The Money Principle Brain Teaser: what are the three most financially dumb things you’ve done?

The question today is:

What are the three most financially dumb things you’ve ever done?

I’ll kick off but let me tell you that I find answering this one really hard. Not because I have never done anything financially dumb in my life but quite the reverse. My financial mishaps are so plentiful that selecting three is the problem. You realise though that this is all in the past now.

First, for a long time I did the really dumb thing of living by a song. Unfortunately the song wasn’t ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ but ‘Sophisticated Lady’. You know, the one where the lyrics go ‘Smoking, drinking, never thinking of tomorrow…’. I have always earned well but my relationship with money was like the relationship between Voltaire and God – we said hi but never talked to each other.

Second, and related to the first one, we got in debt; quite a lot of it. Becoming the crisis I needed to change my ways doesn’t deal away with the fact that this was a really, seriously dumb thing to do.

Third, I bought a Smart car. Now I can joke that I am so insecure that even my car had to say ‘smart’ on it but come on…We didn’t need a second car, this was easily the least practical car one could possibly have, it couldn’t corner for toffee, it was expensive to run and maintain and I bought it brand new. How much dumber can it get?

This is it; I did it and it feels so good. Putting your mistakes to public scrutiny is a powerful form of therapy.

It is your turn now!

15 thoughts on “The Money Principle Brain Teaser: what are the three most financially dumb things you’ve done?”

  1. 1. Bought an apartment when the prices were sky high (1989 😯 ), should have rented first and looked around a bit more
    2. Got involved with ex 👿
    3. When left above mentioned ex didn’t apply for all the benefits available straight away

  2. I sold my position in Amgn too soon (bought at $9 sold at $45). That position is worth over a $ million, if I still owned it. I am not buying real estate. I am too old to be a landlord again. I sold my income property too soon. I wish I held it longer.
    No regrets though, but you asked! 🙂

    1. @krantcents: I understand ‘no regrets’ and never regret things that have been done. What worries me is whether one day I’ll regret things that I have not done.

  3. My 3 dumb mistakes were :

    Not keeping my very first car after college.
    Not buying rental properties sooner.
    Not starting a finance blog 2 years ago

    1. @YFS: I pondered over starting a blog for ages as well. As to cars, I wish I kept my Fiat Panda (instead of getting the Smart) – lovely, nippy little thing. Perfect for city driving.

  4. Staying way too long at a dead-end job just because it’s cosy and relatively stress-free
    Postponing indefinitely the preparation of a legal will
    Not accepting soon enough the fact that nobody in my family has a green thumb and wasting huge amounts of money on gardening year after year with ugly results

    1. @Maya: All these sound familiar. But the gardening is the one I identify with most – although we never invested much in this one either. Just waste of time for us. Pity since I inherited land; and there is no European from the more traditionally agrarian countries who will sell their land.

  5. I took out a Line of Credit and thought it was a personal loan and then went and bought a car with it. I kept paying months after months and the balance never really went down until I finally realized that I made a very big mistake so I hurried up and consolidated…I will never forget hehe

    1. @Aaron: Hope you are doing better now. What I found with loans is that it is worth trowing all you have at this bliters early on so that you get fast to the stage where you pay much less interest than principal (as proportions of the monthly payment).

  6. 1. Financed my shopping desires with a c/c while making $6/hour in a part time job and going to school.
    2. Refinanced the c/c above with a personal loan and piled up more c/c debt on the same c/c I just refinanced.
    I have just these two stupid decisions but they are still haunting me to this day.

    1. @Aloysa: Classic! We did this one for a decade. Except we somehow managed to achieve the same result earning much more than minimum wage and buying very little that improved our quality of life.

  7. Hmm…Where to begin?! :mrgreen:
    1. I bought a condo in 2004 near the top of the real estate boom and then I realized it was a mistake. It took about a year to sell and I had to sell it at a loss. It was a terrible place to live too!
    2. When I got my first job, I was paid bi-weekly and I didn’t understand how that worked vs. being paid twice a month. I went over my budget every month and couldn’t figure out why!
    3. I spent way to much money in my 20’s on stupid things that I have nothing to show for today. If I had only invested that money instead!

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