My Most Memorable Money Mistake

There’s no other feeling quite like it.

Whether it was cheated from you, stolen, or simply fell out of your pockets, losing money has an unmistakable tinge of regret; mixed with anger, a pinch of sadness, and a dash of disbelief.

Of course, there’s an emotional difference between misplacing a toonie ($2 CDN), or watching the penny stock you invested your life savings into plummet right before your eyes.

While only one of these scenarios has ever happened to me (knock on wood!), I still had the unfortunate experience of losing large amounts of money in a very short period of time.  

I won’t get into specifics, but I’ll never forget that eventful chapter in my past.  It’s left a lasting impression on me to this day, and has ultimately shaped the way I now manage my finances.  

What happens to you physiologically when you lose a lot of money?  It’s the same reaction gamblers get when they bet big and lose.  

First, your body immediately floods with adrenaline.  Your pupils dilate, your mouth becomes dry, and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  Then, your heart begins racing through your chest, your palms get clammy, and you start experiencing lightheadedness.  Having a close encounter with death is a genuine—albeit far more dramatic—comparison to the rush you get when losing large amounts of money.

Although making money mistakes is embarrassing, I’m not ashamed of making them; or any mistakes for that matter.  I’m invigorated by the challenges that present themselves whenever I screw up, which (if you ask Jennifer), is quite often!  It’s whether I’ve learned from these missteps that determines if my personal growth has become stagnant, or if I’m still capable of bettering myself.  You cannot evolve and mature without making mistakes.  The lessons I’ve learned all had a profound lasting effect, which guides me through any tough decisions I have to make further on down the road.

Yes, there’ve been many times when my blunders have had devastating consequences (financially and emotionally), and my future’s outlook seemed bleak.  However, looking back upon those moments now, I’ve come to recognize them for what they are: roadblocks that eventually formed the foundations of my character, integrity, and temperament.  

At 34 years old, I’ve finally renounced my care-free attitude towards money and done away with as many irresponsible habits that I’ve stubbornly clung on to.  Better late than never, right?

But getting to this point in my life has been arduous—filled with countless setbacks and crippling failures.  You (or someone you know), may have faced the same set of circumstances but called it quits, conceding to the fact you were never meant to be adept with money.  I’ve had the same frustrating doubts!

So what makes me special?  Why am I still here writing to you about something I’m not that particularly good at, while others more qualified have decided to master something else?

It’s because I’m truly passionate about personal finance. 

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Well, I genuinely enjoy combing through budgets, living frugally, and analyzing investments.  It’s not a chore for me to save for retirement, pay myself first, or shop around for the lowest insurance rates.

Anything personal finance related sparks a deep enthusiasm in me.  For some people it’s vintage automobiles.  Others religiously track their favourite sports teams.  For me, it’s anything that helps to achieve the long term goal of steadily increasing my net worth.  No amount of mistakes will detract me from this ambition!

Now, this isn’t to say I’ll never make another mistake with money again.  Just to prove otherwise, here are some of the most recent ways I’ve let money carelessly slip through my fingers:

  • getting in and out of whole life insurance
  • gambling
  • investing too heavily into one stock
  • reversing my car door into a snow bank
  • getting a parking ticket
  • going shopping with Jennifer

Okay, the last one is a necessary evil, and I consider it more of an investment towards my future physical well-being more than anything else!  

Despite writing previous posts on how living frugally will make you rich and budgeting, I’m merely sharing the knowledge and wisdom I’ve learned from others that have worked well for me.  Through books, videos, blogs, etc. I’m constantly absorbing pertinent information like a sponge because I’m sincerely passionate about the subject matter.

So what was really my most memorable money mistake?  

It was losing close to $1 million dollars.

Whether that’s metaphorically or literally, I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination!

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