Career mentor Bud Bilanich deemed November 4th National Use Your Common Sense Day. In honor of this special day, we would like to share some stories with you. These are stories of times Wela team members and our friends made financial decisions completely devoid of any common sense. In our defense, we were young when we did all these dumb things and we've learned from them. Hopefully, you can too. Happy NUYCSD!
Alex from Wela learns to buy and hold:
Oh man, when bitcoin first got big, I put like $2,000 into it with a friend. We bought at like $40 or something, but the trade was delayed by 3 days because our accounts weren’t verified. In that 3 days bitcoin went from something like $40 to like $350, so we ended up getting in just in time to see the crash. It got worse as we tried to recover our investment by trading litecoin and dogecoin.
Matt from Wela learns the dangers of drinking and tipping:
I went out one night in college with some friends and on a $90 tab, I left the waitress a $900 tip… I wasn’t looking to pick the waitress up either. Just a dumb mistake… which thankfully was caught by the waitress herself. A very nice lady kept me from a very poor (and stupid) financial decision.
Ashley from Wela learns money can't buy her love:
In an attempt to save a doomed relationship I cashed in 2 savings bonds I'd gotten from my Aunt as a kid to pay to fly my ex to California to visit me. On the way to the airport at the end of the visit I was told we weren't getting back together. To make matters worse, the savings bonds hadn't even fully matured yet. Bye bye savings, bye bye relationship.
Eddie from Wela learns if it's too good to be true, it probably is:
When I was in college, I had been bitten by the golf bug. I received some mailer to my apartment that advertised for custom clubs guaranteed to add 15 yards to your drive every time. So of course, I bit. I called in and got totally sold with the idea that I could just return the clubs if I wasn’t happy. Well, I get the clubs in the mail and not only were they not better, I actually played worse with them. When I called to get my money back, I got sent down the most convoluted path requiring me to talk with several people all who simply tried to sell me additional golf equipment. Needless to say, I eventually gave up, never got my money back and gave the clubs away.
Britni from Wela learns she's lucky she works for a financial advisor:
I'm in my first job right now and first time living on my own. I'm broke so I probably shouldn't be spending money. This is why it was so easy for me to say yes when I was offered a store credit card (it was going to save me an extra 15%!). When my I told one of my Wela colleagues I'd opened it she warned me of the dangers of a store card and overspending so I told her I'd just close the card. Wrong answer. If I didn't work for Wela I probably would have been closing credit cards and dinging my credit score for who-knows-how-long until I learned you're not supposed to close credit cards.
Elizabeth from Florida learns the student life was simpler for a reason:
When I first started working out of college I thought I was rolling in cash and I could now afford all the fancy things my parents had. I moved out on my own, got a dog, got the movie channel package, and the worst of them all - a $3k mattress that I put on a payment plan (WITH INTEREST!). Everything was fine until suddenly I realized I was running out of money 3-5 days before my next paycheck would hit. My friends who had their parents old furniture, a gold fish, and the mattress they slept on in high school were going out and having fun and I was pinching pennies to make sure I could buy food.
Eric from Atlanta learns there's nothing wrong with a used car:
I was pretty good with my money and lived modestly. So when I got my first big promotion I decided I needed to indulge a little. I'd been needing a new car and now I had the money for one. I ended up buying a $36k car with all kinds of bells and whistles. Problem was I also still had $80k in student loan debt. So I went from having no car payment to something like $350 a month. I look back on how much of my debt I could have paid off if I'd gotten something cheap that got me from point A to point B. But I was young and had to look cool. You know what's not cool? A huge pile of debt.
What common sense financial mistakes have you made? Tell us in the comments or tweet at us @wela!