Ten Big Mistakes

Ten Big Mistakes #10: Poor Goal Setting

A good goal, no matter how big it is, gives you an exact target to shoot for, a way of measuring your progress towards that goal, and the possibility of activity today to move you towards that goal. At the start of my financial journey, I had no specific goals, either in the short term …

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Ten Big Mistakes #9: Bad Influences

I surrounded myself with friends who constantly encouraged poor financial choices. Most of my social circle during my early professional years consisted of people who placed a great deal of social worth on consumption. Respect and friendship were doled out based on the elecronics you owned, the clothes you wore, the golf clubs you had, …

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Ten Big Mistakes #8: Credit Card as Emergency Fund

I treated my credit card as my emergency fund. In late 2004, the brakes failed (in a nearly catastrophic fashion) on my 1997 Ford F150. For whatever reason, the brake cylinders chose to collapse as I was attempting to stop at a stoplight. I nearly caused a very large accident, but I managed to get …

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Ten Big Mistakes #7: Stuff Without the Time to Enjoy It

I bought many expensive (and inexpensive) items without adequate time to enjoy them. One of the most cathartic things I did in the immediate aftermath of the choice to turn my financial life around was to simply go through our apartment in order to collect stuff to sell in order to give a big initial …

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Ten Big Mistakes #6: Children Have Huge Financial Ramifications

I had a child without understanding the financial consequences of it. When I was in college, one of my closest friends was a young woman whose parents had conceived her at pretty much the last possible moment from a biological standpoint. While she had a great relationship with her parents, I couldn’t help but see …

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Ten Big Mistakes #5: Worrying About What Others Think

Avoiding Spending to Appease Others I used to focus entirely too much on what other people thought of me. Throughout my teen years and adult life, I bought many, many things with an eye almost exclusively on what others thought of me. My clothes. My education and career choices. My gadgets. My housing. My automobile. …

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Ten Big Mistakes #4: Blaming Others for Challenges

If you want to find scapegoats in your life, almost everyone can find a lot of them. At the start of my financial journey, I blamed others for the challenges in my life. Avoiding Blaming Others for Your Decisions You are the Key to Solving Your Problems I was born with legal blindness in my …

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Ten Big Mistakes #3: Lifestyle Funded by Credit Cards

Avoiding the Trap of Credit Card Debt I spent more than I earned and made up for the difference with credit cards. How I Accumulated Credit Card Debt It started in college. The bookstore offered a discount on textbooks if you signed up for a card. I signed up. Later, I used that card to …

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Ten Big Mistakes #2: Career Choices Based Solely on Earnings

Avoiding the Trap of Choosing Money Over Passion I chose a career path for the money instead of one that matched my passions and skills. During my high school years, I felt fairly certain what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be writer, preferably a science fiction writer. I was absolutely …

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Ten Big Mistakes #1: Student Loans as Lifestyle Support

Avoiding the Trap of Student Loans My first few years in college were supported by a collection of scholarships that covered my tuition, room, and board. However, it was up to me to come up with the means of supporting myself over my final two years in school. As is the case for a lot …

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