I took a look back at the last ten years of my life and documented my biggest money mistakes.  Many of these were due to simple laziness or ignorance on my part.  I share them with you today.  Do any apply to you?

1. Paying too much for my home mortgage loan


My home mortgage interest rate was 5.2% per year.  Had I refinanced earlier, I could have saved a lot. But my parents had an even better idea.  They were looking for a safe place to put their retirement money, and proposed the idea of loaning the money to me.  So instead of paying a bank, I paid my parents. I get a great interest rate, and they get way better interest rate than any bank can give.  If only we had thought of this years ago! Total loss = $10,000

Many of my friends are paying way too much for student loans. We just re-financed my wife’s student loans with an amazing 1.95% APR, saving $1000 month in interest payments!

2. Not planning the family estate

I had no clue about estate planning or why it was important until my Dad passed away. I found out that he was on the title to my condo, and it was done in a way that made it necessary to go into probate. At that time I didn’t even know what that word meant, but now I do. Basically, my property was tied up for a year (not able to sell it for that time; thankfully I didn’t need to), and our family had to pay $10,000 in legal fees to clear it up. This could have been avoided had I had our lawyer look over the title deed to my property before my Dad passed away. Total loss = $10,000.

3. Not investing enough


It’s easy to beat yourself up in hindsight about investing.  Yes, I do have a diversified portfolio now, but I had way too much money in cash for a long time.  During the crash of 2008, I was very thankful for NOT having so much money in the stock market, but now it looks kind of dumb. Even if I had put that money in conservative bonds, I would have made thousands of dollars on it.Total loss = $5000

4. Having an expensive-to-maintain car


Yes, BMW’s are nice and fun to drive, but when it comes to repairs, you’d better have your wallet ready.  I had my cooling system konk out on the freeway, costing a fortune.  I had a nagging engine oil leak. I have James Bond-esque runflat tires that cost $200 each to replace.  I figure I paid five grand more in car repair costs than what a more reasonable car would have cost.  I could have had a kickass vacation to Bavaria for that much money. Total loss = $5000

5. Using COBRA instead of private health insurance

When I quit my corporate job, I went on to COBRA health insurance without looking at private insurance costs.  COBRA was supposed to be a benefit, right?  I actually dreaded the day when COBRA would run out.

But after it ran out, I was forced to shop for private insurance. I found out that COBRA was actually really expensive, over $200 more than private insurance! Total loss = $3900.

6. Not shopping for car insurance

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE

I find shopping for insurance to be about as exciting as watching paint dry, so I never did it. Only after I moved to a different city and was forced to get new car insurance did I realize how much I was overpaying. Doh! Total loss = $3000

7. Not buying generic items at the grocery store

I don’t buy many groceries, or else this figure would be much higher. Out of simple laziness, I would always buy my favorite name brands at the grocery store, when the generic is often the exact same thing. Total loss = $700

8.  Having cable TV for too long

Cable TV Remote

When I moved to the East Coast, my cable TV bill went up big time.  I tolerated it for a year, but then when they raised it over 10%, I said “enough is enough” and experimented with free broadcast TV.  After I did that, I realized I should have dumped expensive cable TV a long time ago. Total loss = $1100

9.  Having a landline for too long

Land line

Of course, I got rid of my landline a while ago, but I probably had it for a few years longer than I needed to. It was only $20 per month.  I kept it “just in case”, and because I was too lazy to cancel it.  But the only people who called me on it were telemarketers. Total loss = $480

10. Buying crap I didn’t need

Punching Bag

I am pretty good about not spending money on frivolous stuff, but I could always do better. I think we could all benefit by asking “do I really need this badly?” before buying things.  My biggest culprits were sports/exercise equipment, clothing, and music equipment. I recently cleaned out my closet and found several expensive items that I had never worn, not even once!! Total loss = hundreds of dollars

So, there you have it!  I tallied almost $40,000 in lost money over the past decade due to laziness, ignorance, not shopping for better deals, or not canceling services that I didn’t need.  What kind of things do you wish you hadn’t spent money on over the past ten years? – Brian

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