Money Mistakes: 3 Financial Mistakes I Made and How You Can Learn From Them

Jul 26, 2019

This blog contains my interpretation of the copyrighted work of Bruce D Schneider and the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).

A statement that I was taught during coaching school was an iPEC Foundation Principle saying that baffled me for years. 

It was “You cannot make a mistake.”

What? I’ve made a ton of mistakes.

And then one day, it hit me . . .

“I cannot MAKE a mistake.” 

You Cannot Make a Mistake

Right! I can’t “make” a mistake. Meaning, I don’t go out intentionally looking to make a mistake–and you don’t either. 

Once I recognized that every experience has the opportunity–the seed–of a lesson in it, it automatically catapulted me into my own power. I then knew I wasn’t at the effect of what I did wrong. I now had the choice to choose to look at the “mistake” as an opportunity to grow. This is based on my interpretation of another iPEC Foundation Principle, “All experiences are opportunities for growth.”

I didn’t lose in that mistake. I won and decided to learn. 

Often, some of the biggest hang-ups around money that anyone can have is the thought “what if I make a mistake?”

My hope in writing this article is a couple of things: 

  1. You won’t go out and intentionally make a mistake. You’re going to choose what you believe—through your respective personal lens—is the best decision given what you know, think, and feel in that moment. 
  2. There’s a lesson in each experience you have that you may be labeling as a mistake. By digging in and being curious, compassionate, and objective you’ll find the gem. 

Bonus: when you let go of the thought that this thing was a mistake, you let go of the attachment that holds you back and that energy that was strongly being used to beat yourself up can now be re-directed towards your growth. 

And you may even get to laugh about it. 

My Three “Mistakes”

So here are three financial mistakes I made and what I learned from them:

Mistake #1: Not Tracking My Expenses

. . . for years. So this was on a personal level. I’d never want to look at where my money was going because that meant I’d have to face the truth of what was really going on. That would mean no more numbing out into the unknown.

An example of this, was choosing to not open my credit card statements each month to look at where I was spending my money. I’d just pay the bill–or the minimum–which created undue stress, no savings, and no alignment of where and when I spent my money.

The Lesson: When I finally created a tracking system of my expenses–which I still use today six years later–I felt 100% more at ease, money came to me more easily, I was aligned in my purchasing, and I had more money to do what I wanted to do.

That’s the counterintuitive thing with a spending plan, tracking, budgeting, etc. When you tell money where to go, you end up with more of it.

What you focus on grows. 

Mistake #2: Using the Equity in My Home Like a Bank

This was a tough one. Years ago, when my mortgage broker said I could take out $20K to pay down a credit card, I thought that was easy money. Needless to say, the market tanked several years later, and I had to pay that money back. 

The Lesson: Make sure this type of loan makes sense for you. Do your due diligence. I went on the advice of my mortgage broker and didn’t consider the shape my finances were in and the costs and additional debt involved with paying off consumer debt.

For me, what I would’ve done differently was ask more questions. For instance: what are the advantages and disadvantages to creating this liability?

Mistake #3: Not Asking for Help Around Money

I went to school for business so I had this ego-driven idea that I was supposed to know everything about money and that asking for help would make me look weak. Well, it did make me weak not asking for help, because I was drowning in an emotional pitfall around money until I had to ask for help.

The Lesson: Asking for help freed me up. I’m not here to know everything about money, and neither are you. We’re here to join forces and connect with others, share, and recognize that many of us are going through the same thing around money and that sharing makes the burden easier to bear.

Get help if you need it. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong and ups your own self-worth and net-worth and mitigates self-doubt around money. You aren’t meant to do this money thing alone. 

We’re All Learning Here

So know that you’re doing your best with what you’ve been given up to this point and ask questions. Use money as a way to deepen your curiosity aptitude–and accept any so-called “mistakes” with grace and compassion, chalking them up as learning experiences so you get to make better money decisions going forward. 

So, what’s one of your money experiences that hasn’t worked out? How can you accept that it was simply what you knew at the time? And what would you do differently today based on what you’ve learned?

Drop a comment below–and by doing so automatically free yourself from a mental money block holding you back around your money. 

If you’d like support around your money, from the energy of money, how you show up in your relationship to money, to the practical side of money, reach out to me at [email protected]. I have resources that can truly support you.

Photo Credit: Diane Helentjaris,

Subscribe to my newsletter and get the latest tips and updates