Thursday, August 20, 2009
Stupid Financial Mistakes
I was very glad to see that even Suze Orman has done dumb things with her money. If you get a chance, check out the latest issue of O Magazine. My father-in-law LOVES to throw Suze Orman in my face all the time, even though, by listening to him talk, I don't think he has ever read a damned thing she has written.
She is however, a favorite of mine. And I HAVE read most of what she has written.
So, I have been thinking about a lot of my own financial mistakes after reading her article. And here are a few.
1) Cashing out 3 401ks. I think this is a bad choice for any reason. But in my case, it was really a poor choice. I often think about just how much money those might be worth now, even with a down market.
2) Ever taking on any credit card debt. I have been a mortgage broker for 12 years, so I should know better. Credit cards are NEVER your friends. The interest rates and fees are terrible, and once you start using them, they are an addictive habit that is very hard to break.
3) Paying for a boyfriend to travel through Europe. This is one of my worst ever. I flew to Europe with a Bo to finish my MBA, with the assumption that we would both pay our way. Once it came time to pay the first hotel bill, he informed me that he had no money. I should have ditched him in Milan. Instead, I ended up very stressed out and paying for a 6 week trip for two that would have been a stretch for me alone. Glad I am not 25 anymore!
4) Quitting work to raise my kids. I have mixed feelings about this one, because I don't think there is a more important job in the world than raising your kids. However, with an addict, past or present, there can be no safety net. You have to be able to depend on yourself 100%.
5) Rolling debt into a mortgage. I especially am not happy that I rolled in my husband's first rehab and other debt to his father into this. Since the market has gone down SIGNIFICANTLY we now owe more on our house than it was worth. At the time, I thought, no problem, we probably have a couple hundred thousand dollars in equity. That is never something you should count on.
6) Not pushing for child support IMMEDIATELY once my son was born. This set a very bad precedent with my husband. Numerous people told me to do this, but I think I was scared he would just walk out on us all together. Instead, I took what I could get the first year, which was very, very minimal. There was entirely too much stress on me - and the biggest loser in all of this was my son.
7) Thinking that all people are like my grandparents. I was talking this over with a friend the other day. I have always been told that I am too trusting of people, even by my grandparents. I think I always idealized their relationship and the way they were with each other. There was no mine or yours - everything was both of theirs, and they lovingly shared it. This is fine if you are with someone who shares your values, but I have not often been with that type of person. So, I guess what I am saying is that I should have #1 choosen my partners more carefully or #2 been more protective and careful of my own money.