Today’s post is by our Wednesday contributor, Catherine Alford.
Hindsight is always 20/20. I’m truly amazed at just how much I’ve learned about money just in the last year. I have many of you to thank for that.
Personal finance blogs have been an incredible source of information and inspiration for me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked myself for some of the money decisions I’ve made. At the same time I’m glad I figured things out so young, as I know it takes other people many, many years to get their finances straight.
So, in the spirit of sharing it all, here are 4 things I wish I knew about money back in the day.
I Wish I Knew To Take Out Less Student Loans
I took out student loans because they were there. I even had people older and wiser than I am completely encourage me to do so. I didn’t do my own research, and I didn’t know any differently.
I just assumed I would get a job when I graduated and pay them back, just like millions of other students across the country do every year. I should have realized that I had taken out way more than I should have, and every day I am plagued with the now $34,000 that I still owe for my education.
I Wish I Knew About Retirement Accounts Earlier
I started saving for retirement at age 25, but there are many people who start at age 22 when they get their first job or even earlier. Without a company match, I feel like I am already behind many of my contemporaries.
I wish I had tons and tons more money saved but with extensive student loan debt, all I am doing at this time is maxing out my IRA. I definitely want to read more about the topic and try other forms of investments over the next year to diversify.
I Wish I Never Got Into Credit Card Debt
I like using my credit card now, since I get airline miles and pay it off in full every month. But there was a period of about 3 years when I carried around the anxiety of credit card debt.
It grew to about $6,000, which a reader told me once was nothing to write home about. However, it felt like a ton of money to me, and working hard over 18 months to get rid of it was one of my biggest money accomplishments.
I Wish I Had Started My Blog Sooner
Okay, it’s not exactly a money regret, but my blog community has had such a positive influence on my finances that had I started it just a year sooner, I could have probably avoided many of the mistakes above. Plus, I would have had side hustle income much sooner, which would have helped with my debt!
Okay, now it’s your turn. What are a few things you wish you knew about money back in the day?