Great ''Financial Mistakes” Hunt. What’s your biggest mistake… help others avoid it.



  • stephenjwz
    stephenjwz Posts: 26 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Pishing away a fortune on drink and food (and things bought while drunk) while in my first year at uni. Should have known when to stop drinking, when not to make drunken impulse purchases and should have learnt to cook properly instead of living on ready meals and other rubbish!
  • My (our) biggest mistake was booked a holiday to take my family to my home country Turkey (May 2007), put the balance on my interest -free CC. By the time it was time to clear the balance Northern Rock shares plummeted and I ended up having to pay the balance with my savings rather than with sale of the shares. Cost to me over £2000.

    When I put all the balance on the CC I was saying to my wife "how clever am I, we'll earn dividents on the shares and when the times comes we'll sell them and still have few hundred quid change left" Yeah right ! Very clever.
  • halia
    halia Posts: 450 Forumite
    marrying someone with different financial priorities/views
    having a child

    Renting a 3 bed house on advice from parents when I was a student on the grounds that 'of course' I could rent out the spare rooms. Ending up locked into a 12 month contract and trying to find rent on my own as house too far out from uni and not able to sublet.
    DEBT: £500 credit card £800 Bank overdraft
    £14 Weekly food budget

  • It worked once so I thought I'd go for it again this year. £45 a month (supposed to get it all back-they made it sound easy-peasy on the phone but it is a minefield. Still I was organised and sent everything on time. They claimed my letter arrived 4 weeks later than it did and all further claims were now void.

    I had sent it recorded delivery so they don't have a leg to stand on but am still battling it out. have spent an eternity on the phone listening to their recorded music. absolutely infuriating. Still not had my second cashback and the 3rd is looming. They are crooks. Never NEVER take up a cashback offer with them. I was wary of less reputable firms but they are just as bad. They will do anything to void your cashback.It's not worth the hassle and the absolute rage you feel when talking to one of their idiot cashback team.
  • anney
    anney Posts: 12 Forumite
    The endowment mortgage, oh the salesman was slick & it sounded fantastic but a few years down the line & the projected shortfall was mind-boggling. To add insult to injury it wasn't even one that we could sell-on. All sorted now & yes we got compensation after finding this site & acting on the advice, but it still smarts.....
  • Shytalker
    Shytalker Posts: 32 Forumite
    mcdogfood wrote: »
    2. Lending money to friends. No matter how much you can trust people, it's putting them in a bad situation - never lend friends more than a tenner. If you get it back quickly, all well and good. If you don't, never lend them anything ever again. Not your problem!

    I did the same as MacDogfood above. Lent a grand to a mate when he was buying a minicab business in the 1980s and I had saved up some brass. I wanted it back with minimal interest. He turned out to be useless, could not make a go of it and never paid me back so much as a bean.

    He also borrowed his dad's £15k redundancy money but when I wanted some back he could not pay me "until he had paid his dad" = "never". I don't think his dad ever enjoyed his redundancy money. Next time I saw the mate, he had a fancy car. I was best man at his wedding.

    Moral: Don't lend more than a tenner. If you don't see them again, it was well spent.
  • babyharry5
    babyharry5 Posts: 258 Forumite
    in the last few months hubby and I have been sorting our our mortgage - coming to end of fixed rate etc - we spoke to a financial adviser who we had dealt with previously and london & country brokers - best deal was 5.49 fixed ,still a massive fee, pay your own legals etc - lots of others even higher - thought that was the best so we took the deal.
    we did mention to our financial adviser at the time that we had seen a best rate of 4.99 with first direct but he told us it came with a massive fee and in the long run worked out more expensive - so end of that.
    anyway a few weeks ago all this hsbc rate match came out and i phoned our adviser to see if he could sort - only then did he mention that hsbc and first direct - their subsidiary did not deal with brokers and therefore we would have to sort outself - end result managed to secure the 4.99% on monday 7th april - it expired the same day! smaller fee - no legals or valuation etc

    could kick ourselves for being so stupid as to not speak to first direct and check legitimacy of the advisers info.
    also adviser said that our mortgage settlement amount was approx 3 k higher than we thought - exp this was redemption penlay - he said not . after having checked this now it did include the penalty and so we have decresed our mortgage by 2 years WHICH DUE TO SIZE OF OUR MORTGAGE MEANS WE WILL HAVE SAVED OURSELVES 40k!!!!

    please please please always check the info elsewhere - dont trust anyone!

  • oOMiaOo
    oOMiaOo Posts: 110 Forumite
    Things I now kick myself for :

    1) Not taking insurance out on my mobile phone. I stopped taking out the mobile provider's insurance when I dropped my phone once, jssut to find that it wasn't even covered. I figured, why carry on paying for something so useless? I was in Cambodia a few months ago, and my Uk mobile phone was tucked away in my suitcase for emergencies. So, I never noticed when it was stolen from my hotel room...until I got a bill for £350+. The thieving !!!!!! had used it to download games and videos, and to make "local" calls - rather sadly, Cambodian calls aren't classed as local with a UK phone! Luckily, T-Mobile had stopped my service after they realised something had gone wrong. Sadly, they didn't contact me about it, so I didn't realise anything had gone wrong until a few weeks later. At that point, I was liable for all the calls, as I hadn't reported the phone missing in time. My travel insurance had some small print saying that mobile phones weren't covered. After some undignified begging, T-Mobile gave me a credit to my account for half the money and a free replacement simcard - but as the whole lot would have been covered by mobile phone insurance, I'm still smarting... I'm now locked in to an 18 month deal, using a !!!!!! old phone.

    2) Again, I concur with people above - we have lent some money to a friend, and only after lots of hassling has some of it (less than half) been repaid. The relationship is ruined and my partner has lost a lot of trust in friends in general. You may think your friend would never do that to you - but then that's what we thought too!

    3) Taking on joint debts in your name - not mine, this one, but a good friend had to declare himself bankcrupt after taking on debts for a house shared with his fiance, only for her to run off with someone else and leave him with the debts.
  • Yesterday, having paid for my shopping, I discovered while putting it in my bags that I had mistakenly bought a dozen organic free-range eggs at a cost of £3.99. I immediately returned them to the checkout, exchanging them for normal free-range (non-organic) at £2.59 and a refund of £1.40. That's how close I came to financial ruin. (I will of course spend the money saved on a half pint of fine real ale - and hang it all if I won't raid the children's piggy bank to make it up to a pint - or two...)
  • Slinky
    Slinky Posts: 9,982 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    campaigner wrote: »
    I exercised a share option scheme to purchase my ex-employers shares. At that time the price was high. I could have sold all the shares and received in excess of £100,000. But I did not sell because I would have had to pay capital gains tax. So I decided to sell some shares each tax year so as never to incur any capital gains tax liability in any one tax year. The shares went down in value to 10% of the price that I could have sold at when I exercised the option. Now I am sitting on the shares valued at far less than I paid for them and will probably never get my money back. Moral of the story - take the profit and pay the tax! A profit less tax is better than no profit at all or even worse a loss!

    I could have written this myself. I never understood about PEPs and could have sheltered some shares which shot up in the dotcom boom. I'd owned them for years, bought for buttons when the company floated, then ended up working for the company, then bought shares in a sharesave scheme. I could have sold them for £120K at one point when they were worth £12 each but didn't want to pay the tax. I've even now got some which I eventually 'sheltered' in an Isa at about £8 a share. They're currently worth about £2.20 and will shortly get bought out for £2.25. I make that a loss of £100K :o
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