My biggest financial regret was allowing myself to get credit cards while I was in college and then allowing them to default when I was married. The biggest lessons in life seem to be learned the hard way. That is the case with me and money. My biggest financial regret was getting lured into accepting almost every credit card that was offered to me and then mishandling them.
As a young blossoming college student, I had no idea about credit and the importance of having good credit. I only knew that it was “fun” to buy now and pay later. I was offered Master cards, Visa cards, department store cards and cards from all other companies in between. I had acquired at least six or seven credit cards while in college and refused only one, which required full payment every month. Unfortunately for me, there were no warning labels that came with the credit cards, nor were there any classes about credit (at college) for those who were non-finance majors. At first, I was quite responsible with the cards until I began to use too many at once. Buy now and pay later might seem like a beautiful concept until you begin to overspend.
Having a credit card to take out became a very bad habit. Once I got married, it was easy to charge everything that I needed to decorate our first home. I charged a television, linens, towels and even pots and pans. Almost everything that was needed to make us comfortable in our first apartment was charged. After charging and charging and charging, it became quite evident that there was no way that I was going to be able to repay all those companies in a timely manner.
I was young and ignorant of money matters and my spouse, who I was married to back then, was also naive. We were both novices to the world of money management and good credit ratings. My credit score dropped below 500. A good credit score is suppose to be above 700. In 2005 I had to file bankruptcy to try and get my finances in order. Since getting carried away with credit cards, I had developed a habit of not paying bills on time. This was definitely a buy-now-pay-later attitude that had really gone south.
Little did I know that, after finishing college, I would still be trying to rebuild my credit 20 years later. If I had only known this while in college, I would have refused all offers of credit cards. In fact, I would not have bought into the concept of buying now and paying later.
Those who find themselves in a similar situation need to get with a financial counselor as soon as possible. They need to learn how to budget and stick to their budget. In addition, only major things such as houses and cars should be bought on credit. Everything else should be paid in cash. For many years I endured garnishments and the loss of my income tax return. I am finally through with all of that and have come out of this period of financial darkness much better than when I first went into the credit quicksand. There is a light at the end of a credit card meltdown, but every effort must be made to get help early in order to deal with the mounting debt.
In conclusion, my biggest financial regret caused me to live on less over the past two decades due to my mounting bills. However, I finally learned from my early mistake that paying with cash is much better than utilizing credit cards. I currently use a debit card for my purchases online.
In addition, I am still trying to push my way into good credit. Although, I have not gotten to that level yet, I have learned an important life lesson. I have learned that everything that glitters is not really gold. I have also learned that I do not have to acquire everything right now. Some things that are worth having are worth the wait. Consequently, my biggest financial regret of acquiring numerous credit cards and then mishandling them was not a good experience; however, it taught me to purchase things with cash instead of crediting my future away.