Tuesday, January 30, 2007

If you could turn back time financially...

The question for this next festival of under 30 finances is "if you could turn back time financially what would you change."

Thought provoking, but unrealistic. I wouldn't change a thing because everything I did lead me to where I am today, mistakes and all. If I didn't make those mistakes early in life I would be making them later. At 27, to be pretty responsible financially and (in my humble opinion) pretty financially fit, that we did managed well enough to overcome our mistakes.

Have we made mistakes? Yes for sure. I know one was that we should have pulled money from our home equity and invested in my Roth IRA. Why mine? Because DH as a visa holder wasn't eligible until we married to invest for retirement. So I could have saved into a Roth IRA for years 2003 and 2004 or $6k. Of course I had no idea the market would have gone up, but it might have been worth the risk. But do I regret this decision? No, because I don't like the idea of pulling money out of home equity when I didn't have the cash leverage to pay it off. Meaning we were making jointly $42k/annually gross in San Diego. Yes, I think it may have instead driven us into CC debt or student loan hell. So would I change my mind, I'm not sure. Leveraging a home is great when you can accept the risk involved.

Second huge mistake or not...was probably not getting married sooner for the tax purposes and for visa reasons. This is an arguable decision, we were living together for 4 years before marriage, and engaged for 2 years, but we were "saving" for our nice wedding. Also honestly our parents didn't want us getting married any younger than 25 and 27. So was it a mistake? Maybe, but it paid dividends to wait because it bought us the goodwill of our parents and their blessings that we weren't rushing into a mistake.

Another financial mistake which I have mentioned in previous post my best and worse money moves. Bad move was buying a home without being married, enough said. But you learn from experience.

Another huge financial mistake was getting a pet. I wrote about my worse investment ever here. I love my dogs dearly but it was a terrible mistake. Would I change my decision looking back? Heck no, there are some intangibles in life worth more than money.

So that about wraps up my worse financial boo-boos and I wouldn't change a thing. Every decision I made, I did what I thought was best at the time. Consciously it got us where we are today. It made me the person I am, and I like where I'm at and who I am. So NO WAY would I change a single decision. It might make me have a better life, but I am HAPPY the way I am now.

To me that is priceless. The learning experiences, the mistakes have all contributed to my well being.

5 comments:

Matt said...

Going to college. Worst decision I ever made. My credit wouldn't suck right now if I hadn't had to deal with the consequences of that one bad decision. $125,000 down the hole, almost a decade of my life spent in terror of the phone ringing, working a job that nominally paid $40,000/yr but actually only let me take home barely enough to cover food and gasoline (thanks to the garnishments), and checks bouncing because their collectors took the routing and account numbers from the checks I wrote, and stole thousands of extra dollars out of my bank account without telling me.

All for nothing. (Well, nothing except avoiding having my whole family disown me, that is. Pity they couldn't be bothered to contribute financially to this escapade they insisted I go through.)

People who know the history of my love life might quibble when I say that college was the single worst decision I've ever made since the day I was born...but when an old girlfriend leaves you, she generally doesn't keep on punishing you for years after the fact.

I won't say I'd be rich now if I hadn't gone...I'd probably have spent most of that money anyway, one way or another. But my credit wouldn't be ruined, and I'd have way more savings than I do.

Living Almost Large said...

I think that college is something that needs to be discussed more with students before they go. What they want to do, what they expect to make, and how much they will borrow.

I've said this over and over, I'm a firm proponent of public universities. I will only give my kids enough to go to public universities, it was good enough for us, it's good enough for them.

I'll also not support any child who is flunking. They can go and work and decide what they want to do with life before I pay money for college.

Matt, I'm terribly sorry that no one helped to make important decisions in your life. I think that talking about money is huge, that and sex with your children. To expect and 18 year old to be smart enough to understand everything if foolish.

But I still don't regret my financial and emotional decisions.

Matt said...

We had plenty of conversations about money, but when push came to shove, the word was still "if you want to be welcome at Thanksgiving and Christmas, you're going to do this, but it's entirely your responsibility to pay for it".

The irony is, by the time I graduated high school, I was already earning enough money working to pay rent...I had to be, since my mother had been charging me market rates since I was 14. And I had to QUIT work in order to go to college. Once I got out of college, I had a hard time finding a new job, since the economy was in bad shape and employers didn't believe anything I did before college should count as work experience. By the time I finally found a job, the last of my savings were depleted from living expenses, and I was in default on my loans...so the process of being threatened and robbed by the criminals working for student loan collection agencies began, and my life turned into a major-league nightmare...where it stayed until I finally got enforceable restraining orders against the collectors, and the original debts paid off. Only 5 years left to go before my credit is as good as it was when I was 18.

If my kids (when/if I have any), want to go to college, that's cool, and I'll help any way I can. But I'll still love them even if they choose productive work and individual learning instead.

Living Almost Large said...

Me too. But why didn't you go to a public university? I can't imagine it would cost $125k but then maybe I went to a really cheap public university.

Also DH went public where tuition cost $10k for 4 years. And he lived at home. Big money saver.

But even living away in one of the most expensive areas of the US, it still costs less than $20k/year for 4 years living and tuition. Most of it $12k/year was living expeneses. And tuition in CA was much less than $8k/year. It was enough that a stafford loan covered the tuition.

Not to argue but I was wondering what school did you attend and what career path did you choose? Although $40k was more than I made starting out.

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