When it comes to money, I believe you “live and learn.” From what I’ve learned in 39 years, I’ve made at least four financial mistakes that I hope our son avoids in his lifetime.
- Not saving for retirement in your 20’s. My first corporate job was working for a bank as a telemarketer while I was in college. We had the opportunity to start contributing to a 401 (k) then and I didn’t. Huge mistake! Most of us weren’t think about retirement in our 20’s. But we should. If you’re wondering how to cut back now and find the money for retirement Fox Business News has advice on how to make your retirement cheaper.
- Supporting yourself on College Loans. Although I worked part-time in grad school, I still supported myself with student loans and I’m paying the price now. My husband is in the same boat since he transferred from a state school to attend college in Hawaii. To keep our son’s “loan load” to a minimum, I’m looking into a college savings program where family and friends can make deposits into his account for birthdays and holidays.
- Juggling several credit cards. I have my old credit cards wrapped in a rubber band. It pains me to look at them. Back when I was working full-time in TV news with a 700+ credit score, I got tons of credit card offers. At one point I had as many as four major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and Amex) along with store credit cards. I’ve scaled back considerably, closing and consolidating accounts.
- Renting instead of investing in real estate. Although I moved around a lot in my career, I only owned one home. When I think back on how I could have benefitted from the rental income and tax credit from owning just one more home it makes me cringe. When I sold my home in 2009, I regret not watching the market more closely. I would have sold my condominium in Jackson, MS a few months sooner I would have made an additional $20,000 on the sale.
What are the financial lessons you want to teach your children?
Do you share your mistakes with them?