It’s time for another round of Money Mistakes from HYDMS. Nobody is perfect and even those of us out there trying to help others have made financial mistakes before. The important part is we learned from them and can share our experiences in the hopes of helping others avoid the same financial mistakes.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m Tawnya, half of the duo at the blog Money Saved is Money Earned. I’m an elementary special education teacher and I work with children in treatment. In addition to my career, I utilize side hustles to remain debt free and work toward my money goals. In my free time I enjoy reading, sports, being outside, and traveling.
What was your money mistake and when did you make it?
I have been fortunate to not make too many money mistakes in my life. However, the biggest mistake I’ve made is not investing sooner.
What led you to making the mistake?
A combination of things led me to this mistake. First, I learned a lot of my financial sense from my grandparents, who are Depression Era people. While they did have an IRA, they are somewhat distrustful of the market and focus more on saving. Thus, I also focused more on saving. Additionally, my parents don’t really invest either, so without a role model for investing it was something I neglected learning about for quite some time. I am also risk averse, so the idea of potentially losing money scared me off.
How did you recover from it?
It was actually my co-blogger, Sebastian, who encouraged me to begin investing utilizing some of the retirement opportunities afforded to me as a public employee. I also credit the personal finance blogging community with educating me more about investing and where to get started. I now am investing in retirement accounts as well as alternative investments.
What would you have done differently?
If I knew then what I know now, I would have opened an IRA as soon as I started earning income. I would have also participated in a 401(k) with my first regular employer. Instead of saving, I would have focused far more on investing and would likely have a much higher net worth.
How can others avoid the same money mistake?
Others can avoid the same mistake by not waiting as long as I did to start investing. Open an IRA as soon as you start earning income and make sure you’re participating in whatever your employer offers for retirement. Even if it’s just a small amount every month, get in the habit of investing and increase your investments as you make more money. Time in the market is more important than the amount of the investment.
Most importantly, what did you learn from your money mistake?
Unfortunately, I can’t turn back time and redo my 20’s and so now I’m trying to play catch up. However, I have learned that it’s important to start investing whatever you can as soon as you can and I pass that knowledge off to others whenever the opportunity arises.
Anything else you want to say?
Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made a money mistake. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say and we all have regrets. Start today doing the best you can. Your efforts will make a significant difference in your life and those around you.
Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he’s not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, playing video games, or just playing around with his kids.