43 Finance Bloggers Reveal Their Biggest Financial Mistakes: Tips for Avoiding Costly Errors

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43 finance bloggers shared their biggest financial mistakes, surprising us with the diversity of their responses. We expected most regrets to be large personal purchases, but it turns out finance bloggers have experienced various sticky financial situations. Read on for their recommended mistakes to avoid.

Jeff Proctor from DollarSprout – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was not saving enough money before quitting my job to start my own business. Despite following the advice of having a year’s worth of expenses saved up, I used up all the cash in just 9 months. Additionally, my business was not profitable at that point, so I had to return to a regular job.

Starting 100% over with virtually zero dollars to my name (in addition to outstanding student loan debt and a car payment) was extremely deflating, but it taught me a valuable lesson: always err on the side of caution when it comes to your finances!! Bad things do happen and things will never go as smoothly as you think they will.

Kelan Kline from The Savvy Couple

Our financial mistake was buying a house too quickly. We got married and purchased a house a few months later. My wife Brittany was still in school. I got a well-paying job in law enforcement. We were pre-approved for a mortgage before I even received a paycheck.

Buying our house early limited our job mobility and led to a depressive state while working as a Jail Deputy. The demanding hours, pessimistic atmosphere, and pressure kept me there until we saved enough to switch careers. We also had to pay PMI due to a small down payment. In hindsight, waiting a year longer would’ve been wiser.

Drew DuBoff from DrewDuBoff.com – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake is paying for unused subscriptions like a gym membership and Amazon Prime. I kept them thinking I would use them, but I never did. Ignoring these costs affected my overall finances.

Well, when you’re trying to pay off loans, any and every unnecessary and superfluous cost should be eliminated. It all adds up, even the small charges. The same applies for any work or business subscriptions you may have.

Tim Jordan from Atypical Finance

My biggest financial mistake was financing unnecessary items instead of paying with cash. This began in 2012 when I purchased a house and financed various things for it, including a car. The accumulated interest-free debt caused my monthly bills to exceed $800.

I made plans to pay off the debt before the interest-free period ended, but unexpected expenses always arose. I had to transfer the balance to avoid interest, but this resulted in fees. Despite having a solid repayment plan now and no longer using interest-free credit card offers, I am still paying for it after almost 7 years.

Jamie from Mr. Jamie Griffin – Financial Wellness Tips

I used student loans to pay for college and later switched to a longer repayment plan. This extended my payment period from 10 to 25 years because I couldn’t afford the standard payments. I chose the easy way out instead of facing my lifestyle choices.

I spent money willy nilly, went out with friends, and had no real plan to pay off my debt. I was in survival mode because I didn’t know anything different. I’m so glad I married a woman who wanted to be smarter with money and through a lot of hard work, and a lot of lifestyle changes, we paid off our student loan debt in 5 years instead of 25.

David Cahill from Finance Superhero

In college, I went on a 4-week trip to Europe for missions work and concerts. I was cautious with my money, but didn’t consider the exchange rate for debit card transactions. Long story short, I accidentally overdrew my account by a few dollars when buying a Whopper meal at Burger King on the last day. Despite my efforts to lower them, the resulting fees cost me hundreds of dollars. That Whopper remains my most expensive meal to this day.

Andrew from Wealthy Nickel – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was buying an illegally subdivided half duplex. The neighbor refused to cooperate, so we sold it at a $30k loss with full disclosure of the issue.

Logan Allec from Money Done Right

My biggest financial mistake was not refinancing my student loans early enough! When I graduated college, I had over $35,000 of student loans at a weighted average interest rate of something like 6.8%.

I shuffled my feet and ended up not even looking into refinancing until six years after I graduated college. If I had refinanced my student loans earlier, I would have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars in interest!

Amira Irfan from A Self Guru – Financial Wellness Tips

Our family made a major financial blunder by hiring a freelancer for my dad’s business without a legal contract. Though my dad paid the independent contractor generously, they had no written agreement. Unexpectedly, my dad was hit with a $90,000 lawsuit months later when the freelancer sued him for various reasons.

The lawsuit lasted a year, turning our lives upside down. We settled for $50,000, which was my dad’s entire year’s income lost in an instant! This financial mistake left a lasting scar, affecting our entire family. It fueled my passion to become a lawyer and help others avoid similar mistakes.

Russell Barbour from Unconventional Prosperity

My biggest financial mistake was buying a website on Flippa for $4500. It claimed to make $200 per month, but after the purchase, the traffic and revenue disappeared. I learned the lesson of doing thorough research before buying a business.

Todd from Invested Wallet – Financial Wellness Tips

The biggest money mistake I made was not learning about my 401k in my mid-twenties. Despite my parents explaining its importance, I didn’t contribute enough to get the company match or understand my investments.

So when I was let go from said job, it was cool to see I had about $5,000 saved, but then to realize how much I probably missed out on was a kick in the teeth. It was a good learning experience, but I left plenty of money behind by not spending a bit of time learning about it.

Allan Liwanag from The Practical Saver

My biggest financial mistake was starting a retail business during the 2008 recession. Without a proper plan, I used up my $60K savings and closed the business after 3 years, with $40K in debt. Investing in the stock market would have been a better choice, resulting in more money.

Jonathan from Mr. Centsible – Financial Wellness Tips

Feeling stagnant in my job after 10 years at the same company. Limited salary increases and no career growth. Advise young adults to switch jobs occasionally for personal and professional development, more income, and new connections.

Sara from Frozen Pennies

My biggest money mistake was believing I was bad with money, which I learned as a child. As a young adult, I accumulated credit card debt due to ignorance. It took years to realize I was capable and just needed the right tools. Today, we have paid off almost $100,000, including our house.

Fo Alexander from Girl Talk with Fo – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest mistake was thinking a financial advisor could solve all my money problems. I needed to do the work and be invested in myself. It’s a lesson I can now use to help others. Learn about personal finance and seek help when needed.

Adebayo Fasanya from Dr. Breathe Easy Finance

My biggest financial mistake was succumbing to FOMO and investing $7,000 in cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and altcoins, during the latter half of 2017. Initially, my investment grew 10X, which was exciting. However, I became greedy and started investing in questionable coins like dogecoin and electronium.

In short, the crypto market crashed, with Bitcoin dropping from its peak of $21k to around $3500. Most alternate coins vanished. I regret not cashing in my profit, but managed to save my initial investment. Lessons learned: invest in what you understand, be cautious of unrealistic promises, and avoid FOMO.

Daniella Flores from Iliketodabble – Financial Wellness Tips

One of my biggest financial mistakes was signing up for a gym membership without reading the contract. It turned out to be a 15-month long commitment that I couldn’t cancel. This, along with my smoking habit which I’ve now quit, were definitely my worst purchases and money mistakes.

Enoch from Savvy New Canadians

One of my financial regrets was believing I could become a millionaire overnight through stock trading. I spent a fortune attending trading seminars and training, trying to learn day trading. After losing a lot of money in my twenties, I realized the difference between gambling and investing. Now, I stick to simple investments like index funds and ETFs, focusing on the long term.

Jon from Compounding Pennies – Financial Wellness Tips

My worst financial mistake: purchasing a second car to use as a bike rack. My small sports car couldn’t fit my mountain bike, so instead of buying a bike rack, I bought a used car for $5K. With repairs, insurance, gas, etc., the total cost was nearly $10K, when a $300 bike rack would have sufficed.

Ashley Patrick from Budgets Made Easy

The worst financial mistake I made was getting a 401(k) loan based on bad advice. My husband lost his job, so we couldn’t pay it back within 60 days. It ended up costing us nearly $1 million, including $10,000 in taxes. As we were young, we also lost around $1 million in compound interest for retirement.

Bryan from Bucks and Cents – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was stopping my retirement contributions when I was young. A financial planner’s money makeover showed that if I had continued contributing, I could have amassed $1.1M at 46, $2.6M at 55, $7.0M at 70, and an impressive $23.0M at 80.

Anna Bee from The Land of Milk and Money

Analysis paralysis led to my biggest financial mistake. I was too afraid to invest my savings, so I left it in a 0% interest account for years. This fear cost me tens of thousands of dollars in potential returns. Research is important, but I should have started investing sooner.

Leigh Louey-Gung from Life Operating System – Financial Wellness Tips

Not checking the financials of the company I was merging with before negotiating terms. The owner was my business partner’s best friend and we both thought he was trustworthy. It turns out he wasn’t and it cost us 6-figures. I will definitely never make that mistake again.

Sayan Neogie from Prosmartrepreneur

My mistake was continuing engineering college while earning from my blog. It wasted money and hindered blog growth. Balancing college and blogging left little time. Dropping out would have saved cash and boosted business.

Jarek from Time in the Market – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest mistake was not taking charge of my career earlier. I stayed in a boring job for years, missed out on exciting opportunities, and limited my salary growth. It’s important to maximize your early years and strive for big salary increases. Although I eventually got promotions and higher earnings, I regret not taking action sooner to fix my underpayment. If I could go back, I would leave that job earlier and focus on growing my pay.

Kathryn Mancewicz from Money and Mountains

My biggest mistake was not starting an HSA. You never know when unexpected medical expenses will come up. I just paid a lot for medical bills and wish I had a tax-free savings account. I’ll open an HSA soon to save for future medical expenses.

Jacqueline Gilchrist from Mom Money Map – Financial Wellness Tips

My financial mistake: believing a higher-paying job was the only way to build wealth. Instead, I should have focused on passive income like rentals and stocks, which would have boosted my net worth faster.

Marissa Sanders from Simple Money Mom

My biggest financial mistake was allowing my husband to withdraw his 401(k) when he changed jobs. Despite working there for over 3 years, he chose not to roll it over into a Roth account because he thought his new job’s pension was sufficient. I tried persuading him to make the switch, but he believed the money was necessary for paying off his credit card debt.

He’s 30+ and has no savings in retirement accounts like 401(k), Roth, or IRA. He began saving for retirement at 32 with a pension. We inflated our income, paid more taxes, and faced penalties for early withdrawal from the 401(k). I regret not persuading him against it. I did advise him to keep his retirement funds untouched going forward.

Gary Weiner from Super Saving Tips – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was investing a large sum of money in my former brother-in-law’s fake sports business venture. It ended with an arrest and conviction for fraud, leaving me $10,000 poorer. I learned that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Sara from Gathering Dreams

My biggest financial mistake was waiting to invest until my 30s. I saw investing as gambling until I learned about compounding interests and the benefits of index funds. I regret not educating myself earlier on maximizing my money.

Carey Zielke from Realities and Dreams – Financial Wellness Tips

Trying the stock market was my biggest financial mistake. Thinking I knew everything, I opened a brokerage account and invested $15,000. Sadly, I lost it all in just a few months. However, I plan to try again in the future after educating myself further.

Jeremy Ong from HUSTLR

Not investing the right way early enough. I always thought of investments as an exciting endeavor when I was younger. Which made me pursue more risk than I should have. I didn’t have a plan, just cash (my parents helped me save up a small fund when i was little) and foolish bravado.

So I lost 90% of that money in a heartbeat because I confused trading and investing. Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson and I diversify my investments in asset classes that I understand but have no time to do research on. No more stock picking until I have the time.

Francesca from From Pennies to Pounds – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was marrying the wrong person. Now, I am definitely on the side of not depending on someone else for money, but when I had my daughter quite young, I kinda assumed that my now ex-husband would cover the money that I had lost due to being on maternity pay. I was wrong.

The toughest years of my life began when I had no money to spare. My two mistakes were marrying the wrong person and expecting financial support from my partner. Money plays a significant role in relationships, and it’s crucial to consider how your partner handles it. While people can change, they need to have the desire to do so.

Simon from Pennies for the Piggy Bank

One mistake that significantly affected my long-term wealth was not investing in the stock market for too long. I started investing only 5 years ago, as I used to fear short-term losses and didn’t fully comprehend the power of compounding. Instead, I kept all my money in low interest cash accounts. If I had started investing in my mid-20’s instead of my mid-30’s, I might have achieved financial independence earlier. Nonetheless, I have learned from this experience.

Rob and Heather from Empty Nestin’ – Financial Wellness Tips

Over the past 27 years, Rob and I have made our fair share of money mistakes. Our largest mistake was comparing ourselves to others. We allowed the financial shortcomings and missteps of others to limit our potential savings rate. As long as we were doing better than that, we were happy.

Once we stopped comparing ourselves, and we began setting our own money goals, we were able to see the years of missed opportunities. The opportunities that were available to us over the years to save money and build wealth.

Riley Adams from Young and the Invested

In college, I overestimated my investing skills. I blindly invested in a risky company on pure optimism, despite market doubt. My mistake was doubling down on my investment when the stock crashed.

I threw good money after bad and Fortune was kind to me. The stock rebounded significantly and I sold virtually break-even. However, that decision wasn’t investing, it was a pure gamble.

Amanda L. Grossman from Frugal Confessions – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was not getting a conversation with my leasing manager in writing. I was laid off and needed to move, but still had 7 months left on my lease. I spoke to the manager who said I’d be off the hook if someone took over my contract.

A month later, he found someone else to rent my apartment. Shortly after, the recession hit, causing a decline in employment in Florida. Months later, I received a collection notice for over $3,000, claiming I owed them from my original lease agreement.

I now know that anything someone says that has to do with money, promises, and an agreement needs to be put into writing.

Brittney from Millennial Twist

I used to find personal finance scary and strange, so I let my significant other handle it for me. This was a big mistake, as it led to years of not investing and making other poor decisions like borrowing from my 401(k), neglecting to save for emergencies, and only paying the minimums on my credit cards. Please don’t judge me too harshly.

R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest money mistake was buying a home without knowing what I truly wanted. We purchased our first home at 24, thinking it was the right choice due to low prices. However, we later realized our error as we missed being near loved ones. After two years, we sold the house at a loss, losing our down payment and more.

Tom Blake from This Online World

The greatest money mistake I made was to not use a cash back credit card during college and my early 20s. I’ve never had a problem with overspending on my credit card and have been pretty frugal throughout school and my first job, so not earning cashback has left a lot of money on the table.

I’ve put work expenses on my personal credit card before, getting reimbursed later. It was a missed chance for free money. Young adults should learn to budget and spend wisely with credit cards and find the best cashback card.

Ryan J from Arrest Your Debt – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was letting emotions guide my spending. When I got my first job, I felt the need to buy a house immediately. In 2004, I bought a condo with a high mortgage, but couldn’t afford it after 5 years and had to foreclose.

Mr. Poor Swiss from The Poor Swiss

My biggest mistake was selling my investments too soon due to fear of losing. I started investing at 20 and sold after a few months when one fund dropped 10%. I made a small profit of 1% but if I had held on, I would have made $50,000USD.

Sara Mitchell from Budget and Bliss – Financial Wellness Tips

My greatest financial blunder was purchasing a completely new travel trailer without conducting proper research on the manufacturer beforehand. The craftsmanship of the trailer turned out to be highly problematic, causing extensive damage to the roof amounting to thousands of dollars. We attempted to resolve the issue with the company, but regrettably, they have a reputation for not standing behind their products. Consequently, we wasted a significant amount of time and money due to our failure to thoroughly investigate before making such a significant purchase.

Nathan Clarke from Millionaire Dojo

My biggest mistake was not building credit before buying our house. My credit score was in the low 600s when we got our mortgage. If it had been in the 700s, we would have been able to get a considerably lower interest rate and that would have saved us tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of our loan.

Rand Shoaf from Well Traveled Mile – Financial Wellness Tips

Being gun shy to take bigger investment risks at a young age. It took almost 4 years of searching for the perfect deal before investing in real estate. During this time I missed out on some great opportunities.

Forrest Webber from ForrestWebber.com

Investing $650,000+ into 7 websites in just under 10 months was probably the BIGGEST money mistake I’ve ever made. One or two great blogs are more profitable, meaningful, and manageable than 7 websites that spread you thin (AND make less money).

Lisa Hebert from Money Minded Mom – Financial Wellness Tips

My financial mistake: not saving enough before paying off debt. After clearing all debt, our septic system failed. No funds, had to take out a loan. Discouraging to acquire more debt after working hard to eliminate it.

Cyrus Vanover from Frugal Budgeter

When I was in my mid-twenties I got into stock trading pretty heavily. I read books on trading for a living and even paid $1,000 (not counting air fare and lodging) to attend a weekend conference by a stock trading guru. At first I had some winning trades, and I thought I was going to trade stocks for a living.

Thinking all of this stock trading stuff was easy. So I put about $20,000 (a large chunk of my life savings at the time) into one particular stock. Because I had been monitoring that was spiking up and down. I caught it on the down swing and went all in, and then nothing happened. The stock didn’t go up again.

Turns out, one guy had been engaging in an illegal “pump and dump” scheme that was causing the stock price to fluctuate wildly. He went to prison for his crime — and I ended up losing the $20,000 I invested. That was a tough lesson to learn. I haven’t traded one single stock since then..

Jerry Brown from Peerless Money Mentor – Financial Wellness Tips

The biggest financial mistake I ever made was purchasing a brand new Nissan Altima in 2012. At the time, I was only making around $22,000 annually and the car was $23,000. As a result, I had no leverage at my job. I wanted to leave, but I trapped myself with this $400 a month car payment.

If I rewind time, I would have purchased a used car instead. And contributed the difference to my credit cards or student loans. I’d be in a much better financial position if I didn’t make this dumb financial mistake.

Jay from Dope Dollar

A big financial mistake I made was going to College because I was told “that is what you’re supposed to do”. I ended up taking many courses I had no interest in. And wasted a lot of money on tuition and books. Looking back, I would have taken time to really understand what I want to do with my life. Instead of jumping right into secondary school.

GP from Entirely Money – Financial Wellness Tips

My biggest financial mistake was buying a house in 2005 as prices were skyrocketing. I was 24 years old and thought if I didn’t buy a house right now, that I would never be able to afford to buy one with how fast prices were rising.

Fast forward a couple of years, and the housing market crashed in the Great Recession. I watched as my house dropped in value by over 40%. Instead of benefiting from continued home price appreciation, I ended up with negative equity in the house and a negative personal net worth that took years to dig out from.

It’s now 14 years later, and that house is now finally worth about the amount I paid for it way back in 2005.

Final thoughts

We finance bloggers are just people. We’ve all made mistakes, some of them huge! What makes a successful financial life is being able to recognize those mistakes for what they are, correct course and move on.

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