As if I haven’t done it previously before, it is a love and hate task for me to write about the more embarrassing parts of myself (i.e. read here my bad habits I’m working on). I feel very vulnerable but writing about them has been therapeutic at the same time; it’s like doing a PSA kind of thing letting people know of my stupid decisions.
As promised in my previous post about money, the poison that I chose to write today are the worst financial decisions I’ve made, so far. Believe me when I say a part of me still cringes from the insides when I think about them.
Here’s a short and sweet list of my stupid decisions:
Not investing/saving my profits wisely
In case you didn’t know, I had a small-time business with my friends back in college where we opened a concessionaire for a few months. It was fun experience no doubt, and it was worth every second of my time. We didn’t earn a large profit from it, but we did get back what we invested in the business and it was a good first-hand experience on how I fair with it as well as money. However, I made the worst mistake of not saving the money I earned, or investing it in something that could benefit the future me, financially. Yes, I did use it to pay off my laptop to my dad, which I am still using now after years of purchasing it so I guess I get half brownie points for having a good purchase. Thinking about it now however, I could’ve used that same money for another financial instrument, such as a mutual fund or my very own life insurance which would’ve been useful now that I’m approaching my late 20s.
Not picking the right job
When I moved to Dubai a year and a half ago, it was a struggle to get a job especially with my fresh-out-of-college status. Nobody wanted to invest their money hiring an inexperienced talent, so after some time I got a bit desperate for a job. That made me make the mistake of jumping into a job that made it difficult for me to make ends meet. I was only earning enough to pay for my rent, transportation and food but no wiggle room to do anything else. I was also constantly exposed to situations of abuse at work (Not earning what I’m supposed to earn, getting salary deductions illegally, being undermined). I’m only thankful that even with a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, I learned to thrive.
I swear to God, even my Dad is amazed at how I’m earning a measly amount but never asked for any support from them. I honestly credit that experience in teaching me to be creative with money.
Playing the mommy role to ex boyfriends
I didn’t want to add this to the list but I want to be as honest to you as I can, and not sugarcoat about how much this has impacted me. Now, I am not saying that as a woman, I shouldn’t be shelling out money on dates or in the relationship. I certainly believe in give and take no matter the sexual orientation. I would be more than happy to pay my half of the bill, no questions asked. But I’ve had the misfortune to play the wallet role in my past relationships. Paying for things like the groceries, gas money, dates, their transportation going home, gifts and even school projects. As much as I can, I tried to help but when I think about it now, I shouldn’t have shouldered much of that finances when I’m only relying on allowances that I did not even earn myself.
At this point I couldn’t even put in a list anymore all the things I’ve bought impulsively over the years, but I’m still a victim of them at times. I try to be better for the most part, by arming myself with as much resilience to temptation as I can. This was a lot worse back in college, and now at least it has improved. A lot of my impulsive purchases are about clothing (didn’t fit, didn’t suit my style) and food (excessive takeouts and dine-outs) and now, if I do succumb to impulsive purchase, it is most likely dine-outs or miscellaneous items.
As just mentioned, I’m practicing better financial choices day by day. I cook more food than I buy prepared food. I reuse more than I buy new. I use until it’s worn out then that’s the only time I buy new. It’s simple choices but if added all up, it would somehow create an impact in the future.
Now, my financial goal are as follows:
(1) To establish an emergency fund, especially the job market I’m in is quite uncertain and I have career goals that might put my job at risk.
(2) I also want to save enough to slowly start traveling in the next year or so. As much as I can, I want to experience other cultures while I’m still quite young. I know that once I get older or have more responsibilities, it would be a bit trickier for me to do this so I’d like to take the opportunity while I can. In the last year and a half as well, I’ve only been in the Middle East as I’ve been trying to lock in a job that is secure at the least. Now that I’m in that is fairly secure, I’d like to take the chance to focus on this next step.
(3) I also want to establish something for my future self. And by future, I mean my 30+ year old self. This May, I procured my first health/life insurance and investment, which is something I’d been hoping to have since I started working. It’s a fairly low investment that won’t take much from my day-to-day allowance but it’s good to keep something for future. Time is not going backwards and it’s also a very important source that I can’t take back once spent, so it’s best to invest it this way.
How about you? What’s your worst mistake, and what’s your financial goals at the moment?