How do I overcome a BIG financial mistake?

by budgetqueen on May 2, 2013

An article by BudgetQueen

FutureTo me, finances are like a giant game of Blackjack. You play the odds, but sometimes you still go with your gut. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win. To win at Blackjack, you just have to win more often than you lose. After you lose a hand you get wiser and make better decisions. Sometimes if you lose too much, you may need to even walk away.

Finances are the same thing. You cannot always win. You get laid off, the economy is tough, or your house goes down in value. But you do end up "winning" a few hands too. You get a job, you go to college, you build a family, or you find a house.

You also win by doing smart financial things such as paying off a credit card, living on a budget, investing in your 401K or finding a reliable car. Investing in a money market account is a winning hand as well! Always make sure you’re earning the best money market rate possible.

Step one: Admit, “That was my choice!”

So you made a big mistake and put your money in the wrong stock. Or you chose to live off credit cards through college and now you have to pay it back with a student loan. Sometimes you lose all of your money due to a divorce or a medical condition. WE HAVE ALL DONE IT. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or they have not had enough fun in his or her life. You can survive but it will require reflection and discipline.

These two words are very valuable to repeat over and over after a financial mistake –“I chose.” I chose to go back to college – that is why I have a student loan to pay off. I chose a large wedding and now I am paying it off. Others may include “I chose to buy a car I could not afford” or “I chose to invest in something that didn’t pay off.”

Step two: Think of what you learned from it and what to do if it happens again

Sometimes the lesson cost you a lot, but you still had a lot of joy from it, or perhaps you learned a valuable lesson.

“I had a beautiful wedding and a lot of beautiful memories, but I probably wouldn’t spend that much on something again.”

Or, “I have a college degree that no one will ever take away from me.” Finally, “I loaned her that money knowing that she could never pay me back, but I helped a friend when she needed it.”

Step three: Be patient and hold on!

Keep in mind that something like this will probably happen again (hopefully not exactly like it did the first time). You may be faced with job loss in the future. Housing prices rise and fall. We will probably face another financial crisis in another ten years. That is life. However the next time it happens, you will be prepared.

Getting over a financial mistake is not always easy. Sometimes it can take years. But remember to take one bite out of the elephant at a time and you will get there. Also you will find that you will have made many friends, and learned many valuable lessons along the way. Always remember to split Aces and eights! (Sorry a little Blackjack humor.

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