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What is the dumbest financial mistake you have ever made?

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  • What is the dumbest financial mistake you have ever made?

    A Variable Universal Life policy I cashed in eventually

  • #2
    We used a "family friend" as a financial advisor. He provided us with loaded, high ER funds that weren't in our best interest. Retrospectively, the year he was in charge of our finances (2013), we trailed the S&P 500 by 10% (19% vs 29% gain)! Luckily, I found WCI, give myself a financial education, and took control of our finances.


    • #3
      Went to NYU for dental school for ~40k a year instead of UCLA (18k in state) because I wanted to live in Manhattan once in my life.

      Can't say I regret it 100% though, NYC is where I met my wife and I'm so lucky I did!


      edit: 40k a year included a 10k scholarship but did not include cost of living expenses (yikes)


      • #4
        Built our dreamhouse in a small town for a job / hospital that turned out to be very unstable.  As in, the hospital went bankrupt and closed.  We sold the home several years later and lost about a quarter million dollars (Dahlers?).  



        • #5
          Bought a home as a MS4 for residency.

          Unintentional landlord for years...


          • #6
            Invested $10k in a medical company one of my former partners started.  Business eventually failed and we lost the investment.  My wife was against it, but we did it anyway.

            Loaned $35k to my best friend for he and his wife to start their own business. They eventually went bankrupt, still owing us ~$20k.  My wife was against it, but we did it anyway.


            Best financial decision; I've learned to listen to my wife.  :P


            • #7
              I ignored red flags and trusted my husband to manage his business without my input or participation.  He was too embarrassed to let me know it was failing.  Now he stays home with a very, very small business that I do not rely on to ever make a profit, and I am paying off both our our school debts.


              • #8
                Bought a Bear market fund in March of 2009.  To be fair, I had bought a little in 2007 as well.  But sold it all last year.  The "good" news is that now I have $3k/yr of losses to report for the next several years.


                • #9
                  I was doing ER work for a couple years and had the bright idea of starting daytrading during the internet bubble crash on my days off.  The silver lining was I learned a heck of a lot about both finance and the psychological aspects of trading.


                  • #10
                    I didn't know that I could fund a spousal Roth IRA.  While my husband was in med school, I only fully funded mine.  By not funding his Roth IRA those four years, we lost that space in time that we can never get back.


                    • #11
                      Bought Cisco Stock March 2000 when I didn't even know what their product was.

                      But this was a necessary mistake as it forced me to learn about investing and eventually "see the light" when coming across John Bogle's and Bill Bernstein's books.  So in a way, this was the best dumbest financial mistake I ever made. :idea:

                      Apparently, that lesson didn't carry over for me in applying it to real estate.

                      Purchased house Spring 2007 during last year of fellowship, had too much emotional involvement in purchase decision and overpaid, became unintentional landlord when I moved to a bigger house 4 years later as family grew.  Sold house for a loss.






                      • #12
                        Worst is going to be most costly- so it has to be having my brother be my broker for years instead of educating myself about index funds and passive investing.  I cannot blame him for all my losses and lost opportunities anymore than you blame a snake for being a viper, but firing him was the best thing I ever did, however painful for both of us.  If I had educated myself early enough I could have avoided both the huge cost and the ugly firing "argument."


                        • #13
                          As a medical student I "invested" $8k into a startup pharmaceutical company with the thought that if it grew as promised I would have paid med school off.  Needless to say it was a giant scam and I lost all of my money.  I am just now (9 years later) taking it as a loss now that my income has finally increased.  If I had just paid that money back off of my loans I would probably have something like $65k instead of the $80k I have now.


                          • #14
                            My most expensive financial mistake was joining the military. Low loan rates and a cheap school and a decently paying specialty added up to a loss of about $180K over just going into private practice. If I had enjoyed military life more it would have been less of a big deal.

                            Both of the first two homes I bought were mistakes.

                            Whole life insurance and loaded mutual funds were much smaller mistakes in comparison to all that.

                            Taking as long as I did to write my first book was also a costly error. Charging too little for advertising space for years cost quite a bit as well.

                            I could go on and on and on here.
                            Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


                            • #15
                              Super embarrassed to admit this but had a small chunk in a 401k from a job prior to med school. I needed money and withdrew it all prior to med school. Would've become a decent sized chunk by now...


                              Also - I was not living within my means for most of residency and wasn't making any loan payments. Thankfully I found WCI and was able to moonlight and pay off all my credit card debt by the time residency was over.