5 Financial Mistakes Most Regret Committing

14 Dec 2014 

​After meeting and planning for so many people, I start to find that a common pattern was forming. Many a times, they comment regrettably making some kind of financial mistakes. So, here are the 5 most often heard ones.

1. I regret not having a budget.

This is no surprise. Budgeting is such an important life skill and yet it is not taught in any school in Singapore while I was growing up. We learn how to differentiate, sin/cos/tan, Pythagoras theorem, etc by age 16. But know absolutely nothing on how to manage money properly. In addition, I am also quite certain, many school teachers know very little on this subject as well.

2. I regret not having an emergency fund.

Without a proper budget to save, it would be very challenging to build an emergency fund. I was also astonished when some even mentioned that they could resort to borrowing if the need arises. No wonder the concept of insurance seems so repulsive when this basic concept of an emergency fund to insure against the unforeseen is not even present.

3. I regret the kind of spending lifestyle.

It is only after the fact that regrets sets in. At the initial stage, many would desire the instant gratification, without much consideration of the consequences. After some time, most realise that keeping up with the Jones, chasing the latest fads and trends amount to nothing. This unsustainable spending for the sake of “face” – the lavish wedding, luxurious honeymoon, upgrading cars, latest gadgets & fashion, etc was pretty much pointless.

4. I regret not investing appropriately.

They are mainly divided into 2 groups. First, those who regret not investing at all, and see their savings and income not keep up with inflation. Second, those who invest but not appropriately, sometimes taking ill advise from others to invest and ultimately suffered a substantial loss. It is important to learn about investing to invest appropriately as one should take ownership of one’s own investments. Moreover, learn early to start investing at an early stage.

5. I regret not taking up health insurance early.

When one is healthy, the thought of falling ill would have been very remote. Hence, the concern of having coverage is the least of concerns. Usually, it is only when a health screening or pain sets in and the diagnosis require medical attention, before reality sets in. By that time, it may be too late to take up any health insurance. Some may even think that the employers group insurance is sufficient, only to realize near retirement that they will not be working and covered forever.

I feel fortunate to have heard these points at a young age and can learn from others. I share this in a hope that others will not commit the same mistakes.

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