Just like that, the holiday season is here and everyone is starting to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. I can’t lie, I absolutely love the holidays. I love everything from giving gifts to hosting family and friends to enjoying the seasonal activities like watching Santa Claus arrive in our little town square. If you’re a new reader, you’re probably starting to figure out that I haven’t had a very linear journey to financial independence. In fact, you could say it’s been a zig-zagged adventure sprinkled with quite a few good and bad decisions. And you know what, that’s okay. So to kick off this holiday season, I’m veering off the windy path to FI to tell you why I’m thankful for all of my financial mistakes.
Making Financial Mistakes
Making mistakes is a part of life. Each time we make a mistake, we can choose to beat ourselves up or to look at it as an opportunity to grow and better ourselves. I have made plenty of financial mistakes in my life, and today, I am choosing to celebrate those mistakes.
I used to be jealous of people who, seemingly, never made a money mistake in their life. That went for people in real life and other personal finance bloggers innocently sharing their financial triumphs via the virtual web.
Hearing people brag about their non-existent student loan debt or reading stories about how people were able to throw in the corporate towel in their early 30s made me slip into a mild depression.
The analytical side of me knew that, if I had made different choices along the way, I could’ve ended up being Yahoo headline by retiring super young, too. But, alas, I didn’t make all the right money moves. I’m still working and I’m not in my 20s or even early 30s anymore. But you know what, that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s WONDERFUL.
Yes, you read that correctly. I am making a conscious decision to celebrate my financial missteps – and you should, too! And let me tell you why.
A Colorful Route To Financial Independence
Thankfully, those wrongs have helped me to grow and to reflect on why I made those decisions in the past and why I will choose to make different decisions in my future. So, just what were those mistakes I’m talking about? Without further delay, here they are.
My Financial Mistakes
- I overpaid for a rental property (by about 20k) at the top of the real estate bubble in 2007
- I passed up a perfect opportunity to house hack in that same rental property when I split up with my significant other later that same year
- 401(k) loan? Check.
- Student loans – I didn’t prioritize paying them back
- Car loans
- Credit card debt
- Not maxing out tax-advantaged accounts until a few years ago
- De-prioritizing debt repayment
- I settled on my current house with only $200 left in savings
- Almost buying a big house I couldn’t comfortably afford
- And on, and on, and on…
Celebrating Money Mistakes
Simply, I am celebrating my financial mistakes because without each and every one of them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be within spitting distance of financial independence. And, I wouldn’t be able to write about my colorful experiences here on Mad Money Monster.
Without my past financial foibles, I wouldn’t be Mrs. Mad Money Monster, sharing my thoughts and ideas with all of the wonderful readers of this blog. I can’t relay to you how thankful I am for every single reader and the community we have built together.
I’m willing to bet you have also made some financial mistakes in the past. And I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly acceptable and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over those mistakes. Instead, you need to celebrate them, because they made you who you are today. And who you are today is a person with a colorful financial past who has learned from those experiences. Now, you can share those experiences with others to make a difference.
Together, we can celebrate our money mistakes and, through sharing and caring, we can help each other improve our finances and our lives.
Other articles I recommend:
- F.I.O.R. – Financial Independence Optional Retirement
- Our Surprisingly Lazy (and Free) Money Management System
- My Single Biggest Financial Mistake: A Decade-Long Disaster
- The Simple 1-4-4 Rule We Use To Grow Our Wealth To Staggering Levels
- The Long And Sometimes Windy Road To Financial Independence – Vol. 1
- Crush Your Student Loan Debt With This Simple Tool
- What I Learned About Money After A Decade Of Adulting
- Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your Financial Story
What are you thankful for this holiday season? Have you made any mistakes that, inevitably, helped you in the long run? We’d love to hear your story in the comments.