161: Why You Should Forgive Yourself for Financial Missteps

Living way above our means, overspending, defaulting on loans, or missing out on lucrative investment opportunities, we all make financial mistakes. And don’t get me started on the guilt and resentment that follows these mistakes.

If you’re struggling with a past money mistake, I understand that your wallet or bank account won’t allow you a moment’s rest, but don’t you think it’s time you forgave yourself? When we make relationship mistakes, we often get over it with a group of friends over a glass of wine. But when it comes to finances, we prefer dealing with it on our own while enduring pangs of anxiety and remorse, mostly in isolation. In this session, I’d like you to forgive your past money mistakes and celebrate yourself for coming out stronger, wiser, and better equipped to deal with future financial decisions.  

First-Gens and Money – 02:00

I grew up in a low-income household where the only investment I got hands-on experience was saving money in a piggy bank. I know some of you might say, well, that’s not an investment. True, but that’s the only experience I had with money until I got to grad school. The taxes, debt, student loans, credit cards all required some basic knowledge that I honestly didn’t have. I basically had to teach myself money management and noticed something really interesting in the process. Most courses or videos on money management aren’t tailored for us. By us, I mean first-gen low-income individuals. Industry professionals only focus on people that come from money, have money, or had money once upon a time. And that’s okay because maybe that’s their target audience. This means that we’re often left to figure out stuff on our own, which opens doors for mistakes. 

Cut Yourself Some Slack – 06:25

Everybody makes mistakes, and as first-gens, we tend to make more of them, especially when it comes to money. The fact that we more or less have to figure out stuff on our own leaves us vulnerable to consequential mistakes. My message for you today is that you need to forgive yourself, cut yourself some slack. The things you needed to do to survive, far-reaching or otherwise, had to be made. So, why are you too hard on yourself? It’s not like you had a choice. And if you did, the mistakes should be taken as lessons for yourself and others.

Some of us stress too much about debt repayment that we practically live on the streets just to satisfy or avoid debt. I’m always preaching debt repayment but never at the expense of living a fulfilling life. 

Balancing Freedom and Responsibility -11:32   

I went through undergrad and grad school having only paid for two classes with my own money. But I also survived on food stamps for some time in grad school. Come to think of it, I also never went on a spring break, ever. Where am I going with this? Sometimes life forces us to make difficult financial sacrifices all the name of a better tomorrow. Yet life is too short not to enjoy it. Once you pay off your bills, invest, or put some money in a savings account, make sure you spend some money enjoying life. Take that dream vacation or buy that piece of electronics you’ve always wanted. 

However, know your limits. Know what you can and can’t afford because that’s where regrets come from. But if you’ve already made a grave financial mistake, I believe it’s time you moved on and forgave you. 

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