From buying a house to starting a business, there are many worthwhile investments Americans put their hard-earned money into. Others, not so much. People took to the internet to share the biggest financial regrets of their lives.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: The Fun Is Over
Many commenters concluded that they should’ve started saving much earlier. “This so very much,” one commenter said. “I was always paycheck to paycheck until recently, so it’s been a huge hill to climb.”
2: Expensive Habit
One commenter crunched the numbers and regretted their years of lighting up. They believe they wasted anywhere from $70k to $80k on cancer sticks and similar products. “That’s enough to buy a brand new car in 2010 when I quit after starting the habit in my early teens.”
Multiple divorcees commented that their failed relationships cost a pretty penny. “Not so much settlement; we just kept what we had, but starting over is expensive.” Another commenter had the same experience. “If I had left sooner, I would have had ten times more savings,” they said.
4: Rainy Day Fund
Not saving enough for emergencies is the biggest financial regret a few commenters agreed with. “I have plenty of money in investments and pensions to maintain a good lifestyle – except for the possibility of a huge bill,” they said. “Most of the money I make from my little part-time business goes into short-term savings for disasters.”
5: Could Be Worse
“25 years ago, I was conned out of $800, and I’ve never stopped punishing myself for it,” one commenter said. Another person kindly one-upped them. “I was conned out of $5,000. You have to forgive yourself for being so nice to someone.”
6: Bottle Service
Reaching the end of the bottle hit many commenters’ budgets hard. Their biggest regret? Years of alcoholism. One person said, “Cutting alcohol off sooner would have saved me a lot of sad years, too. Six years sober, and my only regret is that it’s not 16 or 26 years instead.”
7: Luck of the Draw
“I wasn’t born to wealthy parents,” one commenter said. “I hate that I can’t benefit from nepotism,” another joked. “Where’s the family business?”
8: Cutting Corners
While many people stick to the experts for their home remodels, one commenter hired a cheap contractor and faced the consequences. “The difference was a few thousand dollars, but at the time, I thought it was death,” they said. “Now I look at it as pocket change because it cost more to fix, and some things are irreparable.”
9: Debt Regrets
One entrepreneur learned to live below their means when they started their business. “My overhead was nothing, but my credit card debt kept me from true freedom. Had I just had my mortgage and electric, it would’ve been a breeze.”
10: Kindness Matters
Although it didn’t cost them much, one commenter’s biggest regret involves a kid selling candy bars door to door. “We had company, and I just brushed him off and said no.” They said they felt so bad they walked the neighborhood later looking for him. “It can be so easy to be callous and so easy to help people out.”
11: Get To Know Yourself
“Putting off necessary medical procedures because I didn’t make them a financial priority until they snowballed into big, expensive problems” was one person’s biggest financial regret after facing a hefty root canal bill. “Don’t put off checkups. Get your annual pelvic exam, and become a student of your body.”
12: Sold Too Soon
One commenter had 50 Bitcoins when they were less than $100 each. “Sold a good chunk at $500, another at $1000. It has accumulated for years and is still up a lot, but you never sell your winners… I still shudder to think about it.”
13: Could’ve Would’ve Should’ve
One person said they were in a contract for a one-bedroom condo in a desirable, young neighborhood for $127K in 2012. Ultimately, they passed up on buying it out of fear of noisy upstairs neighbors. “If I had bought that condo, I could have sold it eight years later for over $350,000.”
14: Confessions of a Shopaholic
“Buying too many clothes and not saving more earlier” is one material girl’s biggest financial regret.
15: Apple A Day
“Not holding on to the Apple stock I had in the early 90s,” one commenter said after the stock dropped from around $30 in 1991 to under $5 when they left in 1994. “Not that I had a ton of it, but given how it appreciated in subsequent decades, who needs a ton?”
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