Browse Category: Dumb Financial Decisions

Dumb Financial Decisions

Dumb Financial Decisions: Not Making The Buy Decision

FIREOver the past quarter century, I have bought and sold dozens of individual stocks in my brokerage account and through Dividend Reinvestment Plans.

Some of my trades have been big winners.

And some have been big losers.

But thinking back over a period of decades, even the biggest winners and the biggest losers tend to fade from my memory.

The trades I actually tend to remember the most are the ones I didn’t make.
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Dumb Financial Decisions: Little Things Add Up Quickly

Early RetirementLast week, a colleague mentioned to a group of us at work that he had just signed a contract on a new home.

While answering lots of questions and accepting lots of congratulations, he casually mentioned that his new commute would only be seven or eight minutes longer each way.

The consensus of my co-workers was that amount of time was essentially irrelevant.

Driven by my FIRE-focused brain, I, of course, immediately grabbed my calculator to start quantifying the impact those “meaningless” seven or eight minutes would have over the course of a year.

The results were not pretty.

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Dumb Financial Decisions: Financial Fails From Our Walt Disney World Vacation

Financial IndependenceLast month the ROMT family made our first trip to Walt Disney World!

While both Mrs. ROMT and I had visited in the past, this trip was the first time our elementary school-aged children visited Florida and the House of the Mouse.

All in all, we had a great family vacation and made lots of memories with one another. We’ll share some of the highlights in this and future posts.

Along the way, we also made a number of smart – and dumb – financial decisions.

We’ll focus on the poor financial decisions associated with our vacation in today’s post, and save the good financial news for next time around!

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Dumb Financial Decisions: Buying A Home That Is Too Big

Dumb Financial DecisionsEarlier this year, I wrote about our Smart Financial Decision to pay off our mortgage.

Today I’m once again writing about our home, but this time, we’ll be revisiting a Dumb Financial Decision.

Quite simply, when we bought our home six years ago, we purchased a larger house than we really needed.

And the financial ramifications of that decision continue to negatively impact our personal finances every day. Continue Reading

Dumb Financial Decisions: Selling My Potential Rental Property

Financial IndependenceAlmost twenty years ago, when I was single and in my mid-twenties, I purchased my first home after several years of renting.

It was not fancy.

It was a simple two bedroom townhouse, with a one car garage, and a postage stamp of a backyard.

I got a great deal on the place, as I was able to purchase it as a foreclosure for well under $50,000. I dumped my life savings (outside of my retirement accounts) into the purchase, so I did not have a mortgage, which was a huge benefit as I tried to rebuild my financial safety net.

After living in my townhouse for over four years, I decided to return to school full time to pursue a master’s degree in an effort to change careers.

And then I made a financial decision I thought was prudent at the time.

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Dumb Financial Decisions: Not Taking Care of Myself

Early RetirementI have a confession to make to my readers:

I have horrible eating habits, don’t exercise nearly enough, and do a poor job managing stress.

The result is that right now I’m 20 pounds overweight, lack the energy I had a decade ago, and am likely headed towards significant health problems in the coming years if I don’t do a better job taking care of myself.

People on the path to financial independence and early retirement generally do a good job prioritizing future needs over present wants. Without a lot of planning and discipline around one’s finances, it’s hard to successfully make the journey to financial independence.

But this almost blind focus on the future – I just need to put my head down for the next five years, work hard, spend prudently, and invest well, and then life will be perfect! – can have a detrimental impact on the present.

It certainly has happened to me.

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Garage Sale

Dumb Financial Decisions: The Unplanned Garage Sale

For the first five years in our home, we successfully avoided participating in the annual garage sale our neighborhood holds every June.

The thought of hauling boxes of our junk outside into the driveway, then standing around getting sunburned while making small talk with strangers as they pawed through our stuff, before being offered pennies on the dollar for our belongings, really didn’t excite me.

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Dumb Financial Decisions: My Long Commute

Wasting Money
My Long Commute Burns Up The Benjamins

A well-known episode of the animated television series South Park is entitled “Simpsons Already Did It”.

In the episode, Butters/Professor Chaos tries to find a way to destroy the town of South Park. To his dismay, he discovers every one of his ideas has already been a plot on the long-running animated television series The Simpsons.

As an aspiring blogger on early retirement and financial independence, I’m finding the corollary in this world is “Mr. Money Mustache Already Did It”.

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Dumb Financial Decisions: The Water Heater

While I like to think I am an intelligent person, who usually makes good financial decisions, like everyone else, I make mistakes.

The @#$%^&* Water Heater

When our family bought our home in 2011, I encountered something I had never experienced before: the previous owners rented the water heater from the local utility, and paid them on a monthly basis for the privilege of using it.

This seemed odd to me, as although water heaters are expensive, most are priced well below $1,000. The furnace, the central air, and even some of the kitchen appliances were more expensive than the water heater, and they weren’t being rented.

There must be some benefit to renting the water heater, rather than owning it, I thought to myself. Perhaps if the water tank failed and leaked all over my basement, the utility would be responsible for the damages as the owner?

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