‘I wasted so much money …’ Millennials share their top financial regrets to help Gen Z get started

Regrets are a part of life.

Money regrets have a particularly sharp tang, though. It’s difficult not to look back and calculate just what that past misstep is costing you now.

Nadia Malik, 36, a personal finance blogger in Dallas, wishes she’d saved more in her early 20s. “I had already been working along [going to school] but was not saving anything,” she said. Recalling her life at that time, living with her new husband in a studio apartment, she says a cash cushion would have made it possible for them to buy a spacious condo or a small house.

It could be that, for most of us, spending freely without any thought for the future is a hallmark of life in our 20s.

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“I wasted so much money doing frivolous things,” said Alainta Alcin, 30, a contract negotiator in West Palm Beach, Florida.

This is as common as Friday night pizza. The thing to keep in mind is that people can feel very differently about those decisions a few years later. When it came to rating the fallout of their earlier financial actions, most millennials queried in a study by CollegeFinance.com called them serious.  

Blame it on the newfound freedom college students experience: Of the more than 1,000 people polled in April, 47% of millennials didn’t use any sort of budget in college, and 43% accrued credit card debt while they were still in school.

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