Adam from Your Money Relationship recently hosted a financial genie on his site! This genie is willing to grant 3 financial do-overs. These aren’t wishes for more money, just do-overs of financial decisions (one-time or long-term) you now regret.

  1. I would have gotten a credit card earlier.
  2. I would have budgeted more regularly.
  3. I would have invested earlier.

1. I would have gotten a credit card earlier.

Getting a credit card (in order to build a credit history) was a long and frustrating process. I regret not getting one midway through college when they were handing them out like candy.

I don’t regret my fiscal responsiblity during college and the fact that I never needed a card. But it would have saved me some frustration with our lease had I had a credit score or any credit history at all. Plus, the age of a credit account contributes to the score–so as long as the person knows how to use it, the sooner the better.

(In my case, my father was employed in the industry and taught me exactly how to go about getting a credit card/history and not incur penalties, etc. I simply chose not to because I was short-sighted about the upsides.)

2. I would have budgeted more regularly.

Despite being into numbers, I have to force myself to update a budget. I’ve found that keeping a budget provides positive feedback for good financial decisions, and I love that positive feedback. Yet the fear that I’ve screwed up still haunts me and I worry that my budget will look bad and I’ll be a bad person.

I think that if I’d gotten myself more in the habit of budgeting (I’ve always kept track of my money, but not in a very organized fashion until my Senior year of college), I would be less reluctant to run the numbers. The more positive feedback, the better.

3. I would have invested earlier.

In anything. Well, not in junk bonds. I regret not having looked at money as more than something you either spent or saved until the very end of college. I missed out on years of great CD options, on possibly starting a Roth IRA. There were many times where I had several thousand dollars sitting in a vanilla savings account earning .23% interest when there were plenty of high-interest savings and CD options out there.

What about you? If you could “do-over” 3 financial decisions or habits, what would you pick? Would you avoid student loans? Study something different in college (if it’s affected your financial life)?


{ 3 trackbacks }

Money Genie: I Grant You 3 Financial Do-Overs
May 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm
Weekly Roundup: Genie Wishes Edition | My Financial Recovery
May 29, 2009 at 9:54 am
The Money Genie Grants 3 Wishes » JoeTaxpayer
June 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Writer Dad May 27, 2009 at 10:14 am

Shockingly, I have no financial regrets. I’ve always been a diligent saver and a wise investor. What I do have is high hopes that I’ll see the end of the finish line soon for the massive debt I’ve absorbed in my transition to writing. But again, only saving made the transition remotely possible.

Writer Dad’s last blog post: An Exclamation Point is Like a Promise

Craig May 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I waited till this year to start up my Roth IRA account and should have started it 6 months ago and got some money in for last year. I know it’s not a huge difference but could be a little bit.

Craig’s last blog post: Identity Theft: Fatal Attraction with a Financial Twist?

Money Dieter May 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I would have lived more frugally and avoided students loans and credit card debt.

Stephanie PTY May 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I look over my (very short) financial life and the things I would do over are not what you expect. Having changed majors and wracked up over $42,000 in student loans, you’d think those two things would be on my list, right? But… nope. I’m glad I pursued my original major because I would never have realized it wasn’t a direction I wanted to take my life if I hadn’t tried it. And the student loans were necessary in order to take that major at a school that allowed me to do hands-on work. So my three things would be…

1) Save money as a kid – I had my own businesses starting at age six, but I spent all of it eventually. I went off to college with nothing in the bank expect graduation present money.

2) Scholarships (and talking to the financial aid office directly) – despite all of my financial problems, I never went into the financial aid office and demand they do something for me. I pursued some scholarships, but I know there’s more I could have done, early on.

3) Stuck with theater in college – that doesn’t sound financial, now does it? But now I’m aching to pursue a career in backstage theater work, and I wish I had participated in the theater groups on my campus over the last five years. I think I’d have many more stepping stones right now if I’d done that!

Stephanie PTY’s last blog post: 18-Year-Olds and Credit Cards: Discussion Continues

mrsmicah May 29, 2009 at 6:14 pm

@Writer Dad congrats! 🙂 My financial regrets are pretty small too, compared to student loans, credit card debt, etc. It sounds like you’re making good progress.

@Craig yep…we’re young so it won’t hit us too hard since we’re getting started. But it’d be nice if we could have gotten started even earlier.

@Money Dieter being free of those really pays off later.

@Stephanie re: #3, I have a bit of a regret that I didn’t take computer science classes in college–at least enough that I’d have a few connections and something to put on my resume. But then again, there wasn’t too much that I either didn’t know already (html) or that was related to the stuff I’m doing now.

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