Financial Mistakes You’ll Regret Later in Life


Being a Florida girl, I have a very diverse taste in music. At any given moment you might find me rocking out to Justin Timberlake before a little Flo Rida comes on and makes me dance even harder, before something by Luke Bryan comes on and makes me feel the need to open a beer and put on my Tory Burch riding boots, a pair of jeans and make my way outside to a campfire with friends and trucks and flannel shirts (the boots yes, the beer yes…the shirt and the trucks and the fire, no). This morning while I was sitting at my desk in my home office getting a little work done, I was listening to Luke Bryan radio on Pandora with my earbuds in pretending for five more minutes I didn’t hear the twins giggling from their nursery upstairs so I could finish up what I was doing.

That’s when a song came on that made me think a little. It was a song I did not catch the name of. I did get the gist of it, however, when the man singing kept saying things about how if he could go back in time he’d tell his former self this and that, such as that his dad was always right and that he should appreciate his teachers and his mom and his friends a bit more. It was a very philosophical song; not something you hear much with most country music. However, I began thinking about it and I thought that there is some seriously good advice that we can give our younger selves, but even more good advice that people even older than us can give to people younger than us. What might that advice be? Well, it would likely be good advice for those who have a financial future ahead of them. Here’s what people who are past their 20s wish they could tell those just waking up and starting their real life.

Understand money

Money does not buy you happiness, but it does buy you some freedom. It buys you travel, and groceries and it can buy you some stress-free living. We’ve learned that people who make more than $75,000 per year are no more happy than those who make more than that, but that you shouldn’t place too much value on money. I disagree. I think we should place more value on money. Perhaps if we do that, more and more people wouldn’t be in situations in which they struggle and cannot even make ends meet.

When you learn to understand and place value on your finances, you probably do a far better job of making yourself comfortable. When the bills are paid and you live comfortably, you live better. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that money doesn’t buy you happiness. It’s true that it won’t buy you happiness if you not already happy, but it will buy you peace of mind and food and a keep a roof over your head. That is valuable.

Do the college thing

Some people don’t want to go to college, and that’s all right. However, it turns out that most people who make the decision to forgo college are usually the ones that turn around and have to attend college later in life when it’s just not so much fun, it’s not so convenient and it’s not so easy. Do it now while you have the chance. Sure, you might want to do something that doesn’t have anything to do with a degree; but you should have one and you will thank yourself for this later in life.

Invest right away

The biggest mistake that most people make in their life is that they think that they always have time. There is more time to invest, to plan for retirement and to think about the future. The future is now, people; it’s time to invest your money and plan for it. Don’t think that just because you are 20 and working your first job doesn’t mean you can’t invest your money into the world of retirement. It’s time to start thinking of things like that right now. Your financial future will not wait on you; you will not regret this when it’s time to retire.

Live in the moment while considering the future

How many times have you decided to live in the moment and do something now you know will affect you in the future (like that third shot last night knowing you had to wake up early this morning)? We all make decisions based on living in the moment, and that’s not a bad thing. We should; it’s fun and it’s actually living. However, you cannot live in the moment and not think of the future when it comes to your finances. You cannot forgo a payment to go on a trip with your friends. Sure, maybe you plan on catching up on that car payment next month, but what happens if you can’t? You skip that so you can go on a weekend getaway with the girls, and now you’re behind on your payment.

There goes your credit. Will that weekend away provide you with a roof to live under when you have kids? Will it allow you to get the job you want when your credit is poor and you cannot get a job? Will it allow you to buy the car you want when it’s time to have kids and you need a bigger vehicle? You can live in the moment, but don’t let it negatively affect your future. Those decisions are far more important than you might assume.

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