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The worst financial decisions I’ve made

A lot of the time money bloggers seem to have all the answers and get it right all the time. But, that’s simply not true. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. To boost transparency and show we really are all in this together, I’ve decided to share some of the worst financial decisions I’ve made.

A lot of the time money bloggers seem to have all the answers and get it right all the time. But, that’s simply not true. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. To boost transparency and show we really are all in this together, I’ve decided to share some of the worst financial decisions I’ve made.

I’ve also got some other money bloggers to share their mistakes and what they’ve learnt from them. Hopefully, this will help stop you from making the same mistakes and set you on the right path.

I hope you enjoy reading this post – comment your worst financial decisions at the end!

The worst financial decisions I’ll cover in this post involve the following:

  1. Pensions
  2. Forgotten savings account
  3. Inertia
  4. Stock picking
  5. Overdrafts and credit cards
  6. Lending money to friends
  7. Changing jobs spontaneously

Worst financial decisions involving pensions

Pensions were the most popular topic when I asked what people’s worst financial decisions were.

The ‘forgotten asset’ is far more important and deserves far more attention than we give them.

Jordan from A Money Thing Happened said he regrets opting out of his workplace pension in his 20s. While this gave him more disposable income for a property deposit, it meant his pension pot was very depleted when he started focusing on it.

Keeping some contribution to your pension – even if it’s no more than the minimum – is worth it in the long run.

Jim Wang from Wallet Hacks  had a warning for anyone hoping to turn their side hustle into their full time job or start their own business. He explained that when he first started working for himself he never made regular retirement contributions.

Instead, he’d put a lump sum in at the end of the year. “I never calculated how much it cost me but it was a lot,” he said.

Always try to make pensions a priority whether you work for a company or yourself – future you will be very grateful!

My worst financial decision – the forgotten savings account

This is one of my worst financial decisions.

I’d done all the right things – putting money aside monthly into a high interest savings account. (Remember when they were a thing?)

The interest rate was for a fixed 12 month term and when this period ended it automatically transferred the money I had saved into my current account. The problem was I wasn’t particularly paying attention to my savings accounts as this stage.

Rather than having another account set up to put the money straight into, it just sat their in my current account, the majority of which I ended up spending. This undid a lot of the hard work I had put into saving the money and left me back at square one, needing to start again.

Inertia

This is a big one. Let’s face it – finances aren’t really that fun. It’s easy to stick your head under the sand and not pay attention to your money. This is the worst thing you can do with finances. Even if you don’t make major changes, just being fully aware of your situation will help.

Putting aside small sums each month will add up to make a big difference over time – even if it’s just £10 or £20 a month.

LateStarterFire also warned of falling into these habits even if you’ve previously been on it. They made the mistake of slipping into bad habits after buying their first home and stopped saving for a long period of time.

Having clear goals and making a plan to reach them will help you avoid doing this.

Stock picking

The Financial Wilderness warned about making investing too complex when you first start out. my investment career with higher risk investments in single small company stocks, rather than building my knowledge with simpler investments first and working up.

Worst financial decisions with Overdrafts and credit cards

You can’t talk about the worst financial decisions without discussing credit cards and overdrafts.

Project Financially Free said their worst financial decision was spending recklessly on a credit card when they were young.

The lesson: “Credit card debt can be a long and painful place to get out of!”

With credit cards, it’s always a good idea to only spend what you can afford to pay back in any given month. Try not to get carried away with the ‘free money’. Interest on repayments can be very expensive and credit card debt is notoriously difficult to clear.

Overdrafts can also be dangerous. The Reverend decided to increase his overdraft when buying a car, rather than taking out a loan. He told himself he would pay an extra £200 a month to clear the overdraft in just over a year. However, 2 years later his overdraft was still at £3,000.

Lending money to friends

This was another popular option. It seems a lot of my Twitter followers are far too kind and trusting!

Lots warned about the dangers of lending money to friends. Either friends didn’t pay them back or there was a large argument about the repayment.

This can also apply to mixing business with friendship.

Skilled Finances warned: “I once gave £1k to a friend of a friend of a friend who promised to build me a custom PC. As soon as I made the transfer I never heard from him or my ‘friend’ again.”

Where possible, avoid lending money to friends and family. It’s not worth the stress and aggravation it will inevitably cause.

If you can’t avoid it, have a clear written agreement about how and when you expect the money to be repaid and make sure you don’t deviate from this.

Changing jobs spontaneously

Inkmattic can’t be blamed for switching jobs just before a pandemic – no one could have foreseen what the past year has brought.

But, switching jobs without thinking through the full consequences isn’t always a good move. Of course, leave a toxic work environment or one that is seriously impacting your mental health.

If this isn’t the case, fully consider your options before you move roles. Do you have something else lined up? Are you advancing your career or just taking a temporary salary increase? Sometimes you have no choice, but if you do, it may be worth holding out a bit longer if you’re not certain.

It’s amazing how much these bloggers have learnt and I’m very grateful they have shared their wisdom with me. I hope it helps you consider your financial decisions going forward.

If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. What do you think about the worst financial decisions I made? What would be your worst financial decision? Comment it below!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media @Katie20Percent to keep up to date with all my latest posts and content!

By The Twenty Percent

Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

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2 replies on “The worst financial decisions I’ve made”

[…] The worst financial decisions I’ve made [The Twenty Percent] – “A lot of the time money bloggers seem to have all the answers and get it right all the time. But, that’s simply not true. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. To boost transparency and show we really are all in this together, I’ve decided to share some of the worst financial decisions I’ve made.” I made the list with my whoopsie! […]

Great post! I have two things. 1) I started contributing to a Roth IRA at age 18 with my first job, but in retrospect I wish I had gotten a job sooner and worked through college, and I wish I would have considered ways to afford contributing more. 2) I let lifestyle inflation get the best of me at a previous job. I estimate I spent $20k extra over three years on clothes, makeup, eating out, and other things that I don’t really value. I wish I would have invested those funds instead or put them towards more meaningful areas.

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