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Financial planner: What to do when you make money mistakes



paying-bills-credit-card-debt-student-loans-mobile-bankingWAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

  • Everyone makes money
  • Certified financial planner Eric Roberge shares his
    advice on what to do when you’ve made a mistake with your
  • Instead of beating yourself up for the money mistake,
    acknowledge that it happened, and take responsibility.
  • Commit to making better financial decisions, and
    actually take action. 

Let’s take a quick quiz. Count
how many times you answer “yes” to the following

Have you ever…

  1. Overdrafted your checking
  2. Forgotten to pay a bill?
  3. Spent more than you
  4. Acted on bad financial
  5. Chosen to spend your money
    instead of save it?
  6. Ignored a financial problem
    instead of dealing with it?
  7. Procrastinated on an important
    task in your financial life until it was too late?

Now, add up the total. Is your
score “1” or higher?  

Congratulations! You’re perfectly

Everyone makes mistakes with their

The first thing you need to do
when you make a money
is to understand that it’s not the end of the word,
and you are not alone. Even financial professionals, money
experts, and so called “gurus” of personal finance advice can
make financial mistakes.

Once you recognize that it
happens to everyone, there are a few other steps you should take
that can help you better deal with money mishaps.

1. Don’t beat yourself up

Before you can move forward, you
need to let go. I can’t tell you how many times people have told
me they waited to ask for help with their finances because they
were ashamed or embarrassed about mistakes they made months, or
even years, ago.

But what’s done is done — there
is no use in beating yourself up over it. And the longer you wait
to address the mistake or ask for help in fixing an error, the
worse your situation will get.

Read more: The biggest mistakes 7 billionaires have
made with their money

However, “don’t beat yourself up”
doesn’t mean forget about the mistake — or blame someone else for

2. Take responsibility

This is often the hardest part of
dealing with a money mistake: acknowledging that


messed up.
It can be easier to let go when you feel it
is not your fault, but instead of pointing fingers,

take ownership of the


Let’s pretend for a moment you
overdrafted your checking account or went into debt because
someone hit your car and you didn’t have enough cash to cover the
repair bill.

Surely the other driver is at
fault for your predicament, right?

Donetsk Ukraine Broken Car Automobile Vehicle RepairREUTERS/Alessandro

No. It might have been the other
driver’s fault for

causing the accident,

but that driver did not force you
to overdraw your checking account.


were the cause of the overdraft because you

have an emergency fund

available for these kinds of

Could you have predicted someone
slamming into your car and the subsequent repair bill?

No, but life is unpredictable and
sometimes things go wrong. You can plan ahead, even if you don’t
know what specifically might not go your way, and set aside some
cash to use if an unexpected or emergency expense comes up that
you can’t otherwise afford.

In this instance, taking
responsibility would mean saying, “I made a mistake. I didn’t
have an emergency fund.

But now I’m going to take action to build

You might find that taking
responsibility actually leaves you feeling more

Once you
take responsibility, life is no longer something that just
happens to you. Life becomes something in which you have power
and agency, and then you’re more well-positioned not only to
avoid future mistakes but also to 

financially successful by making better


Which brings us to step number

3. Commit to making better choices

If you made a mistake,
acknowledged it, and took responsibility for yourself, the next
step is to commit to learning from what happened and preventing
yourself from making that same mistake again.

It’s never too late to get back
on track, or to start making progress toward the kind of
financial success you want.

Read more: 9 money mistakes to avoid in your

Again, there’s no point in
ruminating on the past. The only thing that matters is your
commitment to taking the right steps, right now.

4. Turn your commitment into action

As James Clear writes

in his new book,

Atomic Habits


“people think they lack motivation when what
they really lack is clarity. It is not always obvious when and
where to take action.”

This is the main challenge you
face now, as you prepare to move on from your money mistake and
make better financial choices in the future.

You might be very motivated to
succeed — but without the clarity to know what to do, how to do
it, or what to focus on, you may continue to make mistakes
despite your best intentions.

You need the following in place
if you expect to start doing better with your money, and continue
building good habits into the future:

  • A way to track money coming in
    and money going out of your accounts each month (in other
    words, your cash flow).
  • A method to prioritize both
    your needs

    and your financial goals

  • A system to get and stay
    organized as you work toward what you want.
  • A guide who can help you check
    your blind spots and filter through all the information that’s
    out there so you only follow the best advice for you.
  • An accountability partner to
    ensure you continue taking action (even when you don’t want to
    or lose motivation).

This is exactly what, as a
financial planner, my

specific planning process helps people


Eric Roberge Official Headshot   Sept 2017
Eric Roberge is a
certified financial planner.

Photo by Dina

But you don’t necessarily need to
hire an expert to help you (although depending on the complexity
of your financial situation, you should consider it).

You can check these boxes by
using apps and tools. You can read personal finance books and
follow podcasts from experts in the field. You can join
communities where you can share tips and get accountability from
others who, like you, are committed to achieving success.

The most important thing is that
you take the first step — and that you take it now.

Everyone makes money mistakes,
but few people go through this process of learning from them and
improving because of them.

Be one of those few, and you’ll
also be on your way to being one of the few who enjoys true
financial success.

Eric Roberge is a certified
financial planner and the founder of Beyond Your

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