What’s Your Biggest Financial Regret?

Photo by JJ Thompson on Unsplash.

So I found this CNBC post about money regrets very interesting, especially in regards to my own investing project (which I’ll update you on later today):

Men’s biggest money regret was not investing: Nearly 15 percent chose that option versus about 9 percent of women. Interestingly, men are more likely than women to fear losing money in the stock market, according to another survey.

For women, the top money regret was not saving enough: a plurality, or 41 percent, chose that option, versus 33 percent of men. The survey also found a higher percentage of women than men have less than $1,000 in a savings account: 62 percent versus 52 percent, respectively.

I’m a little confused by those paragraphs, because it seems like both men and women regret not saving more than they regret not investing. I went to the source — a GoBankingRates survey — and found an equally confusing infographic:

That headline doesn’t accurately reflect the information presented in the graph. AT ALL. (Also, gender isn’t a binary.)

If you asked me what people might list as their biggest financial regrets, I’d suggest that their regrets might be related to their current financial situation: people who are paying down a lot of debt might regret getting into debt, people who are trying to save might regret not starting earlier, people who have saved a little money and are now ready to invest might also regret not starting earlier.

I mean, that’s how I felt about my own finances as I paid off my debt, built up my savings, and started investigating investment options. Every single time I asked myself why I hadn’t done this sooner.

I don’t actually regret my debt, now that it’s paid off. Part of me wishes I could have funded that year of my life without debt, but being able to go into debt while I built my freelance career was a privilege, and I mean that in both senses of the word.

I do regret that I didn’t start setting aside part of my freelance income for savings immediately – even though that would have been a little hard to do while I was simultaneously going into debt — and I very much regret that I didn’t start my investment project last year, because I would have seen some sweet gains.

Part of me also regrets not leaving Seattle sooner, because my life has gotten so much better now that I’ve moved.

But my biggest financial regret, so far, is the time I decided to record an album in a real Los Angeles music studio with a real band. (You might remember that I briefly tried to make it as a musician. Years ago.) I don’t regret the album; it wasn’t any good, but it was a great experience and it effectively killed my aspirations. I do regret that I knew so little about the process and budgeted so poorly that I ended up $3,000 in debt after I pulled all the money out of my Roth IRA to pay the band.

What about you? If you were to share your biggest financial regret, what would it be?

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