My Greatest Financial Regret

The following is a guest post about financial regret. If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me.

For some reason, I’ve just never been into stock trading for personal reasons; it hits too close to gambling, it’s a game of chance and luck, it can be volatile. I like some stability in my investments maybe that’s why I prefer rentals. My accountant used to trade heavily. He had two huge TV’s in his office where he watched the market all day (don’t ask me how he got any work done). One year, I went into his office and the TV’s were gone. He said he was having a heart attack literally daily and decided to get rid of it.

I started off my financial career at Citibank in 2006 as a Teller. I worked with some good people. No matter how bad the day was, we always knew how to get back together and just have a great time at the branch. I was hired at a good time as well; it was before the housing bubble. The benefits were excellent, the pay was great. Within 2 years, America got into the recession and things went south.

Then in March of 2009, the unimaginable happened. We all woke up and Citibank’s stocks went down to .99 cents. 99 freaking cents! Overnight, people lost half their wealth. There was panic everywhere. Unfortunately, being the first point of contact (teller…in a branch) didn’t help because customers directed their questions…and anger at us. There were also problems with Citibank’s executives and for some reason; Citibank was always in the news which made matters worse.

People say with stocks, the rule is simple: Buy Low, Sell High. There were 3 categories of people at that time.

1) Those who became afraid and sold. (Fear sells right?)
2) Those who held on to their stocks or bought more because they believed the market would bounce back.
3) Those who didn’t own stock at Citibank prior and bought.

At that time, I didn’t have a lot of money saved; maybe just a few thousand dollars. There was a financial services representative who worked in a little corner office in the branch. All I had to do (which was what I failed to do) was make an appointment after work to buy some of the company’s stock. Even if I had borrowed the money, for this one venture, it would have been okay. I just kept telling myself, “you don’t have enough money and you shouldn’t borrow”. Also, a little research would have shown me Citibank’s stocks performance history. That information alone would have let me know that the dip was probably temporary. If I had bought $1000 worth of stocks, let’s include the fees and bring all my expenses to a round about $1,500. It would have been a good deal.

Its 5 years now. I was surfing the net recently, and guess what? Citibank’s stock is about $50.00. I now have student loans totaling about $26,000. Even if I didn’t want to be in the stock business, buying the stock then would have yielded enough profit by now to pay off the student loan.

Everyone complained about the recession, loss of jobs and all. But the truth is a lot of people made money during the recession. Truly financially savvy people say they have made more money in the recession. The same goes for the housing market. People with good credit and little money were able to purchase houses for way less than they would have a few years ago.

What have I learnt from this? Closed mindedness is a terrible ailment. Whether you believe it or not, you are blessed with opportunities every day. Some are either right in front of you, others you will have to create. Either ways, you just have to ‘open your eyes’, make the right choice, and take action.

Author Bio: Ogechi Linda Igbokwe holds a BSc in Professional Communications and a Masters in Accounting. She has worked in banking for 7 years and created the OneSavvyDollar Curriculum. You can catch her speaking across Long Island and blogging at onesavvydollar.

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