Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Did You Make Money Mistakes as a Teen?

I recently read an honest, wide-open account of how a young man blew through $100,000 before he turned 21 ( His story has resonated with me and I have been thinking of mistakes that I made as a teen or a young adult.  I inherited a small sum of money ($1000) from my grandfather and just used it for lifestyle choices in college --- pizza, movies, clothes, etc.  I never even considered saving it or investing it.  The money disappeared within a year.  Everyone seems to make mistakes with their money at some point.

I want to write an upcoming post about common mistakes that teens and young adults make with their money and how we can most effectively prevent these mistakes from happening.  Would you take a few moments to share your experiences and thoughts with me by answering some questions?   

  1. As a teen or young adult, were you confident in managing your money or did you make mistakes?  What mistakes did you make?
  2. What were the short term/long term effects of your money management skills as a young adult?
  3. What type of financial education did you have --- schools, parents, self-taught?
  4. If you made mistakes, could they have been prevented?  If so, how?
  5. Should we even try to prevent financial mistakes in young adults or is experience the best teacher?
You can answer in the comments below.  If you don't want to leave your name, you can choose the Anonymous option.  Responses can also be emailed to me:  Please include "Teen money mistakes" as the subject line.

Thanks for your help!  I look forward to great conversations.


  1. It looks like people are reluctant to publicly share their mistakes. I'm sure I made plenty of money mistakes as a teen but I don't recall any major ones. The big mistakes came when I knew better.

  2. Really great 100k article! I also got $ as an inheritance, and have no idea where it went. I remember putting the $2000 check in my brand-spanking-new checking account that i just opened in Athens for grad school, but after that, no clue. I'm sure books, food and "stuff" was what it bought, but i already had a scholarship and a job. Too bad I didn't set it aside or invest the bonus. At the time I didn't got crazy but I wasn't long-term smart either!!!

  3. In my case, I always aim that my present bank account never run below the amount I inherited. Even if there are times when I temporary borrow from it, I still try to replenish it and feel good that it's there. I believe so.

  4. I made a really dumb move - taking on 2 housing leases for one school year in college. One in an apartment, one for a fraternity house. Luckily, I was able to sublease the apartment.