sometime around 26, I realized that I wasn’t benefitting from all of the “stuff”, and the line between the people who I could count as friends and those who only wanted to be around me for my spending habits started to blur badly. That’s when I first started to develop my “I could care less about what others say or do” attitude and from there simply started to do what was in my own best interest while re-learning that there has to be a balance between living in the here-and-now while at the same time planning for the future.”

I started to develop my “I could care less about what others say or do” attitude @EricNisall Click To Tweet


joe saul sehy from stacking benjaminsJoe Saul-Sehy www.StackingBenjamins.com

My biggest mistake? I buried myself in credit card debt immediately. It was my freshman year of college at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. I walked into the student union and American Express had a table. In hindsight….American Express? …at a military college? How the hell were we going to pay back any money we borrowed on the card? We couldn’t have a job. It didn’t make sense. But that was hindsight. At the time, the only thing running through my mind was, “This sounds awesome.”

I applied and (of course) was accepted. When the card came I took my friends all out to dinner at an expensive restaurant. Then I went to a high end store at the mall and bought a sweater (I was in South Carolina, where you’d need a sweater maybe twice a year AND at—again—at a military college where I couldn’t wear it). When the bill came, I don’t know why I was shocked. It was also only at that moment that I started to wonder how I’d ever pay the bill. I had a great solution: call mom.

My mom did me the biggest favor ever AND helped me ruin my credit when she told me to “figure it out on my own.” I lost the card, wrecked my ability to borrow, and made life hard for myself for the next several years. Expensive lesson? Hell yes…but like a baby touching a stove, it helped me stay away from those problems in the future.

My biggest mistake? I buried myself in credit card debt immediately. @StackingBenjamins Click To Tweet


latisha styles from young financesLaTisha Styles www.YoungFinances.com

“My biggest money mistake was not paying attention to the fees associated with withdrawing cash from a credit card. When I got my first card at the age of 18, I used it to shop and when I needed cash, I made withdrawals at the atm. I had no idea that the interest is charged immediately. That mistake among many others with credit cards, contributed to my debt that grew to over $22,000. It took three years of disciplined payments before I finally became debt free.”

It took three years of disciplined payments before I finally became debt free @YoungFinances Click To Tweet


Grant Baldwin www.GrantBaldwin.com

“I think the biggest financial mistake I’ve made was getting into credit card debt. When my wife and I got married, we had about $30k in combined debt and it left us handcuffed. It took us about 2 years to pay it all off and we’ve never gone back. When you don’t have credit card debt, you have options. You’re not trapped or stuck.”

When you don’t have credit card debt, you have options. @GrantBaldwin Click To Tweet


Student Loan Financial Mistakes


lance cothern by money manifestoLance Cothern www.MoneyManifesto.com

Our biggest financial mistake was probably getting into so much student loan debt. My wife ended up graduating with over $80,000 in student loan debt after earning her Bachelor’s degree. Luckily, we learned that with a lot of hard work and dedication, you can make almost anything happen. We were able to pay off all $80,000 of student loan debt in less than 3 years after she graduated! Now we’ve been able to continue the momentum and build a fully stocked emergency fund while putting away a decent chunk of money for retirement. Living well below your means gives you lots of opportunities.

Living well below your means gives you lots of opportunities @Money_Manifesto Click To Tweet


casey bond go banking ratesCasey Bond www.GoBankingRates.com

My biggest money mistake was spending too much on college (I’m writing a Forbes piece on this very topic as we speak). When I was a kid, my family made it clear that in order for me to get a “good job” I needed to get a good college education. Being the overachiever I am, I thought this meant I needed to go to a prestigious private university and spend a ton of money.

Although I did get a very good education, looking back, I wish I had opted for a state college where I could have received the same degree, same knowledge – but for a fraction of the price. I could have used that money for a down payment on a house or invested it. The major lesson I learned from this mistake is that it’s important to do a cost/benefit analysis before making any major purchase or spending a significant amount of money. In the case of my college choice, I would have realized that the returns on a long-term investment would outweigh those on an overpriced degree.

It’s important to do a cost/benefit analysis before making any major purchase @Go_Casey Click To Tweet


austin netzley at yoprowealth.comAustin Netzley www.YoProWealth.com

My biggest money mistake was not being aware of the debt that I was getting myself into. Specifically, I’m talking about college. I didn’t know the type of bills that I was racking up. And then in my senior year, before I was graduating – I got my bill and saw my statements and how much debt I really had. Leading up to that point I kept asking, what kind of loans do I have? I never got the answer from my mom who was managing it. I never put in too much effort, I just expected it to be handled.

I didn’t have any clue that I would have a $72k bill coming out of college. Then I went on and asked a bunch of people what their debt was, and nobody knew. I would say that less than 5% of people are really aware of what their debt is. That’s the first step before you can fix it, is to get a real clear picture of what your current situation is. That includes what your loans are, interest rates, what the balances are, details around payoffs, etc. But you really have to get a clear picture before you fix anything, because you can’t fix what you don’t know.

That was a big learning lesson for me, was to stop evaluate the situation and from there you can identify gaps and create a strategy to be able to address it. But very few people do that first step – spending a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday and get their bills straightened up and get a clear picture of their debts.

I would say that less than 5% of people are really aware of what their debt is @AustinNetzley Click To Tweet




barbara friedbergBarbara Friedberg www.BarbaraFriedbergPersonalFinance.com

I got swindled by a very persuasive individual when I was young. Their pitch was compelling and what they were selling was engaging. And my friends bought in as well.I lost a lot of money!The takeaway, do your deep due diligence before turning money over to anyone.”

Do your deep due diligence before turning money over to anyone @barbfriedberg Click To Tweet



valerie rindValerie Rind www.ValerieRind.com

“My husband asked for a loan to cover a cash flow crunch at his start-up. Blindly, I handed over the money even though I didn’t ask about his business plan or follow up to see how he spent the money. One loan became several; in the end I lost my entire life savings, plus the marriage imploded. On the positive side, I forged new careers in personal finance and writing. A new life, a new life savings!”

I lost my entire life savings, plus the marriage...A new life, a new life savings @ValerieRind Click To Tweet


alan steinborn from realmoneylife.comAlan Steinborn www.RealMoneyLife.com

I have made so many mistakes with money that it is hard to choose which is the worst. Certainly the biggest mistake I made was not saving more sooner. Certainly, the compound interest I lost because of not saving is in the five figures if not six figures by now.

But that is a boring story, so here is something a little more ridiculous and also exotic. I was flying home after a great trip in Bali. My flight was one of those middle of the night affairs that take you from Bali to a long lay over at the fantastic Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. On the flight from Bali I had a mishap with my food and spilled a green drink on my shirt. I decided I would buy another one at the airport since I was going to be seeing my girl friend upon ultimate arrival and I wanted to look good.

I found the first men’s clothing store I could find at the airport. It was a luxury store, but I thought it would be a fancy shirt and a splurge to buy it, but no problem…just a hundred dollars, right? WRONG! I found a lovely shirt and gave the credit card without asking how much it cost. I gave it, I signed the little paper, and went off with my shirt. Now buying something without knowing the price is already a blunder. Signing something without looking at what you are signing is even worse.

In my defense, I was very sleep deprived and wanted to get some rest before the next flight. Well, here is what that shirt cost me: $726! It was the most expensive shirt I will ever buy (but it still looks great!)! The lesson is…..I think the reader can guess without me spelling it out!

The compound interest I lost because of not saving is in the five figures @RealMoneyLife Click To Tweet


college info geek thomasThomas Frank www.CollegeInfoGeek.com

The biggest money mistake I ever made was failing to set up automated systems for saving money. I spent far too long just making money and letting the choice of what to do with it be in my hands at the moment, instead of letting a system based on previously-set goals handle it. The best illustration of this problem comes from my first summer job.

When I was 14, I got a job working in the corn fields for a few weeks here in Iowa. I specifically took the job because I wanted to buy this really cool metal pad for Dance Dance Revolution – it would have turned my home setup into something almost comparable to the arcade machines. It was $350, and that was basically infinite money to me before getting my first job.

After finishing the season, though, I’d made around $600. I was stoked. And I was going to go buy that metal dance pad… but then I decided to let myself spend some of that money on better school clothes. And trips to the ice cream shop with my friends. And McDonalds. And stuff I don’t even remember. Soon enough, the money was gone and I never got the pad. A little while later the company closed and it became impossible to buy one. I’m glad I learned that lesson early on, though!

Now, I have automated systems that take money from my bank account every month and send it to where it needs to go. All my bills and investments are now automatic, meaning there’s no opportunity for me to sabotage myself.

The biggest mistake...was failing to set up automated systems for saving money @CollegeInfoGeek Click To Tweet


mandi woodruff yahooMandi Woodruff Yahoo Finance

My biggest mistake was ignoring my credit history until I moved to NYC after college and started apartment hunting. A landlord ran my credit history and turned me down. I did not realize until then that someone had taken out a $12,000 line of credit fraudulently under my name and it had gone into collections.

My credit history was a wreck and I had to beg the landlord to approve me. It was stressful and also embarrassing. It was a really simple thing to check my credit and deal with errors and I just kind of put my head in the sand and ignored it. I know now that I can get my credit report at all three major credit bureaus for free at annualcreditreport.com. On top of that, I use Credit Karma to keep an eye on things. It not only gives me my estimated credit score for free by pulls my credit history for me very easily so I can keep track whenever I want.

My biggest mistake was ignoring my credit history @MandiWoodruff Click To Tweet



Real Estate Money Mistakes


j money from budgets are sexyJ. Money www.BudgetsAreSexy.com

I bought my house at the peak of the market with no money down and no budget. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was that I did it on a whim within 48 hours of looking for an apartment to rent. I got caught up in “The American Dream” because everyone else was doing it. I’ve since learned that a) it’s not smart to follow everyone else 😉 and b) home ownership isn’t for me in general. I crave freedom and less things on my mind, and a house gives you the opposite. Though I’d never turned down a paid-off one ;)”

I got caught up in 'The American Dream' because everyone else was doing it @BudgetsAreSexy Click To Tweet


nick loper from side hustle nationNick Loper www.SideHustleNation.com

“My worst financial mistake has to be buying (and subsequently selling) a townhouse in California in 2007. Even though it required a HUGE down payment and the monthly expenses were more than double our current rent, we convinced ourselves it was a good idea. Probably a combination of not wanting to “throw money away” on rent and buying property being “what grown-ups are supposed to do.”

Of course, 18 months later the property was worth 40% of what we paid and interest rates had dropped too, so all our friends, who didn’t have their financial shi* together earlier, were now scoring amazing deals (and yet still complaining about how crazy the market was). We finally got up the nerve to get out from underwater and short sale the property, and since then the market has been red hot and nearly fully recovered. While we definitely would have been better off renting the entire time, this is a case where short-term thinking blinded us on both ends of the deal and cost us well over $100,000. How’s that for “throwing money away”?”

18 months later the property was worth 40% of what we paid @NLoper Click To Tweet


john schmoll from frugal rulesJohn Schmoll www.FrugalRules.com

The biggest money mistake I’ve made was buying our first house about 8 years ago. We were expecting our first child and I had the belief that we HAD to be in a house to raise a family. Of course, buying a house can be a good thing but we did it in a rush and with no down payment. It was at the height of the housing boom, thus we had no problem buying a house.

This has resulted in us needing to pay PMI and not truly building any equity in the house. Looking back, I would’ve rather waited a couple of years to build a solid down payment and then buy a house. The lesson learned is patience and doing something that best fits our needs financially and family-wise.

I had the belief that we HAD to be in a house to raise a family @FrugalRules Click To Tweet


mark and lauren greutmanMark and Lauren Greutman www.MarkandLaurenG.com

“The biggest financial mistake we made was buying our ‘Dream House’ that we couldn’t afford. We wanted to live the so called American Dream and we realized through making that huge mistake, that we wanted a New American Dream (free of stress). We sold the house, moved back home to NY and rented an 800 square foot townhouse.

We desired a simpler happier life and got back to our roots. We decided that ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ wasn’t for us, but we really wanted more financial freedom. Big lesson learned – don’t buy a huge house that is over 50% of your monthly take home pay. Aim for 25% take home pay and you can have some breathing room.”

We decided that 'keeping up with the Joneses' wasn't for us @MarkAndLaurenG Click To Tweet



Business Financial Mistakes


eric rosenberg from personal profitabilityEric Rosenberg www.PersonalProfitability.com

The biggest that comes to mind was more of a failure than a mistake. I joined forces with a friend to create an online reusable bag store, and we didn’t think through the business risks enough before getting started. Flash forward a few months and we had spent over $1,000 and made zero sales. It was a complete flop. Whether you are looking to start a business or make any large financial decision, always be prepared for things to not work out as you planned. Never invest more than you can afford to lose, and always have an emergency fund in case large expenses arise unexpectedly or investments do not work out.

Never invest more than you can afford to lose @EricProfits Click To Tweet


amanda abella from amandaabella.comAmanda Abella www.AmandaAbella.com

My biggest financial mistake would be not having enough confidence to ask for what I want. I never really negotiated throughout my entire career until relatively recently. I would just accept what was given to me. I had to learn to value myself and ask for that value in return. This is still something I work on but I am getting much better at it.

I had to learn to value myself and ask for that value in return @AmandaAbella Click To Tweet


kabir sehgalKabir Sehgal www.CoinedBook.com

“While in graduate school, my friend and I founded an online education-based company in India. We thought that we could re-create Facebook’s success in India. So we moved to India and built the website, which began to attract many users, so our costs grew. We weren’t making any money, so I moved to London to take a job as a computer coder at an investment bank. I began sending my paychecks to India to finance the company.

It was a difficult period, trying to make enough bread to finance my living costs in London as well as the company. Eventually, the company fizzled, and the money I invested was gone. What I learned is that it’s important to do your research before starting a company and investing capital. Internet penetration in India was very low and the online advertising market was nascent in the mid 2000s. I think this is a lesson for all entrepreneurs and angel investors — do the research before you jump in.” Do the research before you jump in @HiKabir Click To Tweet


eric chase from 5 dollar dinnersErin Chase www.5DollarDinners.com

While I consider myself a frugal person and savvy saver, the biggest financial mistake that I’ve made in recent years in both my personal and business finances is not being more strategic with expenditures as our income has grown. Over the past few years, we have been fortunate to have ‘small bursts of income’ from our online businesses.

In some cases, I have been strategic in reinvesting spurts of new revenue and at other times, I’ve been quick to ‘increase our lifestyle’ without really looking at all the options available, or the forecast we already have in place. I’ve learned to be more cautious and strategic in how and when I make adjustments to both our personal and business budget, as new revenue streams grow and develop. Also, I lean to the very conservative side when forecasting our business revenue as to not over-budget the business expenses.

I've been quick to increase our lifestyle without looking at all options available @5DollarDinners Click To Tweet


steve chou from my wife quit her jobSteve Chou www.MyWifeQuitHerJob.com

“The biggest money mistake that I’ve made is being too stingy and not spending enough money on services that can free up my time. Even to this day, I’m a little reluctant to spend money on things that I could easily do myself. But I’ve come to learn over the years that my time is valuable and that by delegating and spending money to automate certain tasks, I can make even more money on my own time.”

The biggest mistake was not spending enough money on services that free up my time @MyWifeQuit Click To Tweet


todd tresidder from financialmentor.comTodd Tresidder www.FinancialMentor.com

“The biggest financial mistake I ever made was selling my investment management company. I foolishly slaughtered this valuable cash-cow that would have produced decades of sweet-tasting milk in exchange for just a few pounds of hamburger. It taught me a valuable lesson about the relative value of assets and the cash flow they produce. I was overly enticed by the allure of an apparent big-ticket cash out without understanding the after-tax impact and how little cash flow would be produced with what remained. I would have been far, far better off keeping the business and changing how it was managed to give me the same level of freedom in lifestyle, but with the stream of cash flow still intact.”

I was overly enticed by the allure of an apparent big-ticket cashout @FinancialMentor Click To Tweet


jeff rose from financial centsJeff Rose www.GoodFinancialCents.com

“My biggest financial mistake was investing $8k into a business opportunity which, reflecting back, I didn’t have a good understand of what was all involved. The prospects sounded promising and flattering to my current business setup but after I got more into it realized how much work was involved to turn a profit. After a year, I scrapped it and reshifted my focus to other business ventures that have made money. My biggest takeaway was creating a process of how I decide to invest into any new business venture. The process only takes 15-30 minutes but has proven invaluable.”

The process only takes 15-30 minutes but has proven invaluable @JJeffRose Click To Tweet



Investing Mistakes


louis denicolaLouis DeNicola www.LouisDeNicola.com

“I keep a small portion of my savings in a brokerage account where I invest in individual stocks. I invested in a company I knew little about based on a recommendation I heard on an investing podcast. The stock dropped 65 percent in four months. I’ve learned that I should always do research of my own before investing.”

I should always do my own research before investing @is_lou Click To Tweet


kate dore cashville skylineKate Dore www.CashvilleSkyline.com

My biggest financial mistake? Definitely the entire year I stopped contributing to my Roth IRA during the financial crisis. I know, right? I was a few years out of college, earning around $30,000. When my small portfolio took a large hit, I completely froze out of fear. I still kick myself knowing the opportunity cost of those compounding returns I missed out on! But I’ll be ready next time. I’m prepared to score some great deals next time there’s a downturn in the markets.

I'm prepared to score some great deals next time there's a downturn in the markets @CashvilleSky Click To Tweet


steve stewart from money plan sosSteve Stewart www.SteveStewart.me

What was the biggest money mistake I ever made? It was buying single stocks. I should not be buying single stocks. And the reason was because right after 9/11 happened, my wife and I thought we would get into the market and show those terrorists that we believe in America.

So we dedicated $500 to invest in the market, meaning buying stocks. We opened up an account and bought twelve shares of Boeing stock. The real problem was that we bought the stock and didn’t realize that we had to maintain a $12,000 portfolio for them to not charge us a monthly fee. So every month we started to get hit with a $9.99 fee, and it just didn’t make any sense to be paying this fee for twelve shares of Boeing stock…so we had to make a decision. We had three options: we could continue paying this stupid monthly fee which made no sense at all, we could recognize that we’d made a mistake and sell the stock, or we could spend another $75 to get a stock certificate.

We ultimately decided to pay the $75 and get a stock certificate printed up. The pain doesn’t stop there, because by owning single stock, it forced and tempted me to watch the stock market every single day. I’d watch it go up, I’d watch it go down, I’d worry about all the latest news. I was inexperienced – we didn’t exactly know what we were doing, but we went ahead and made these decisions before gaining the knowledge or getting wise counsel and coaching from someone who could help us make a more informed decision. That’s the biggest money mistake that we made.

The biggest money mistake I ever made? It was buying single stocks @SteveStewartMe Click To Tweet


gary foreman from dollar stretcherGary Foreman www.Stretcher.com

“The biggest mistake isn’t one I made, but a lesson I learned from mistakes made by others. (It’s said that a smart person learns from other’s mistakes. A fool has to learn from his own.) I was a stockbroker during the 1980’s. An older broker had a $100 bill framed on his wall. But it was a confederate bill so it was worthless. I asked him about it. He reminded me that if it were a U.S. bill and had drawn simple bank interest for over 110 years it would have been worth approximated $13,000 then.

The point was that we needed to not only recognize the value of a dollar today, but we also needed to consider what it would be worth tomorrow. Understanding how compound interest can build wealth is important. And understanding how compound interest can make debt way more expensive than you thought is essential.”

Compound interest can make debt way more expensive than you thought @DollarStretch Click To Tweet


jim wang from wallet hacksJim Wang www.WalletHacks.com

“My biggest money mistake was not investing in the stock market sooner. Oftentimes, people think of their biggest mistake as something they did that turned out poorly. In my case, it was something I didn’t do. I didn’t invest in the stock market earlier on because I let fear and uncertainty make decisions for me. I didn’t know how the taxes worked, so I let that stop me. I wasn’t sure how the markets worked, so I let that stop me.

When I overcame those questions, I let others ones get in the way. I kept my money in CDs (this was back in the late 90s and early 2000s, so I missed out on both the boom and bust of the dot com). I would eventually get comfortable with the idea of investing when I had access to a 401(k). Fortunately, it was still early on in my life so I didn’t give up too much time, which is the biggest asset of any investor. I look back on that mistake with fondness because it didn’t cost me a lot financially but it taught me a big lesson about myself. As long as you can learn from your mistakes, they become learning experiences. :)”

As long as you can learn from your mistakes, they become learning experiences. @Wangarific Click To Tweet


Car/Vehicle Financial Mistakes


kraig mathias create my independenceKraig Mathias www.CreateMyIndependence.com

“My biggest financial mistake was buying a $20,000 car when I was broke. I wasted two years of my life making money just to pay that thing off. I could be A LOT better off today if I hadn’t have done that.”

I wasted two years of my life making money just to pay that car off. @KraigMathias Click To Tweet


holly johnson from club thriftyHolly Johnson www.ClubThrifty.com

When I was in my early 20s, I took out a $25,000 car loan with no money down. The worst thing is, I made less than $9 per hour at the time. I quickly found that I couldn’t afford the payment and live the life I wanted to live. At $500 per month, it took up half of my take home pay. It took several years to pay that car off, but I did it the hard way.

In addition to my regular payments, I would make “extra” payments whenever I came across found money, got a raise, or found some side work. I eventually paid it off. What I learned is just how much debt can really impact your life. When you owe money – and especially a lot of it – you cannot live the life of your dreams. You are a slave to your own decisions. And truly, only you can set yourself free.

When you owe money - you cannot live the life of your dreams. @ClubThrifty Click To Tweet


philip taylor from ptmoney.comPhilip Taylor www.PTmoney.com

My biggest financial mistake was drastically inflating my lifestyle post-college. I had my first “real” job and was making decent money. I was hot stuff. So I went out and spent most of it before I knew what my budget really was. This included a brand new SUV with ridiculously high insurance. Living like this quickly ran its course and I found myself in a negative financial situation. I finally wised up and returned to my lean living ways, which allowed me to avoid more debt, and start to improve my net worth. I learned that getting out of whack financially can happen fast, but that the power is within me to fix my financial life. The power is within me to fix my financial life @PTMoney Click To Tweet


robert farrington from the college investorRobert Farrington www.TheCollegeInvestor.com

“Right after college, I bought a brand new car for about $30,000 because I thought I deserved a new car. I had just graduated college, I had a great job, and I was on top of the world. Why wouldn’t I deserve a new car? However, I couldn’t afford to pay cash for the car. I ended up taking out a loan with payments that cost about $700 per month! Yes, it was just a three year car loan, but still?

Over time, I paid off the car, and I still drive it to this day – it’s been 8 years since I purchased that car. It’s been good to me, but why it was a mistake is that I lost of ton of potential income. When you’re young, time is on your side – time to save, time to invest, time to have your money compound and grow. If I had just bought a $5,000 or $6,000 car, I would have saved an additional $20,000 or more over the course of owning the car. Given I was 22 at the time, that $20,000 could have grown into a $100,000 or more later in life.”

I lost a ton of potential income...When you're young, time is on your side. @CollegeInvestin Click To Tweet


Grayson Bell financial adviceGrayson Bell www.DebtRoundUp.com

“My biggest money mistake was when I heard a random radio ad for a brand-new Jetski for only $69 per month. I never thought about having a Jetski, but since I was just out of college and landed a good paying job, I thought “why not?” Well, I financed that Jetski the next day and it was $10,500. Those low monthly payments ballooned after three years to nearly $200 a month.

I decided to sell it and sent it down to my brother near the beach. When the first prospective buyer took a look, it broke down. I sent it off to get fixed and we got swindled by the mechanic. It took months to get that Jetski back and it was in worse shape. By the time it was all said and done, I owed $7,500 and was able to sell it for $800. That’s what a wandering mind and a new job will get you when you get out of college!”

I never thought about having a Jetski, but I thought 'why not?' @DebtRoundup Click To Tweet


j david stein from money for the rest of usDavid Stein www.MoneyForTheRestOfUs.net

“In trying to identify my biggest financial mistake, I realized there is no biggest. There are many, many mistakes and they all seemed big at the time. From buying a lemon of a car in my early twenties, to credit card debt later on, to building a house at the wrong time and losing gobs of money on it, to the constant annoyance of having investments turn sour. What I’ve learned from my financial mistakes is I can’t predict the future so I need to scale my financial decisions so that if things don’t go as planned I can recover from the fall out. In short, I try to do everything I can to protect against the financial downside by using insurance, keeping my individual investment positions small, holding a cash reserve and staying out of debt. Since my downside is limited, it puts my family and me in the flexible position to capture the upside—the inevitable surprises and good outcomes that make life worth living.”

There is no biggest...There are many, many mistakes and they all seemed big at the time @JDStein Click To Tweet


And last, but certainly not least – one of the most respected personal finance bloggers, making his debut appearance as the owner of a brand new personal finance site 😉

jd roth money bossJ.D. Roth www.MoneyBoss.com

“Just like everyone else, I’ve made lots of money mistakes. Even after writing about personal finance for almost a decade, I continue to make money mistakes now and then. Which mistake is my biggest? It depends on how you look at it.

Getting into debt sure seemed like a big mistake for many years, but if I hadn’t been buried in debt for so long I would never have become a financial writer. Debt gave me a career! Then there was the time that I sold a business for 30% less than I was originally offered because I didn’t want to stay on board after the sale — then I stayed on board for another three years. Ouch.

Really, though, I think my biggest money mistake was waiting SO LONG to decide I’d take control of my own financial situation. I kept waiting for things to get better. I kept thinking I’d find a higher-paying job or somebody would give me a hot stock tip or I’d inherit money from a rich relative. In short, I was waiting for someone or something else to fix my financial problems.

Because of that mistake, I struggled with money for almost twenty years. It sucked. Thank goodness I eventually realized that nobody cares more about my money than I do. I made the choice to learn everything I could about saving and investing, and that choice helped me turn things around.”

“How Can I Use This Information To My Benefit?”

I created a free step-by-step checklist that you can use to avoid making the same mistakes as these experts. The checklist contains 9 of the most important takeaways from this list, and actionable strategies you can use to better your financial well-being in these areas.

Click below to download the free checklist:

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I am Chenell Tull and so far, I've had a pretty rough time with my student loan debt. Recently, I've figured out a more productive "get out of debt" plan and the goal is to pay off over $60k in just 36 months. If you want to learn more, subscribe to the mailing list and get FREE updates on my successes and failures on this journey out of debt.