Nobody can fully predict the future. Anything can happen, of course.
But that shouldn’t stop us from making wise decisions today that, generally speaking, lead to the best outcomes—both personally and as a society.
Because when it comes to the decisions we make with our money, our choices today create the reality of our tomorrow. They are the building blocks that shape our future.
With that in mind, here are 10 financial decisions you’ll probably regret in 10 years. They may seem minor or inconsequential today, but over time, they can divert you from your path of living a focused, intentional life.
10 Financial Decisions You’ll Regret 10 Years From Now
1. Spending too much money on a car.
A car serves a purpose—it gets you from point A to point B. Spending a significant chunk of your income (or first paycheck) on a really expensive car might make you feel good in the short term, but it depreciates quickly, and the money could have been better spent elsewhere.
Remember, the best way to get ahead financially is to not spend like you already are.
2. Not saving for retirement.
It’s easy to think that retirement is a long way off, especially when you’re in your 20s or 30s. Additionally, the amount of disposable income available to put away might seem insignificant when you’re just starting out.
But the power of compound interest is astounding, and starting early is key. Ten years from now, you’ll wish you had started today. Those small amounts add up. Even more, it gets you in the habit early.
3. Spoiling your kids with whatever they want you to buy them.
It’s natural to want to give our children the world. But indulging their every wish can lead to a sense of entitlement and certainly won’t teach them the value of money. Plus, giving into one request doesn’t stop the next request. Just the opposite, it encourages more and more.
Instead, consider instilling in them the joy of intentional living, minimalism, delayed gratification, and spending wisely. It’s good for kids to hear “no” once in awhile. Just be sure to explain the reason behind your “no” as best you can.
4. Not having an emergency fund.
Life is unpredictable. You might lose your job, have unexpected medical expenses, or need urgent home repairs. An emergency fund can be a lifesaver in these situations, providing you with peace of mind and financial security.
Starting one will require discipline—which is also amazingly helpful to learn.
5. Not learning how to budget.
Budgeting isn’t restrictive; it’s freeing (or sexy). A budget gives you control over your finances and helps ensure you’re spending your money on what truly matters to you. Without a budget, it’s easy to lose track of your spending and end up living paycheck to paycheck.
Here’s the approach I recommend: A Spending Plan that Actually Works
6. Not investing in the stock market.
The stock market can seem intimidating, but it’s one of the most effective ways to grow your wealth over time. And historically, the market trends upwards over long periods—especially ten years.
Investing early not only capitalizes on this growth potential, but it also provides invaluable lessons about market dynamics and financial management. These insights will serve you throughout your life, helping you make informed decisions and foster financial resilience.
7. Buying too much house.
There are so many positive benefits of living in a smaller home—many that go beyond the financial stress of overspending on a house.
That being said, a house is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make. And while it’s tempting to buy your dream home, stretching your budget too thin can lead to financial stress and even worse. Instead, by only the home you need.
8. Carrying a credit card balance.
While credit cards can be convenient and useful, they can also lead to excessive debt if not used responsibly. Paying off your balance each month is important to avoid high interest charges. That is the only way I’ve ever used them and have never regretted that approach.
On the other hand, living off credit cards and only paying the minimum due every month can lead to a debt spiral that’s hard to escape—and I know lots of people who have regretted getting caught in that spiral.
9. Not paying your taxes.
Taxes can be complex and, for some, burdensome. It may be tempting to delay or ignore them, particularly if you’re facing financial difficulties. However, unpaid taxes can lead to penalties, interest charges, and even legal action from the IRS. The stress and financial burden this creates can linger for years, often far outweighing the initial tax bill. It’s important to seek help and address tax issues promptly to avoid these long-term consequences.
10. Not investing in your health.
It’s easy to prioritize immediate financial goals over long-term health. But neglecting regular check-ups or a healthy lifestyle can lead to expensive medical bills down the road. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Exercise, eat healthy, get the rest your body needs, and avoid unhealthy addictions. Your future self (and your future finances) will thank you for it.
Again, nobody can predict the future, but the choices we make today undoubtedly shape our tomorrows. Remember, every dollar you earn is a resource—a tool for building the life you truly want. Use them wisely.
As always, the journey towards financial responsibility and minimalism isn’t about deprivation—it’s about focusing on what’s truly important. We’re not just cutting back. We’re making room—room for more freedom, passion, and life.
Both today, and ten years from now.