Author Topic: Worst single financial mistake you've made?  (Read 10971 times)

Just Joe

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #200 on: August 05, 2022, 10:32:12 AM »
Nobody cares what school anyone goes to anyways. That's just something universities try to tell high school kids.

I think that this was the most surprising thing to me.  In my whole working career nobody seems to care what school you go to.  In high school the importance of going to a good university seemed like it was a big deal.

I've heard that what your alma mater only matters in the rarefied atmosphere of the executive suites. And only there perhaps because of snob appeal.

Malcat

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #201 on: August 05, 2022, 10:36:55 AM »
Nobody cares what school anyone goes to anyways. That's just something universities try to tell high school kids.

I think that this was the most surprising thing to me.  In my whole working career nobody seems to care what school you go to.  In high school the importance of going to a good university seemed like it was a big deal.

I've heard that what your alma mater only matters in the rarefied atmosphere of the executive suites. And only there perhaps because of snob appeal.

GuitarStv is also in Canada where it legit doesn't matter. Our university system is *very* different.

I say this as someone who has gone to a low ranking public university, an elite world-class university, and a private university.
In no way does my educational institution make a lick of difference to my career outcomes, because they're all essentially equal here.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2022, 10:38:54 AM by Malcat »

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #202 on: August 05, 2022, 11:34:41 AM »
Nobody cares what school anyone goes to anyways. That's just something universities try to tell high school kids.

I think that this was the most surprising thing to me.  In my whole working career nobody seems to care what school you go to.  In high school the importance of going to a good university seemed like it was a big deal.

I've heard that what your alma mater only matters in the rarefied atmosphere of the executive suites. And only there perhaps because of snob appeal.

If you want to get a job straight out of college at Goldman Sachs then graduating from Southern Mississippi University is probably not going to let you get your foot in the door - whereas Harvard, Yale, MIT, etc. will. In those cases, it's not just the degree but the network as well since some of your classmates may have friends or relatives that can get you past the initial screening to an actual interview.

However, since about 1% of US students graduate from Ivy League universities each year, clearly there are still plenty of great jobs available for the other 99%.

A degree is a signal that you were at least able to stick with something for about 4 years. Most people hiring don't care if you took 170 credits and got an A+ in all of them, or if you took the minimum 120 and got a straight C average. After your first job all that matters usually is if you have "a" degree.

GuitarStv

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #203 on: August 05, 2022, 01:06:16 PM »
When I was eleven or twelve my dad and I were driving back from a camping trip.  The drive was about fifteen hours, so a little more than half way we stopped at a motel to sleep for the night.  At the motel I flipped on the little TV and watched a paid commercial for Robocop 3 - that I could rent (along with renting a VCR) from the front desk of the motel.  My need to watch Robocop 3 became unbearable, but Dad was not interested.  So I spent four bucks of my own hard earned and carefully saved up money on the video rental, then another ten on the VCR rental, and we watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Dad actually liked it because they blew up a surprising number of Ford Taurus police cruisers . . . which he found cathartic since ours was constantly acting up.

It's a vivid memory from my childhood of making a horrific financial mistake because of a misplaced whim influenced by targeted advertising that I still think about regularly.  Somehow it didn't stop me from wasting 5$ to see the astoundingly shitty Batman and Robin five or six years later - but at least I wasted that money in theater (that's right . . . I'm one of the six or seven people who saw that movie in theater) and didn't pay extra to rent a VCR.  :P

englishteacheralex

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #204 on: August 05, 2022, 02:19:57 PM »
When I was eleven or twelve my dad and I were driving back from a camping trip.  The drive was about fifteen hours, so a little more than half way we stopped at a motel to sleep for the night.  At the motel I flipped on the little TV and watched a paid commercial for Robocop 3 - that I could rent (along with renting a VCR) from the front desk of the motel.  My need to watch Robocop 3 became unbearable, but Dad was not interested.  So I spent four bucks of my own hard earned and carefully saved up money on the video rental, then another ten on the VCR rental, and we watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Dad actually liked it because they blew up a surprising number of Ford Taurus police cruisers . . . which he found cathartic since ours was constantly acting up.

It's a vivid memory from my childhood of making a horrific financial mistake because of a misplaced whim influenced by targeted advertising that I still think about regularly.  Somehow it didn't stop me from wasting 5$ to see the astoundingly shitty Batman and Robin five or six years later - but at least I wasted that money in theater (that's right . . . I'm one of the six or seven people who saw that movie in theater) and didn't pay extra to rent a VCR.  :P

What a hilarious story. Thanks for sharing.

lifeisshort123

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #205 on: August 05, 2022, 02:41:45 PM »
I think it depends on the field you are in, and while it doesn’t matter once you are there, often the school you went to is something that is looked at, especially in some more specialized fields. 

Not saying it is fair, but, for example, read the list of schools attended by US Presidents and Supreme Court members.  There is definitely a bias towards certain schools in our country, and sometimes it does matter.

Overall though, I agree with the sentiment.  Our children will be going to a solid, affordable school.  They will not be overexerting their financial capabilities to buy a Bugatti price school.

Malcat

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #206 on: August 05, 2022, 03:22:58 PM »
When I was eleven or twelve my dad and I were driving back from a camping trip.  The drive was about fifteen hours, so a little more than half way we stopped at a motel to sleep for the night.  At the motel I flipped on the little TV and watched a paid commercial for Robocop 3 - that I could rent (along with renting a VCR) from the front desk of the motel.  My need to watch Robocop 3 became unbearable, but Dad was not interested.  So I spent four bucks of my own hard earned and carefully saved up money on the video rental, then another ten on the VCR rental, and we watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Dad actually liked it because they blew up a surprising number of Ford Taurus police cruisers . . . which he found cathartic since ours was constantly acting up.

It's a vivid memory from my childhood of making a horrific financial mistake because of a misplaced whim influenced by targeted advertising that I still think about regularly.  Somehow it didn't stop me from wasting 5$ to see the astoundingly shitty Batman and Robin five or six years later - but at least I wasted that money in theater (that's right . . . I'm one of the six or seven people who saw that movie in theater) and didn't pay extra to rent a VCR.  :P

I have Batman and Robin related PTSD. I've seen it over 50 times despite hating it the first time. I still twitch when I think about it.

lilkidjesus

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #207 on: August 05, 2022, 03:29:13 PM »
The worst financial mistake I ever made was learning about life's opportunities through passive observation rather than any real deliberate discovery. As a young person (high school and college), I developed an understanding of the world that consisted of everyone having relatively the same paths available in life, and that anything other than those were either given at birth (who your parents were) or simply unavailable.

I grew up in a small town with shit schools (my high school's test scores are in the bottom 5% in the state) and a generally unambitious population (I had relatively large group of friends in school--over 20 or so of us that spent time together--and only one of us went to college post-graduation). So I navigated life the way my peers did because that's all I saw. I worked labor jobs (totally respectable) and generally thought that's what was available in life for everyone but some small unreachable minority.

Then, when I was 25, I decided to go to college because I couldn't ever get promoted at work. Although college can have mixed results, what it did afford me was meeting people that didn't grow up like I did. As I met all these kids and heard about their upbringing and current circumstances I'd think, wow, this privileged kid has no idea what life is really like for people. They're blind. It took me meeting fifty or so kids with similar circumstances before I finally realized that it was I who was ignorant of what most people experience rather than them.

After having countless questions humored, and getting to know as many people as I could, I started learning about what people can do and what is possible regardless of what they were born into. If I had done some general educating of myself or at least attempted to recruit a mentor or two, I likely could've changed my earning potential long before I did. I never made more than $23k in a single year until I was 28 years old (I'm 36 now).

So I'd say, my biggest financial mistake was being ignorant of realistic opportunities out there for people that want to pursue them. And for being too lazy to remove that ignorance early on.

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #208 on: August 05, 2022, 03:40:24 PM »
When I was eleven or twelve my dad and I were driving back from a camping trip.  The drive was about fifteen hours, so a little more than half way we stopped at a motel to sleep for the night.  At the motel I flipped on the little TV and watched a paid commercial for Robocop 3 - that I could rent (along with renting a VCR) from the front desk of the motel.  My need to watch Robocop 3 became unbearable, but Dad was not interested.  So I spent four bucks of my own hard earned and carefully saved up money on the video rental, then another ten on the VCR rental, and we watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Dad actually liked it because they blew up a surprising number of Ford Taurus police cruisers . . . which he found cathartic since ours was constantly acting up.

It's a vivid memory from my childhood of making a horrific financial mistake because of a misplaced whim influenced by targeted advertising that I still think about regularly.  Somehow it didn't stop me from wasting 5$ to see the astoundingly shitty Batman and Robin five or six years later - but at least I wasted that money in theater (that's right . . . I'm one of the six or seven people who saw that movie in theater) and didn't pay extra to rent a VCR.  :P

I have Batman and Robin related PTSD. I've seen it over 50 times despite hating it the first time. I still twitch when I think about it.

Wait...what....? Please elaborate

nereo

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #209 on: August 05, 2022, 03:47:00 PM »
When I was eleven or twelve my dad and I were driving back from a camping trip.  The drive was about fifteen hours, so a little more than half way we stopped at a motel to sleep for the night.  At the motel I flipped on the little TV and watched a paid commercial for Robocop 3 - that I could rent (along with renting a VCR) from the front desk of the motel.  My need to watch Robocop 3 became unbearable, but Dad was not interested.  So I spent four bucks of my own hard earned and carefully saved up money on the video rental, then another ten on the VCR rental, and we watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Dad actually liked it because they blew up a surprising number of Ford Taurus police cruisers . . . which he found cathartic since ours was constantly acting up.

It's a vivid memory from my childhood of making a horrific financial mistake because of a misplaced whim influenced by targeted advertising that I still think about regularly.  Somehow it didn't stop me from wasting 5$ to see the astoundingly shitty Batman and Robin five or six years later - but at least I wasted that money in theater (that's right . . . I'm one of the six or seven people who saw that movie in theater) and didn't pay extra to rent a VCR.  :P

I have Batman and Robin related PTSD. I've seen it over 50 times despite hating it the first time. I still twitch when I think about it.

Wait...what....? Please elaborate

Which one?  There’s about 20 different ones now

sadiesortsitout

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #210 on: August 05, 2022, 03:50:34 PM »

I have Batman and Robin related PTSD. I've seen it over 50 times despite hating it the first time. I still twitch when I think about it.

Were you a prisoner of war??? What kind of psychological torturer did this to you??

charis

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #211 on: August 05, 2022, 03:52:42 PM »
I never made more than $23k in a single year until I was 28 years old (I'm 36 now).

Well I'm 5 years older but I never earned more than 25k per year (and that was only one year) before age 28, which was the year I graduated from grad school (with a good chunk of debt). And I went to a private HS with a 100% college admission rate.  You are correct that being surrounded with college minded or ambitious folks is relevant, but it's not necessarily the gateway to cash for middle class college graduates.

GuitarStv

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #212 on: August 05, 2022, 05:43:04 PM »
When I was eleven or twelve my dad and I were driving back from a camping trip.  The drive was about fifteen hours, so a little more than half way we stopped at a motel to sleep for the night.  At the motel I flipped on the little TV and watched a paid commercial for Robocop 3 - that I could rent (along with renting a VCR) from the front desk of the motel.  My need to watch Robocop 3 became unbearable, but Dad was not interested.  So I spent four bucks of my own hard earned and carefully saved up money on the video rental, then another ten on the VCR rental, and we watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Dad actually liked it because they blew up a surprising number of Ford Taurus police cruisers . . . which he found cathartic since ours was constantly acting up.

It's a vivid memory from my childhood of making a horrific financial mistake because of a misplaced whim influenced by targeted advertising that I still think about regularly.  Somehow it didn't stop me from wasting 5$ to see the astoundingly shitty Batman and Robin five or six years later - but at least I wasted that money in theater (that's right . . . I'm one of the six or seven people who saw that movie in theater) and didn't pay extra to rent a VCR.  :P

I have Batman and Robin related PTSD. I've seen it over 50 times despite hating it the first time. I still twitch when I think about it.

Wait...what....? Please elaborate

Which one?  There’s about 20 different ones now

There's a little part of my young soul that died when Clooney clicked his heels together and out popped batskates.  I also have questions as to how you managed to watch that show 50 times.  That's not something a human as I understand the species would choose to do of free volition.

Malcat

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #213 on: August 05, 2022, 06:04:39 PM »
When I was eleven or twelve my dad and I were driving back from a camping trip.  The drive was about fifteen hours, so a little more than half way we stopped at a motel to sleep for the night.  At the motel I flipped on the little TV and watched a paid commercial for Robocop 3 - that I could rent (along with renting a VCR) from the front desk of the motel.  My need to watch Robocop 3 became unbearable, but Dad was not interested.  So I spent four bucks of my own hard earned and carefully saved up money on the video rental, then another ten on the VCR rental, and we watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Dad actually liked it because they blew up a surprising number of Ford Taurus police cruisers . . . which he found cathartic since ours was constantly acting up.

It's a vivid memory from my childhood of making a horrific financial mistake because of a misplaced whim influenced by targeted advertising that I still think about regularly.  Somehow it didn't stop me from wasting 5$ to see the astoundingly shitty Batman and Robin five or six years later - but at least I wasted that money in theater (that's right . . . I'm one of the six or seven people who saw that movie in theater) and didn't pay extra to rent a VCR.  :P

I have Batman and Robin related PTSD. I've seen it over 50 times despite hating it the first time. I still twitch when I think about it.

Wait...what....? Please elaborate

Which one?  There’s about 20 different ones now

There's a little part of my young soul that died when Clooney clicked his heels together and out popped batskates.  I also have questions as to how you managed to watch that show 50 times.  That's not something a human as I understand the species would choose to do of free volition.

My soul died too, each time.

I posted recently about the satanic monster I helped raise, which was my much younger little brother. He was a remarkably sadistic human as a child.

He knew I hated the movie the first time we saw it in theaters. He asked for a video copy of it for Christmas and would periodically cause complete chaos to get my parents to force me to watch it with him. He didn't love the movie, he just knew I hated it.

Then a teacher's strike happened and I got stuck at home with him for several weeks and he decided to use that unrestricted access to me to make me watch that fucking movie 1-4 times a day, every day. He would be cooperative and non destructive for the entire length of the movie, just to make me watch it. Not because he wanted to watch it, but because he wanted to see how many times he could make me watch it.

Any moment I wasn't watching it, he would go into full-on violent,.destructive psychopath mode. So every minute of my day was a decision between hysterical violent terrorism or Batman and Robin terrorism.

He was 7 at the time. Terrifying little fucker.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #214 on: August 05, 2022, 07:28:06 PM »
OMG the stories surrounding movies get better and better. That's bananas.

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #215 on: August 05, 2022, 07:53:48 PM »
OMG the stories surrounding movies get better and better. That's bananas.

Yeah, between the image of a dad taking solace in exploding Ford Taurus's as the positive takeaway of watching Robocop 3 on VHS in a motel, to a 7 year old playing 3D psychopathic chess (seriously, how many 7 year olds are that advanced that they patiently and methodically subject themselves to hours of unpleasant experience just as a middle finger to a caretaker -- if they had an evil version of the marshmallow experiment he would have certainly passed), those are some good stories.

Malcat

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #216 on: August 05, 2022, 07:57:38 PM »
OMG the stories surrounding movies get better and better. That's bananas.

Yeah, between the image of a dad taking solace in exploding Ford Taurus's as the positive takeaway of watching Robocop 3 on VHS in a motel, to a 7 year old playing 3D psychopathic chess (seriously, how many 7 year olds are that advanced that they patiently and methodically subject themselves to hours of unpleasant experience just as a middle finger to a caretaker -- if they had an evil version of the marshmallow experiment he would have certainly passed), those are some good stories.

That's not even close to the list evil thing he did. Absolute genius child. Thank god he dumbed down and became a normal, lovely adult.

lifeisshort123

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #217 on: August 07, 2022, 10:14:42 AM »
I’ve reconsidered mine.  I think right now the biggest mistake I made was buying our house.  Overall, we enjoy it.  It is “affordable” and has appreciated very nicely.

That said, it is not possible for me to walk or bike easily to work or to many local stores.  It is just a bit too far for that to be a practical option.  I suppose, a big part of why that is sad is because the lifestyle of walking everywhere and not having to be reliant on a car is one that I truly embrace.  There is also no mass transit to speak of in our area.  At one point we tried going down to 1 car, and that was severely difficult as both of us needed to drive each other places out of the way constantly.  I am not sure practically we reduced any emissions, and we certainly spent a considerable amount of time.

Right now, moving is probably not immediately viable, but I am hoping in a couple of years as the market reaches some stability it will make sense.  We have lots of equity, but it would quickly “disappear” if we moved in a lot of instances because everywhere is more expensive, and the interest rates have gone way up.

wageslave23

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #218 on: August 07, 2022, 04:08:11 PM »
I’ve reconsidered mine.  I think right now the biggest mistake I made was buying our house.  Overall, we enjoy it.  It is “affordable” and has appreciated very nicely.

That said, it is not possible for me to walk or bike easily to work or to many local stores.  It is just a bit too far for that to be a practical option.  I suppose, a big part of why that is sad is because the lifestyle of walking everywhere and not having to be reliant on a car is one that I truly embrace.  There is also no mass transit to speak of in our area.  At one point we tried going down to 1 car, and that was severely difficult as both of us needed to drive each other places out of the way constantly.  I am not sure practically we reduced any emissions, and we certainly spent a considerable amount of time.

Right now, moving is probably not immediately viable, but I am hoping in a couple of years as the market reaches some stability it will make sense.  We have lots of equity, but it would quickly “disappear” if we moved in a lot of instances because everywhere is more expensive, and the interest rates have gone way up.

In the meantime, figure out how much you are saving by living where you are compared to the same house in a more walkable area. Then divide that amount by the times that you drive instead of walking. This is how much you are paying yourself everytime you have to drive instead of bike/walk. Hopefully that makes it a little more palatable.

mies

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #219 on: August 08, 2022, 04:51:01 AM »
I’ve reconsidered mine.  I think right now the biggest mistake I made was buying our house.  Overall, we enjoy it.  It is “affordable” and has appreciated very nicely.

That said, it is not possible for me to walk or bike easily to work or to many local stores.  It is just a bit too far for that to be a practical option.  I suppose, a big part of why that is sad is because the lifestyle of walking everywhere and not having to be reliant on a car is one that I truly embrace.  There is also no mass transit to speak of in our area.  At one point we tried going down to 1 car, and that was severely difficult as both of us needed to drive each other places out of the way constantly.  I am not sure practically we reduced any emissions, and we certainly spent a considerable amount of time.

Right now, moving is probably not immediately viable, but I am hoping in a couple of years as the market reaches some stability it will make sense.  We have lots of equity, but it would quickly “disappear” if we moved in a lot of instances because everywhere is more expensive, and the interest rates have gone way up.

I regret buying my house too. My wife and I bought in late 2007 right before everything went to hell with the housing market. We overpaid for the sale price on the house and got a lousy interest rate on top of it. Our $170,000 house quickly turned into a $130,000 one. Based on the most recent county appraisal, it finally recovered back to the purchase price. That still doesn't account for all the mortgage interest, taxes, insurance, and maintenance we had to pay for over the last 15 years.

The house was also in rough shape, but I was too young and naive to realize how bad it actually was. The house looked nice from the curb, but when you looked a little deeper, it was filled with hamfisted DIY repairs and "upgrades". 15 years later, I still have a bunch of stuff that needs to be fixed. It's not stuff that is inexpensive or easy to DIY. To get the house up to code and have the quality of craftsmanship I want, we'd have to gut it and start over. We wouldn't be able to recover the remodel costs if we sold. We've decided to live with it and repair or replace things as they absolutely need it. On the bright side, we don't have a mortgage payment, so our housing costs are dirt cheap.

The next time we buy property, we're going to be way more picky about location and the condition of the buildings on the lot. We would have been much better off renting a small apartment and investing whatever we had leftover until we could afford the house we actually wanted.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 04:58:34 AM by mies »

LightStache

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #220 on: August 08, 2022, 08:48:21 AM »
I’ve reconsidered mine.  I think right now the biggest mistake I made was buying our house.  Overall, we enjoy it.  It is “affordable” and has appreciated very nicely.

That said, it is not possible for me to walk or bike easily to work or to many local stores.  It is just a bit too far for that to be a practical option.  I suppose, a big part of why that is sad is because the lifestyle of walking everywhere and not having to be reliant on a car is one that I truly embrace.  There is also no mass transit to speak of in our area.  At one point we tried going down to 1 car, and that was severely difficult as both of us needed to drive each other places out of the way constantly.  I am not sure practically we reduced any emissions, and we certainly spent a considerable amount of time.

Right now, moving is probably not immediately viable, but I am hoping in a couple of years as the market reaches some stability it will make sense.  We have lots of equity, but it would quickly “disappear” if we moved in a lot of instances because everywhere is more expensive, and the interest rates have gone way up.

I regret buying my house too. My wife and I bought in late 2007 right before everything went to hell with the housing market. We overpaid for the sale price on the house and got a lousy interest rate on top of it. Our $170,000 house quickly turned into a $130,000 one. Based on the most recent county appraisal, it finally recovered back to the purchase price. That still doesn't account for all the mortgage interest, taxes, insurance, and maintenance we had to pay for over the last 15 years.

The house was also in rough shape, but I was too young and naive to realize how bad it actually was. The house looked nice from the curb, but when you looked a little deeper, it was filled with hamfisted DIY repairs and "upgrades". 15 years later, I still have a bunch of stuff that needs to be fixed. It's not stuff that is inexpensive or easy to DIY. To get the house up to code and have the quality of craftsmanship I want, we'd have to gut it and start over. We wouldn't be able to recover the remodel costs if we sold. We've decided to live with it and repair or replace things as they absolutely need it. On the bright side, we don't have a mortgage payment, so our housing costs are dirt cheap.

The next time we buy property, we're going to be way more picky about location and the condition of the buildings on the lot. We would have been much better off renting a small apartment and investing whatever we had leftover until we could afford the house we actually wanted.

Thanks for sharing. People are often hesitant to share their failures so the interwebs is awash with an imbalance. "I bought a house for $350k, invested $50K, and two years later sold for $800K!" It leads people to make huge mistakes thinking they can replicate and get rich quick.

Askel

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #221 on: August 08, 2022, 10:10:41 AM »
I’ve reconsidered mine.  I think right now the biggest mistake I made was buying our house.  Overall, we enjoy it.  It is “affordable” and has appreciated very nicely.

That said, it is not possible for me to walk or bike easily to work or to many local stores.  It is just a bit too far for that to be a practical option.  I suppose, a big part of why that is sad is because the lifestyle of walking everywhere and not having to be reliant on a car is one that I truly embrace.  There is also no mass transit to speak of in our area.  At one point we tried going down to 1 car, and that was severely difficult as both of us needed to drive each other places out of the way constantly.  I am not sure practically we reduced any emissions, and we certainly spent a considerable amount of time.

Right now, moving is probably not immediately viable, but I am hoping in a couple of years as the market reaches some stability it will make sense.  We have lots of equity, but it would quickly “disappear” if we moved in a lot of instances because everywhere is more expensive, and the interest rates have gone way up.

In the meantime, figure out how much you are saving by living where you are compared to the same house in a more walkable area. Then divide that amount by the times that you drive instead of walking. This is how much you are paying yourself everytime you have to drive instead of bike/walk. Hopefully that makes it a little more palatable.

Or alternately: How much money you are losing by driving every day.  I made this same mistake on my first house- 40 miles round trip, every work day.  And probably at least once or twice on the weekends if I needed to go to town for anything.   When the difference between that and living "in town" was only maybe $50k at most, doesn't take too long to burn up those savings. Even considering I sold that place for twice what I paid for it, it was still very much a money loser when adding up the costs of all that driving.   

I'm more and more of the opinion that transportation costs need to be included in housing costs to get an adequate picture of what it costs to live someplace.  So when shopping for our current house, I actually generated some isochrones based on our places of work using https://classic-maps.openrouteservice.org/.  Using some rough back of the napkin calculations involving IRS mileage rates and time value of money over a 15 year mortgage I figured it would cost us about $40k to live 15 miles from work as opposed to 2 or less. And that's just car costs. Don't drive the car, and the savings pile up even more. 

FireBound

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #222 on: August 08, 2022, 12:32:40 PM »
Or alternately: How much money you are losing by driving every day.  I made this same mistake on my first house- 40 miles round trip, every work day.  And probably at least once or twice on the weekends if I needed to go to town for anything.   When the difference between that and living "in town" was only maybe $50k at most, doesn't take too long to burn up those savings. Even considering I sold that place for twice what I paid for it, it was still very much a money loser when adding up the costs of all that driving.   

I'm more and more of the opinion that transportation costs need to be included in housing costs to get an adequate picture of what it costs to live someplace.  So when shopping for our current house, I actually generated some isochrones based on our places of work using https://classic-maps.openrouteservice.org/.  Using some rough back of the napkin calculations involving IRS mileage rates and time value of money over a 15 year mortgage I figured it would cost us about $40k to live 15 miles from work as opposed to 2 or less. And that's just car costs. Don't drive the car, and the savings pile up even more.
It is criminal now that people are having to drive to / from work if their work can be done satisfactorily remotely, from home or where ever.   Aside from the financial cost, it's the cost of time that is really a big deal for me.   1-3 hours of my day is super valuable, when I could be cooking healthy food for the family, or going to the gym to stay healthy.

Askel

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #223 on: August 08, 2022, 01:11:08 PM »

It is criminal now that people are having to drive to / from work if their work can be done satisfactorily remotely, from home or where ever.   Aside from the financial cost, it's the cost of time that is really a big deal for me.   1-3 hours of my day is super valuable, when I could be cooking healthy food for the family, or going to the gym to stay healthy.

Ha, now that I'm not spending an hour a day in the car, I often spend 2+ hours commuting my bike. In theory, my commute takes the same amount of time whether I drive or ride my bike. In practice... well, sometimes my bike commutes can get a little adventurous. 

FireBound

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #224 on: August 08, 2022, 01:15:21 PM »

It is criminal now that people are having to drive to / from work if their work can be done satisfactorily remotely, from home or where ever.   Aside from the financial cost, it's the cost of time that is really a big deal for me.   1-3 hours of my day is super valuable, when I could be cooking healthy food for the family, or going to the gym to stay healthy.

Ha, now that I'm not spending an hour a day in the car, I often spend 2+ hours commuting my bike. In theory, my commute takes the same amount of time whether I drive or ride my bike. In practice... well, sometimes my bike commutes can get a little adventurous.
Not only that, you can also consider the bike commute time to be cardio session for your health.  Zone 2 cardio is a huge life & health enhancer.

L2

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #225 on: August 08, 2022, 01:28:11 PM »
Neither would be my "single worst" financial mistake most likely, but this year I've had the following happen:

1) Car insurance dropped to liability on my vehicle I was about to upgrade from. A deer ran into the side, costing myself a few thousand $ in value compounded by the need to then pay a premium of $2k over MSRP on a new vehicle. New vehicle was always in the plans to fit my wife and I's lifestyle and we'll drive for 10+ years, but certainly would have preferred to have the luxury to shop around.

2) Joined my wife's HSA rather than being on my own and not knowing enough about healthcare due to my thankful limited use of it until this point in life. The issue is we're expecting later in the year so her bills are pretty crazy while mine are minimal to none. Me being on the plan doubles the amount until we hit our deductible and out of pocket maximum. Ugh.

mies

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #226 on: August 08, 2022, 03:14:46 PM »
I’ve reconsidered mine.  I think right now the biggest mistake I made was buying our house.  Overall, we enjoy it.  It is “affordable” and has appreciated very nicely.

That said, it is not possible for me to walk or bike easily to work or to many local stores.  It is just a bit too far for that to be a practical option.  I suppose, a big part of why that is sad is because the lifestyle of walking everywhere and not having to be reliant on a car is one that I truly embrace.  There is also no mass transit to speak of in our area.  At one point we tried going down to 1 car, and that was severely difficult as both of us needed to drive each other places out of the way constantly.  I am not sure practically we reduced any emissions, and we certainly spent a considerable amount of time.

Right now, moving is probably not immediately viable, but I am hoping in a couple of years as the market reaches some stability it will make sense.  We have lots of equity, but it would quickly “disappear” if we moved in a lot of instances because everywhere is more expensive, and the interest rates have gone way up.

I regret buying my house too. My wife and I bought in late 2007 right before everything went to hell with the housing market. We overpaid for the sale price on the house and got a lousy interest rate on top of it. Our $170,000 house quickly turned into a $130,000 one. Based on the most recent county appraisal, it finally recovered back to the purchase price. That still doesn't account for all the mortgage interest, taxes, insurance, and maintenance we had to pay for over the last 15 years.

The house was also in rough shape, but I was too young and naive to realize how bad it actually was. The house looked nice from the curb, but when you looked a little deeper, it was filled with hamfisted DIY repairs and "upgrades". 15 years later, I still have a bunch of stuff that needs to be fixed. It's not stuff that is inexpensive or easy to DIY. To get the house up to code and have the quality of craftsmanship I want, we'd have to gut it and start over. We wouldn't be able to recover the remodel costs if we sold. We've decided to live with it and repair or replace things as they absolutely need it. On the bright side, we don't have a mortgage payment, so our housing costs are dirt cheap.

The next time we buy property, we're going to be way more picky about location and the condition of the buildings on the lot. We would have been much better off renting a small apartment and investing whatever we had leftover until we could afford the house we actually wanted.

Thanks for sharing. People are often hesitant to share their failures so the interwebs is awash with an imbalance. "I bought a house for $350k, invested $50K, and two years later sold for $800K!" It leads people to make huge mistakes thinking they can replicate and get rich quick.

Absolutely. I'm spreading the gospel of not buying property before you know what you're getting into. Unfortunately, from a young age, my parents hammered the meme in my head that renting is just throwing money away. You need to build some equity in a house. A lot of people that see massive appreciation got lucky. They bought at the right time. If you buy at the wrong time, you could just as easily end with a mortgage balance that's more than the house is worth.

There's also the never ending maintenance. Home ownership should be sold as property managementship. You either need to learn how fix shit yourself or hope you can find a contractor with a conscience that will do more than the absolute bare minimum for top dollar.

lifeisshort123

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #227 on: August 08, 2022, 03:46:20 PM »
I’ve reconsidered mine.  I think right now the biggest mistake I made was buying our house.  Overall, we enjoy it.  It is “affordable” and has appreciated very nicely.

That said, it is not possible for me to walk or bike easily to work or to many local stores.  It is just a bit too far for that to be a practical option.  I suppose, a big part of why that is sad is because the lifestyle of walking everywhere and not having to be reliant on a car is one that I truly embrace.  There is also no mass transit to speak of in our area.  At one point we tried going down to 1 car, and that was severely difficult as both of us needed to drive each other places out of the way constantly.  I am not sure practically we reduced any emissions, and we certainly spent a considerable amount of time.

Right now, moving is probably not immediately viable, but I am hoping in a couple of years as the market reaches some stability it will make sense.  We have lots of equity, but it would quickly “disappear” if we moved in a lot of instances because everywhere is more expensive, and the interest rates have gone way up.

In the meantime, figure out how much you are saving by living where you are compared to the same house in a more walkable area. Then divide that amount by the times that you drive instead of walking. This is how much you are paying yourself everytime you have to drive instead of bike/walk. Hopefully that makes it a little more palatable.

Or alternately: How much money you are losing by driving every day.  I made this same mistake on my first house- 40 miles round trip, every work day.  And probably at least once or twice on the weekends if I needed to go to town for anything.   When the difference between that and living "in town" was only maybe $50k at most, doesn't take too long to burn up those savings. Even considering I sold that place for twice what I paid for it, it was still very much a money loser when adding up the costs of all that driving.   

I'm more and more of the opinion that transportation costs need to be included in housing costs to get an adequate picture of what it costs to live someplace.  So when shopping for our current house, I actually generated some isochrones based on our places of work using https://classic-maps.openrouteservice.org/.  Using some rough back of the napkin calculations involving IRS mileage rates and time value of money over a 15 year mortgage I figured it would cost us about $40k to live 15 miles from work as opposed to 2 or less. And that's just car costs. Don't drive the car, and the savings pile up even more.

Yes, that is a good point.  We are somewhere around there.  In this market, we would not be able to live within 2 or less from work - at this job at least.  However, when the time is right, it would be nice to cut that number in half, from about living 13 miles away to say 5-7.  In addition to the financial savings, the time savings are huge too!

Panly

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #228 on: August 09, 2022, 04:12:00 AM »

not buying the neighbouring plot, 20y ago. 

I thought it was too expensive and I couldn't really afford it..

with hindsight the first was dead wrong, for the second I guess I could have make it work.

Jack0Life

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #229 on: August 10, 2022, 09:55:25 PM »
- When I finally found in 2015, the biggest thing I learned was Index funds. Told myself instead of paying off the principle, I should put the money toward Index. I didn't follow my own advice. Wasn't really until 2019 that I started really pumping excess money into the index funds.
- With said paid off house, I made a huge blunder. I sold it in 2018 and had $250k of cash sitting around. Had a co-worker that wanted to get rid of her house for what she owed ~$220k. I had the cash and it would be a quick transaction. My problem was I learned of this proposition after I promised to help my SIL by a house with a loan at 3.5%. I went back and forth with my wife on this. Eventually I gave in. That house is easily worth about $150k more now. Thinking back I should have done the co-signing thing to help them buy a house vs me lending the money.

nereo

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Re: Worst single financial mistake you've made?
« Reply #230 on: August 11, 2022, 04:42:11 AM »
- When I finally found in 2015, the biggest thing I learned was Index funds. Told myself instead of paying off the principle, I should put the money toward Index. I didn't follow my own advice. Wasn't really until 2019 that I started really pumping excess money into the index funds.
- With said paid off house, I made a huge blunder. I sold it in 2018 and had $250k of cash sitting around. Had a co-worker that wanted to get rid of her house for what she owed ~$220k. I had the cash and it would be a quick transaction. My problem was I learned of this proposition after I promised to help my SIL by a house with a loan at 3.5%. I went back and forth with my wife on this. Eventually I gave in. That house is easily worth about $150k more now. Thinking back I should have done the co-signing thing to help them buy a house vs me lending the money.

Well for comparison, if you’d taken that cash in 2018 and put it in an SP Index you would have earned extremely close to $150k in capitol gains (January ‘18 to present puts you at about $149k, slightly less if it were later in the year). Add in transactional costs [i.e. closing costs] and the index fund would come out a couple percentage points ahead.

None of this accounts for potential additional income (e.g. rental) or expenses (maintenence, taxes).