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.
- I would have gotten a credit card earlier.
- I would have budgeted more regularly.
- 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)?