Jeanne Sahadi regrets her past mistakes of inaction. We can all learn from her mistakes, I believe. In the article, she mentions three actions she wishes she had taken which would have improved her financial situation.
Use a Roth IRA to save for a down payment. Roth IRAs are generally thought of accounts for retirement, but the law allows investors to withdraw earnings tax and penalty-free if the money is to be used towards the purchase as a first home, depending on when I find myself making the purchase. I’m currently maxing out my Roth IRA through dollar-cost averaging twice a month. With the market seeming to be going up this year, I would have done better by investing a lump sum at the beginning of the year.
Don’t be lazy about saving. This is self-explanatory. Jeanne’s uses an example of missing out on $250 saved each month in her mid-twenties which would have resulted in an additional $100,000 by retirement. I’m down to 4 percent of my salary deposited into my 401(k) — just enough to get the maximum company match. This 4 percent is down from the 12 percent I was saving while my rent was about $350 a month.
Value work highly. Jeanne didn’t always consider the money when choosing jobs. Looking back, she could have valued her skills higher when speaking with her supervisors about salary increases. She mentions something important, quoting Lee Miller, an author: “Other people tend to value you the way you value yourself,” Miller said. “If you don’t think you’re worth it, act like you are.” Employers will be more likely to hire you and take your requests more seriously.