If you had it to do all over again …

The vast majority of us have some financial decision we wish we could undo. A national survey conducted by Bankrate found that 75% of Americans have at least one big financial regret. Some bemoan not saving more for retirement, others wish they could go back and talk some sense into their college selves before they took out all those loans.

We put out a call for people to share their own personal financial regrets. Here are some of the best responses.

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What’s your biggest financial regret?

“Buying a house too early. My wife and I bought a house in 2009, incentivized by the tax credit that was available at the time. We thought that, given how much prices had already dropped, there’s no way they could drop much more. We were wrong. When we had a child 6 years later and found our family home, we could not sell our (first) home for nearly enough to break even. We have had luck renting it out, but make just enough to recoup the mortgage payments and save for the inevitable repairs. We should have waited.”

–Mike Sturm, blogger at YourFool.com

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What’s your biggest financial regret?

“The biggest financial mistake I made was being far too financially conservative. For years, I had nothing but CDs. It wasn’t until I entered a broker training program with a major financial services firm that I began to learn enough to be comfortable investing. That investing made me far more money than being a stock broker ever did.”

–Barry Maher, motivational speaker, consultant and principal, Barry Maher & Associates

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What’s your biggest financial regret?

“Getting a payday loan. I was young and needed about $300 to pay my electric bill. Someone told me about payday loans and I got one. The interest rate was like, 125%. So, I ended up paying much more than I borrowed. It would have been easier for me to either request an extension on my electric bill, borrow from family/friends, or take out a personal loan from my bank or credit union with a much lower interest rate.”

–Aprill Harmon, licensed clinical social worker and founder, MindingHerMoney.com

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What’s your biggest financial regret?


–Robert Smith, Financial adviser, corporate trainer and writer, RobertJSmith.com

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What’s your biggest financial regret?

“My biggest regret is not buying real estate in 2008 when the market was crashing. Also, I regret not buying stocks at that time. What I learned: When there is chaos and everyone’s freaking out, don’t be scared of all the commotion. When everything seems gloomy and everyone’s selling, that’s when you need to start paying attention to the market. That’s the time to buy.”

–Jesse Harrison, Founder and CEO, Zeus Legal Funding

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What’s your biggest financial regret?

I have money transferred automatically to a SEP (simplified employee pension) investment each month. I wish I had started doing that earlier and had taken more out. I waited until I was 33 to start saving for retirement.

I own my own business; I wish I had had a business plan earlier so that I had a budget for the business earlier.

I also wish I hadn’t purchased such a big house!!! I am glad I bought a house; I was engaged and planned to marry and start a family in the house, but I wish I had waited till I was married a few years to buy the house as the relationship did not last and I still have the big house!

–Patti Wood, Body language expert and blogger