General Question

benjaminlevi's avatar

What is the worst financial decision you ever made?

Asked by benjaminlevi (2987points) April 19th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

47 Answers

SeventhSense's avatar

Probably borrowing more than was prudent on student loans.

hug_of_war's avatar

Going to an expensive private college which saddled me with a lot in loans when I had a near full scholarship somewhere elsse

YARNLADY's avatar

Helping my son buy a house. He only makes 1/2 the payments every month, and I have to make up the difference.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Buying a brand new pickup truck while working a minimum wage job. It got reposessed and I learnt a valuable lesson. That lesson was: Don’t take advice from stupid people.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

My first girlfriend.

gailcalled's avatar

I bought a large amount of Apple stock at $40 and then sold it at $20.

augustlan's avatar

Too much credit card use for sure. Not a good thing.

asmonet's avatar

Charging it.

Never. Again.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Thinking I could wait a few days for rates to drop instead of locking in our mortgage at 5.3%. Now it’s 5.8% :(

Jeruba's avatar

Holding off exercising a big chunk of stock options in the company where I work. I was ready to cash in a bunch of exercisable options, but I decided to be greedy and set the sell point at the next round number. This was last September, just before it dropped like a stone. That decision cost me something like $85,000, if you can speak that way about money I never actually had.

augustlan's avatar

@Jeruba My heart ‘dropped like a stone’ (not to mention my jaw) just reading that. :(

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks. My only comfort (and it’s a faint one) is that it was free money in the first place. I didn’t put anything into it. They are stock options. But some people retired as millionaires on the same company’s stock options just before the dotcom bust. Right now I couldn’t cash mine in for enough to spend a week in a decent hotel.

I’ll tell you, the taste of my job has gone pretty sour lately, and that’s a big reason. The work was never very appealing or satisfying, but those extras were the sugar in the lemonade.

MrItty's avatar

#1 I bought a video game from a site that claimed to sell you stuff for “free”. The idea was that you’d pay an outrageous price for something, and then three months later, you’d get a rebate for the full cost. Supposedly this company was going to make their money on the interest of the money they’d get from your money for 3 months. So I bought this terrible video game for about $200. Shock of shocks, the company declared bankruptcy about 2 months later, and I never got my money back.

#2 I invested $100 in the company my friend works for, figuring they’re small but hey there’s a chance they might make it big. I bought 50 shares at $1.95 each. A year later, they were trading below $1.00 and so declared an 8:1 reverse split. So I now own 6 shares. And they’re back below a dollar. My investment in this company is now worth less than it would cost in transaction fees to sell the shares.

iquanyin's avatar

i ignored my father and teachers and worked many menial jobs rather than getting an art degree and working in that field. over time, i find i only make decent money in the arts. for some reason i thought hod-carrying and selling jewelry and luggung sheet rock up three flights of stairs and suchlike were a good choice. nope.

kayysamm's avatar

Most likely, starting to smoke.
It’s ridiclous how much money goes down the drain a week.

JoeyDesignsStuff's avatar

If I had changed my major one semester earlier, instead of trying to force my way through something I knew I didn’t want to do, I would still have my free-ride scholarship and most of my trust fund back. I’ll probably get out of college with no debt as it is, but I could’ve done it in a really nice car or something.

And +1 on smoking. I started to keep track of how much it cost, but couldn’t make myself for more than a couple weeks.

kayysamm's avatar

It almost crazy how much the prices have gone on up.
& the worse part is people still buy them. ( im guilty to that )

SeventhSense's avatar

Hey if your worst financial decisions amount to 300 bucks, that’s not bad. I’m guessing you’ll find scant sympathy from Jeruba though. :)

aprilsimnel's avatar

Not looking for the best possible job I could attain right out of college, and ancillary to that, not utilizing my contacts because I didn’t want to “bother” or “pester” them, assuming they’d think it’d be a pain in the arse to help me or talk to me.

I set myself up to take low-paying admin jobs (right up until last November!) that I didn’t need a degree for instead of jobs at TV networks or film production companies that would’ve gotten me somewhere.

elijah's avatar

Smoking- thankfully I only smoke 2 packs a week, but still it’s wasted money and even worse a disgusting habit.
Spending- I always made good money bartending. Unfortunately I never realized how much I really was making and I never learned how to budget. I was spoiled (not that I didn’t work for it). Now that I don’t bartend I can see how great I had it finacially.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Using a real estate broker friend of my stepfather’s who then flipped me to a new agent of his who lied about the area of my first purchase. At that time, I didn’t have the research tools to check things out for myself and I also trusted, way too much.

qashqai's avatar

That sunday in mid-september last year.
I thought that after saving Bear Sterns they wouldn’t let Lehman Brothers file for bankruptcy. Buying friday and selling back monday morning.

I could have earned a million in three days.

MrItty's avatar

@SeventhSense I agree. I think in this case, “worst” means “most foolish”, not necessarily “most lost”. :-)

SeventhSense's avatar

No that’s great.

Jeruba's avatar

Actually I do sympathize. There have been plenty of times in my life when there really was no important difference between $100 and $1 million because they were both equally far out of my reach. In this case, too, MrItty’s $100 investment came right out of his pocket, whereas my $85k never actually materialized in my hand. So in a sense his loss is greater. However, I wouldn’t want to take him on in a contest for dumbest decision.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba.;@Mr MItty: I am in that select group, too. I also bought Microsoft the second it hit its highest value, a long time and a lot of dough ago.

SeventhSense's avatar

Well actually the stock options were part of your compensation package correct? I would imagine that they were as significant a loss as had you taken the money and put it in a savings account. That’s just my estimation.
Buy Microsoft again.

gailcalled's avatar

@SeventhSense: Apple stock was up to $124 tday. MSFT (of which I still own 80 shares) is languishing at $18.50 or so and paying a really pathetic dividend.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s highly undervalued. You really think Microsoft is not a solid company? You make money on a stock when it’s cheap not when it’s high. Warren Buffet was quoted as saying he made his fortune by selling when everyone was exuberant and buying when everyone was scared. Just my two cents.

gailcalled's avatar


After watching MSFT plummet from $63, I am eagerly awaiting its move up. And my $20 annual dividend really comes in handy.
I do see that I own 153 shares; the extra three from reinvesting the mighty dividend. So maybe someday I’ll be rich.

SeventhSense's avatar

Imagine how excited you would be to watch MSFT go from 18 back to 63 plus…and it will.

gailcalled's avatar

@SeventhSense: From your lips

lawdaddy's avatar

Union College

SeventhSense's avatar

…to Steve Jobs ears?

MrItty's avatar

@lawdaddy clearly you should have gone down Rte 7 a little more and gone to RPI. :-P

RPI c/o 2001

gailcalled's avatar

@SeventhSense: Or, to his pancreas.

@Mritty @lawdaddy: RPI has better views, but Troy is nothing to write home about.

MrItty's avatar

@gailcalled Can’t disagree with you there. Not even a little bit.

SeventhSense's avatar

Well Microsoft will always be around. Apple will rise and fall with their latest gadget and probably eventually go kaput or get swallowed up.

gailcalled's avatar

@SeventhSense: Jimmy the Greek might take issue with that opinion. (Written on my beautiful iMac with Leopard.)

SeventhSense's avatar

Well Jimmy’s not around anymore and I would take most of what that man said with a golf ball size grain of salt. Remember this

gailcalled's avatar

I can’t say that I do, but it was interesting. Good research. I still think that Apple will endure.

SeventhSense's avatar

As long as they have effective advertising which they definitely have hands down over Microsoft. But the thing is Microsoft doesn’t need it and their prices blow them away.

rubes's avatar

Mine was non decision. I was online before the birth of the internet, saw the world wide web sprout up right before my eyes. I remember the first day of I didn’t buy stock! Oh, and I didn’t buy the house I lived in in NY before it shot up to millions of dollars.

filmfann's avatar

Either buying the Ford Aerostar, or advising my daughter to pay the extra $10,000 to lock in the interest rate on here house at 6%, just before the market crashed and interest rates dumped down to 2%.

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