No. of Recommendations: 8
Here's a different twist on my dumbest investment:

When my wife and I were 23 years old, we were living in an apartment, saving my wife's entire income. Within 5 years we would have had enough to buy a $100,000 house for cash.

Six months later, having visited the nice homes of some new older, wealthier friends, we got the bug. We bought an $85,000 house with an $85,000 mortgage, which naturally required every bit of both of our incomes just to keep afloat.

Five years later, my wife decided she wanted a baby. After he was born, she quit work to stay at home with him, a decision I fully supported, but forced me to work two to three jobs just to pay the bills. Within a year, we surrendered. We sold the house we loved and are now living in a one-bedroom apartment with a ruined credit rating, a ton of consumer debt, and no savings. Things are slowly improving as my income goes up, but we are still far, far behind where we were a decade ago.

I dearly wish we would have stuck it out in the apartment, bought the house for cash at the same time we had the baby, and spent the rest of our lives debt-free. As it is, I wasted a decade or more of my financial life because I envied my friends. I guess God knew what he was talking about when he said, "Thou shalt not covet."

The moral of the story is, I believe, my own original: The quickest way to make yourself miserable is to have friends who make more money than you.

James A. Brown
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