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For me, a Ford Expedition is the ultimate picture of regret. When I was young, I just had to have one. I was young and I was successful, so why not? I did what everybody else does (the first clue that I was making a BIG mistake), and I took on a $600 car payment. Ouch.
Let me tell you what those five years of $600 payments cost me. If I’d invested that money in my 20s instead of paying the bank, I’d have more than $1 million extra sitting in my retirement account in my 60s. That "must have" vehicle cost me a million dollars. One SUV. One million dollars. I still twitch a little when I see an Expedition.
Maybe your picture of regret looks a little different. It may be that closet of high-end clothes you rarely wear or the 75-inch Ultra HD 4K TV in the family room. Everybody has regrets, especially when it comes to finances. But not everybody deals with regret in the right way. You could let that mistake weigh you down or you could learn from it and move on. Here are a few ways to deal with those mistakes:
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1. Own It!
Don’t blame somebody else. Don’t point the finger at your life situation or your spouse or a great marketing ploy. You made a mistake with your money. Period. And guess what? That’s okay—as long as you learn from that mistake. Refusing to take responsibility leaves you open to repeat your mistake. And that’s not okay!
2. Forgive Yourself
I get it—forgiving others is a whole lot easier than forgiving yourself. But staying angry at yourself doesn’t get you any closer to your retirement dreams. It just keeps you discouraged. And when you’re down, you’re more likely to make mistakes’including money mistakes. It can be a dangerous downward spiral. Just don’t go there! Your past doesn’t determine your future unless you let it, so move on.
Let the mistakes you made serve a greater purpose. What can they teach you? Use the lessons you learn to create new goals in your life. Your past mistakes can be the inspiration you need to get serious and make a plan.
Your past doesn’t determine your future unless you let it, so move on. @ChrisHogan360
3. Let it Motivate You
Regret is a useless emotion unless you respond to it with action and a willingness to change. What are you going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? When regret rears its ugly head, use that feeling to kick your retirement planning into high gear. Recommit yourself to getting out of debt. Increase how much you put away each month. Alter your vacation plans so you can catch up on your retirement savings.
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4. Tell Your Story
Mama Hogan taught me lots of life lessons. I plan to do the same with my boys. When it’s time, I’ll tell them my Expedition story. I want them to build on my victories and learn from my failures. You can tell your story too. I know that’s a little scary, but God can use you to influence others. And wouldn’t it feel great to know you kept somebody from making the same mistake?
Think about regret like the rearview mirror in your car. Check it every once in a while to remind you to make better financial decisions. But remember why the rearview mirror is so small compared to the windshield—you drive by looking forward, not backward! See that big windshield as a symbol of hope for what lies ahead. And hope is what you need to keep driving toward your retirement dream!
For more inspiration, come see Chris Hogan, Anthony ONeal and Dave Ramsey on the Smart Money Tour coming to a city near you this spring! And if you’re ready to turn your retirement fears into dreams, order your copy of Chris Hogan’s best-selling book Retire Inspired today!
About Chris Hogan
Chris Hogan is the #1 national best-selling author of Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age. It’s a Financial Number and host of the Retire Inspired Podcast. A popular and dynamic speaker on the topics of personal finance, retirement and leadership, Hogan helps people across the country develop successful strategies to manage their money in both their personal lives and businesses. You can follow Hogan on Twitter and Instagram at @ChrisHogan360, and online at chrishogan360.com or facebook.com/chrishogan360.