My Biggest Financial Regret

Regrets. Things you wish you would have done differently. Everyone has something that they wish they had the chance to take back or change.

But the past is the past and there isn’t any use in crying over spilled milk. You may have never heard of that expression before but it has to do with sunk costs. You may have never heard of that before either but a sunk cost is something that in economics and business decision-making is a cost that has already been incurred and can’t be recovered. A sunk cost could be when you decide to build a website that doesn’t quite pan out like you wanted it to. You already paid for the domain and hosting fees but there isn’t a way that you can get a refund back.

We can try to convince ourselves that we don’t have a regret when it comes to finances but we know we have some. We just don’t want to admit it.

My biggest financial regret would be purchasing a brand new car. A 2014 Ford Fusion to be exact. My wife nicknamed it the “Chauffeur’s Car” because its so damn big! It has ample leg room in the back seat which is perfect for the people that I don’t usually drive around. I’d say 90% of the time, I’m just chauffeuring myself around. The other 10% is spent chauffeuring myself plus my wife. Hardly a good reason to purchase a car that comfortably seats 4, right?

Add that to the fact that just for shits and giggles, my wife and I decided to see if we’d fit in the trunk and sure enough, we do. There’s even a glow-in-the-dark handle to release the trunk if we get kidnapped or climb in and close the trunk on ourselves in a drunken stupor. Good for getting a shit ton of groceries, but not practical for much else.

To make matters worse, my wife got a new car right around the same time I did. Yay 2 car payments!

Combined we pay more for our car loans than we do on our mortgage. That stings a little bit.

But hey, I guess if worse comes to worse, we can sleep in my car’s trunk since we already know we’ll both fit!

It would be awesome if we could trade in at least one of our cars but since they depreciated once they rolled off the lot, we’d have to come up with anywhere between $1000-2000 just to break even to get rid of a car and then whatever else we’d need to purchase another car. We just aren’t in a position to do that right now.

We have about 4 years left on our jail sentences but we’re paying extra here and there when we can so it should be even sooner than that….a lot sooner if things go according to plan.

We learned our lesson the hard way. I do enjoy having a new car and am grateful for the opportunity to have one but in hindsight, I should have just gotten a smaller, more affordable used car instead.

Oh well! You live and you learn, right? If you’re thinking about getting a new car I hope you learned from me what you’re getting yourself into!

A close second would be when I took out student loans just so I could share an apartment with an old ex of mine. It wasn’t a big deal back when I took them out more than half a decade ago but since I finally graduated last May, they’re going to become due next month.

Thankfully we didn’t live together very long so my student loan debt isn’t as devastating as some of my friends’ but it’s still an added expense that I wish I wouldn’t have to deal with for the next 10 years.

Oh, to be young, stupid, and naive!

At least we have a plan to aggressively pay those down once our cars are paid for so it probably won’t take us the full 10 years.

How about you….what’s your biggest financial regret?

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4 comments

  1. My list/explanation wouldn’t fit here. I will say that I’ve learned from it. I am the cheapest person now. I do not buy anything unless I absolutely need it. I don’t need a car to drive to work so I have an old pickup that I use mainly for transporting motorcycles or furniture for family (grrr). I don’t buy into new tech. No, I don’t care what your watch does. When I’ve added clothes to my wardrobe I purchase only during sales or when I feel like I’m getting a great deal. I have no debt personally. My wife just broke her ankle so we have some hospital bills coming our way. I finally changed to a different auto insurance company which saved me approximately $60-70/month!! All in all, I’m doing pretty well but could stand to make more money lol.

    I have to say, we just got a new car and nothing compares to it. The smell, all the new comforts/features, it all seems so worth it. The car we traded in was a nightmare so it is a welcomed relief. I’ve come to realize that I don’t need a new fancy car, just something that works and gets me around. Before my truck I drove a 1997 Honda Civic in not-so-great condition and I had no qualms about it.

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  2. My biggest financial mistake was not starting a retirement fund sooner. Through compounding, a little bit of money turns into a giant pile of money over 30-40 years. I was pretty poor once I moved out from my parents house, and then went to college and start my career, so it made sense to spend what little I had at the time. But I wish I would have put even token amounts of money away every month just to get (keep) the ball rolling.

    When I finally started making money, it took a few years before I realized that I could actually afford to put money away. Once I started thinking seriously about investing I realized that I had to max out my yearly maximum to have a comfortable retirement. If I had been investing a small percentage all along, it would have been much easier to ramp it over time and I would have been much further along.

    For me, it’s going to be difference between enjoying retirement or scraping by like I did when I was in college.

    Oh, and don’t let that sunk cost cloud your judgement about your cars. You still have a rapidly depreciating asset, so you buy the several year old civic and end up paying less over the next ~5 years.

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    • I’ve thought about trading in my car for a used one but we’re figuring out a plan to where we’ll eventually be able to live with no cars. Hint: moving is involved. Fingers crossed that you’ll be able to have a comfortable retirement!

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