Money Genie: I Grant You 3 Financial Do-Overs

Today is your lucky day! The personal finance genie has graced this site with his presence. What’s he doing here? Well, he has come to grant you 3 financial do-overs.


photo by: tony newell

What Would You Change Financially If You Had the Chance?

The genie wants to know what financial decisions you would change if given the chance. Do you wish you began investing at 18? Do you wish you never set eyes on that guy giving away t-shirts in college if you signed up for a credit card? Here are my 3 wishes:

1. I wish I never saw a credit card in my life

I’ve never wanted to get too much into detail about our personal finances because some people who read this blog obviously know me. However, I will admit that I have made some bad decisions concerning credit cards over my lifetime. I received my first card at 18 and I could just feel the immense power that it had. That power caused me to feel financially invincible and it caused me much financial harm. Let’s just say that it will take me quite awhile to dig myself out of this financial hole that I have dug.

If this wish came true, I would live my life with MUCH less stress. As many of you know, debt puts a huge weight on your shoulders. You have to continually focus on the final outcome of being debt free. Having that vision helps you continue the battle and kill debt a lot faster. I cannot wait for that day to come!

2. I wish I fully funded my Roth IRA every year since I opened it 7 years ago

All I can say is that I started out on the right path. I opened a Roth IRA when I was 18 (actually, my uncle did it for me). However, over the years I completely neglected it and managed to only put around $1,500 into it. I know a lot of you will say that I lucked out because of the market collapse, but I do not see it that way. If I would have put the max in each year ($31,000 total) and invested it in an index fund (Vanguard Total Market),  I would only have around $27,000 in the account. Frankly, that sucks. However, that would be $26,000 more than I currently have in it and if I had done that every year, I imagine my credit card debt wouldn’t be as high.

3. I wish I would have paid my way through college and not taken on student debt

Looking back, I know I would have been able to pay my way through college (undergraduate AND graduate). Yet what do I have to show for it? Many times the average debt of a typical college student. In plain english, I was stupid. I really have no idea where the money went that I earned while working during college. It could have easily went to my school and yet it didn’t. I just want to scream from the hilltops for being so dumb. Don’t get yourself in the same mess I did. PAY CASH FOR COLLEGE!

I really wish there was a money genie and he could take care of all my financial woes. Unfotunately, there isn’t and I will have to live with my decisions and learn from them. 

What are your top three financial mistakes? Share them with us in the comments!

Do you have a blog? Share your financial do-over wishes with your readers! Link back to this article so we can have a collection of them all. Hopefully this can be a large resource for younger individuals (college students) on what NOT to do financially at a young age.


The genie has been making his way around the blogosphere. Check out some of the places that he has been:

Mrs Micah

Suburban Dollar

Budgets are Sexy

Free Money Finance

Joe Taxpayer

Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Punch Debt In the Face

Fighting Foreclosure

My Financial Recovery


My name is Adam and I am in debt. Yep, I came out and said it in the first sentence. I hope that shows you how passionate I am about getting out of debt and enjoying life in the process. Join my wife and me on our journey and be sure to contribute to the great discussions. You can get FREE email updates about the site as soon as they are posted. If you would like to hear our whole story, visit my about page. Thanks for visiting!

26 Responses to Money Genie: I Grant You 3 Financial Do-Overs
  1. Kyle
    May 26, 2009 | 12:23 PM

    My 3 Wishes are:

    1.) I wish I had never bought a brand new car (3 times)

    2.) I wish I had not bought my house with 100% financing at the peak of the housing boom.

    3.) I wish I had taken more interest in my financial future from an early age.

    Kyle’s last blog post..179th Festival of Frugality – Memorial Day Edition

  2. Yana
    May 26, 2009 | 12:27 PM

    The only mistake I can think of is that of taking out a student loan. Like you, I came to believe that one shouldn’t borrow money for education. I didn’t understand enough about the lending/repayment system to be involved in it, and was literally forced to pay the student loan off when I could least afford to do so – because the government sent some goon to my door to serve me with papers. I paid it off by incurring credit card debt. I had excellent credit at that time, and plenty of available credit. The telephone collector that had harrassed me on the phone before someone came to my door did not believe the information I gave regarding my income at that time. I found these people so filthy and frightening, that I wouldn’t even pay them off with my own check. I took out cash advances and had someone else write the check for me.

    While I’ve come a long way since then, that experience was key in my current attitude about credit and debt. I could not pay that debt, and it ended up that I ruined my credit as a consequence. Now I don’t use credit, never pay interest, and spend much less into the economy than those who buy what they can’t afford.

  3. MoneyEnergy
    May 26, 2009 | 3:16 PM

    1. I wish I had saved money from a period in my life where I was working three jobs at once.
    2. I wish I had started investing in DRIPs sooner and with more money at a time.
    3. I wish I had known about using cashflow through dividends in order to get closer to financial freedom sooner.

  4. J. Money
    May 26, 2009 | 4:48 PM

    Oooooh I believe this is my favorite post you’ve ever done. Good work my friend! I think i’ll post a little somethin’ somethin’ myself and link back 😉

    J. Money’s last blog post..The Price of Faith: Muslim & Jewish Financial Challenges

  5. morning_coffee
    May 27, 2009 | 10:51 AM

    I’ve done a few things right and a few things wrong. I’m 34 now.

    1. I wish I would have taken a crappy job; instead of no job right out of college.
    I made it though college with only $1500 of debt. However, my first year out of school, I incurred $20,000 in debt. It happened quickly, but it took ten years to pay it off.

    2. I wish I would have contributed the max to Roth IRA’s and 401k’s.
    My wife and I opened Roth IRA’s when we were married, but we don’t fully fund them as we should. We contribute close to the max in our 401k’s, but we could do more.

    3. I wish I would have bought more property and acted sooner.
    I bought investment property, and I still own it. I’m actually doing OK on it; especially considering the current real estate climate. I wish I would have bought more real estate for rental income. So much of financial freedom is acting quickly but confidently when you see opportunity.

    I’d like life to work like financial calculators, but they don’t. Make sure to live on way less than you make. Try to save as much as you can in investment vehicles like roth’s and 401k’s. Also, develop a big stack of cash that you can take advantage of opportunities. Buy appreciating assets like real estate, not depreciating assets like cars.

  6. Money Dieter
    May 27, 2009 | 1:40 PM

    1. I wished I supported myself through college instead of taking out a loan.

    2. I wished I lived more frugally.

    3. I wished I started budgeting way earlier!

  7. Matt @ My Financial Recovery
    May 28, 2009 | 1:53 PM

    Wow – I am with J$ on this one – I love the idea here and will likely have to run a little something myself (giving credit of course) as well.


    Matt @ My Financial Recovery’s last blog post..Our First Allowance Pay Day

  8. Debt Ninja
    May 28, 2009 | 4:18 PM

    Great post. Pretty neat to see all the different PF bloggers you have inspired. Keep it up homie!

    Debt Ninja’s last blog post..The best financial moves I’ve ever made.

  9. Adam
    May 28, 2009 | 8:49 PM

    Thanks to everyone who has posted on their site! It was great reading them all. I knew this idea could catch on!

  10. Clair Schwan of Frugal Living Freedom
    May 29, 2009 | 12:54 PM

    My three are easy:

    1) creating a “legal estate” with a financially responsible individual
    2) starting my own business earlier
    3) moving to a tax free state much sooner

    Nevertheless, all of our poor decisions have led us to where we are now and we’re better for it. Being able to patch up errors of the past would lead us in a different direction, and it might not be a great as what we have made for ourselves now based on our less than stellar decision-making.


  11. Single Guy Money
    June 1, 2009 | 11:14 PM

    My 3 are:

    1. Not taking out the max amount of student loans.
    2. Not getting a credit card until later in life.
    3. Not buying a new car every 2 years.

    Single Guy Money’s last blog post..Do You Have A Slush Fund?

  12. LB
    June 4, 2009 | 6:13 PM

    I really don’t see anything financially that I would take back. I have learned from every thing I have done and wouldn’t take any back. I have played it safe though: I never owned a brand new car, I own a mobile home that is payed off instead of jumping into a home I couldn’t afford, and am saving so I can go back and finish college. I would like to fund my 401k more, but since I had crappy jobs, I figured other things were more important and it only got about 15% of my income.

  13. Adam
    June 4, 2009 | 7:33 PM

    @LB – I agree with you. I have also learned from everything that I have done and am better because of it. I may not be better financially but at least I have something to write about!

    • Michelle
      June 8, 2010 | 6:05 AM

      Adam, and LB, I agree with you both, I doubt, there is much people in the entire world who doesn’t have debt, whether it be a $10 or a $100,000 debt, bottomline is, it’s still a debt. What’s important is that we know we’re in debt and are willing to financially improve ourselves. Eventually, with hard work, we’ll get to pay it off. It’s better to realize the mistakes we’ve made now, than to never realize at all. I’m doing the same thing you are LB, saving up to go back to college. I think I’ve actually grown allergic to borrowing money.
      .-= Michelle´s lastest post ..Business Cash Advance Financing For Equipment =-.

  14. Sarah
    July 5, 2009 | 11:57 AM

    1. First wish–That someone would help me like I helped all those when they were down on thier luck.
    2.Second wish–I wish I had made my kids sign a contract that when I bought them a new car after thier dad died,that someday they would all 3 have bought me one when I
    was elderly and needful of one.
    3.Third wish–I wish that a good christian man of my own faith and with money and the good life and could play music and sing like an angel would come and call me darling and plant a kiss that would wipe away all my sorrows and he and I would love each other like no other. lol I often dream that the big frog in the pond by my house turns into a prince and sweeps my heart away. He talks to me at night and I talk to him,I think we have good report,,but so far he in a very manly voice just says; Sarah you are my princess. lol hahahaha
    I should not complain,,,as I am very blessed.Thank you God.

  15. StackingCash
    July 9, 2009 | 3:03 AM

    1. Investing in CD’s instead of the mutual fund that my father’s life insurance agent sold me in 1995.
    2. Investing in CD’s instead of the dot-com bubble of 1998-2001
    3. Investing in CD’s instead of the financial crisis of 2007-2009.
    That’s why my name is StackingCash 🙂 I was tempted to get into precious metals and real estate but I figure cash is safer. If cash becomes worthless I think there will be some sort of revolution/civil war and I better learn how to become a hunter/farmer/survivalist. I love this post because it gives others the opportunity to learn from others mistakes!

  16. mark romious m. ison
    February 28, 2010 | 10:15 PM

    first wish i need new pants with unlimited left side $50000 us dollar and from right side with unlimited P10.000philippines money

    second wish my life is immortal

    third wish my height is taller than 6’2 and to be a basketball mvp with my dream to be the gratest mvp player of all time thanks and i wish when i thinking someone i know what he think it and the last and the final wish from my third wish when i look some question i know what the answer

  17. mark romious m. ison
    February 28, 2010 | 10:21 PM

    first wish i need pants with the right is unlimited $100.0000 and from left side with unlimited P10.000 Philippines peso
    .-= mark romious m. ison´s lastest post ..Miss Me? =-.

  18. mark romious m. ison
    February 28, 2010 | 10:22 PM

    first wish i need pants with the right is unlimited $100.0000 and from left side with unlimited P10.000 Philippines peso my address is 267 mabinihomste cabanatuan city philippines

  19. bhleigh
    March 29, 2010 | 5:51 PM

    1) Only took out a student loan for my tuition balance. I got a loan that covered “education” so anything that I deemed was education related (rent, spring break to Scotland, food, PSU football game tickets, etc.) was covered by this 9.9% interest loan. I would have graduated with only $30,000 in student loans and not $60,000.

    2) Fully funded my Roth IRA and TSP accounts since I opened them. Lets see, 10 years x $5000 or $50,000 in the Roth IRA, and 5 years x $16,500 or $82,500 in my TSP for a grand total of $99,000 in savings. At this rate, I would be able to retire at age 48, or 25 years in Fed service, and never have to work again!

    3) Not start an online get rich-quick business in 2009 which cost me about $45,000. I was a sucker and fell hook line and sinker for this. I understand my mistake and I am moving forward.
    .-= bhleigh´s lastest post ..Time Saver: Using a Feed Reader =-.

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