It's no secret that personal finance is a journey — nearly all of us make money mistakes when we're young.
Well, in the r/AskWomen subreddit, user u/_Fragariavesca_ recently posed the question, "What is the worst financial decision you've ever made?"
Here are some of the top-voted responses:
1."For 16 years, my ex-husband absolutely destroyed my credit. Anytime I built up a savings, he spent it all. Then, it turns out the last two years of our marriage, he was cheating on me, abandoned his kids, and was spending my money on her and her kids. Never again will I mix finances. Love truly makes you blind."
2."Getting my master’s degree. I’ve never transitioned into that career, and based on my location, it’s highly unlikely that I ever will. I consider it wasted money that I could’ve invested for the long term."
3."Quitting my job with no backup plan, then going on three vacations pretty much back-to-back and spending all my savings."
"I did this, and I absolutely have regrets. Three years later, and my savings is back at the half-way point. Every once in a while, I kick myself for not making a down payment on a house instead, but you live and you learn. My version of three vacations was one long roadtrip."
4."Spending $20k on a wedding. If I could go back, I would've eloped and traveled for a month. I'm not a social person, so basically, it was just a really expensive panic attack."
5."Dating my ex. He stole a couple grand from my mom for our 'rent' that he didn't pay, crashed my car, and refused to pay the $3k repairs, and stole hundreds from my birthday money from my grandma. He also hacked my PayPal to return himself the $200 he did actually pay me back. The rent tanked my credit, and I still owe the electric company $500 that he didn't pay with the money he 'borrowed' from me and my mom."
"Ding ding ding. Definitely the kid!"
7."Taking out student loans."
"Yeah, was scrolling for this one. Predatory loans taking advantage of 18-year-olds. I know that for some people, the gamble pays off, but for many, it’s a decades-long financial problem."
8."Put a car loan for someone else in my name. WORST MISTAKE EVER."
9."Excessive shopping. Credit card debt. Not learning to budget and save more when I was younger."
"Getting a credit card. Sure, I needed to build my credit, but as a young teenager, I did not know how to stop. Now as a 24-year-old, I'm working on filing for bankruptcy."
10."Moving in with my boyfriend in another state with no other support system. We ended up separating, and I still had to pay rent because of the year-long contract while paying rent for my new apartment. I had to buy a plane ticket because I moved states, the cost of shipping to move all of my stuff, and the cost of transportation. Was a terrible year in my life."
11."Buying into a timeshare thing."
"Ugh, my husband drags me to timeshare meetings because we get free points for hotel stays just for going, but it stresses me out! I hate the pressure and manipulation of it all, but my husband doesn't care at all, never falls for their tactics, and antagonizes them a little bit."
12."Not working during most of the pandemic. I rage-quit my job right before lockdown and couldn’t find another, so I decided to take some time off. It was amazing, but I drained my savings. Took me close to a decade to save over $50k, and I had hoped to buy a house. By the time I started a real job again, I'd used nearly all of it and had to start from square one."
"The worst part was knowing I would have to save millions in order to support myself after retirement, because $50k lasted me about a year."
13."Buying a Land Rover. Friends don’t let friends buy Land Rovers."
14."Putting my new husband's name on my house that I bought with my own funds prior to marriage. In the divorce, I had to buy him out of MY house and pay him interest. In my opinion, NEVER add a spouse or a partner's name to ANYTHING you owned prior to marriage or them moving in with you. Don't put them on your bank, your phone plan, or your car loan. Nothing!"
"It took me years to recover. Because of this, I would never remarry without a strict prenup."
15."Not learning/wanting to cook for myself."
16."It was taking out a payday loan. The interest caused it to spiral, and I got to the point where the company was absorbing my entire paycheck before I could pay any bills. Then I’d have to borrow again, which was an ugly cycle."
"Those places are evil."
17."Meeting my ex-fiancé. I paid $15k for a wedding I never got to have."
18."I didn’t have the option to have a 401(k) through work until my late 20s. I should’ve started a retirement fund on my own. Then again, I wouldn’t have been able to contribute to it anyway."
19.And finally, "Not buying a house in 2006 when I was 4 years old."
Have you ever made a terrible financial decision? Share your experience in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.