What Was Your Big Mistake?

Two-thirds of middle class Americans (67%) said that, in the past, they had made at least one “really bad financial decision,” and nearly half of those questioned (47%) acknowledged that they had made more than one bad decision. The typical (median) cost of these bad decisions was $5,000, but the average cost was $23,000.

According to this survey by the Consumer Federation of America, a majority of people who admit to making “a really bad financial decision” also believe their ability to make sound financial decisions is “good,” or “excellent.” Fair enough. I can’t argue with that, because I also believe that I’m capable of making sound financial decisions, and I’ve also made financial mistakes.

Here’s my big mistake: In college, I decided to take out a $3,000 student loan so I could travel and do an unpaid internship with a major news organization (course credit!). I convinced myself the experience would be worth more than that, but I should have probably done an internship that wouldn’t have required me to borrow money. I know better now, and will advise against doing this.

Got any mistakes to share?


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