Financial Experts Share Their Greatest Money Regrets

By Kimiko I November 19, 2023

Errors and miscalculations are common, especially in financial matters. Even trusted sources of financial advice have their own share of regrets. CNBC Financial Advisor Council members have shared some of their most significant money mishaps and the lessons learned from those experiences. These narratives serve as cautionary tales for people who want to navigate the complex world of personal finance.

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Sophia Bera Daigle, CEO and founder of Gen Y Planning recalls her early days in financial planning when she accepted an offer without negotiating her first salary. Despite the initial excitement, the economic downturn the following year led to wage stagnation, leaving her financially vulnerable. The need for negotiation during job offers is emphasized, especially in today’s inflationary landscape. While many workers still refrain from negotiating, statistics show that negotiation often leads to favorable outcomes, highlighting the importance of self-advocacy in the professional sphere.

Winnie Sun, the managing director and co-founder of Sun Group Wealth Partners, shared her financial mistake involving an extravagant lease on a luxury vehicle while at Smith Barney. Her subsequent realization that the lease significantly affected her other investments highlights the importance of making mindful financial decisions. With rising interest rates and soaring automobile prices, the current market poses additional challenges for prospective car buyers. Experts recommend adhering to the 20% rule, ensuring that car-related expenses, including payments, insurance, and fuel costs, do not exceed 20% of one’s take-home pay.

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Carolyn McClanahan, founder of Life Planning Partners, reflects on her experiences investing during the dot-com bubble of the 90s, underscoring the importance of diversification and a low-cost passive approach in portfolio management. She emphasizes the need for a well-diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, advising against speculative investments in specific sectors or stocks. Regular reviews of one’s investment allocation are suggested to ensure continued financial stability.

Lee Baker, founder and president of Apex Financial Services, recounts the emotional dilemma he and his wife faced when dealing with inherited Philip Morris stock. Their reluctance to own shares of a tobacco company led them to sell the stock, only for the company to thrive in the subsequent years. Baker advises investors to balance emotional considerations with investment perspectives, recognizing the significance of personal values in shaping investment decisions.

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Louis Barajas, CEO of International Private Wealth Advisors, stresses the need to plan for long-term care in advance, citing his own delay in considering such arrangements until his wife was diagnosed with colon cancer. His situation underscores the importance of addressing long-term care insurance options at an early age, as premiums tend to increase with age, potentially leading to unaffordable rates in the future. He advises individuals to adopt a dual perspective, balancing present and future financial considerations to secure long-term financial stability.