Make sure you’re not saying yes to the wrong things

Talk to older people and you’ll see that many have lots of regrets. The regrets are usually about things they never did rather than the things the did do. Be careful about what you say yes to. You may live to regret it.

The above is better explained with some real-life examples. That way you can see exactly what you might be missing out on.

Example #1 — Yes, I want a big wedding

I have seen this one so many times in my life. Couples opt for a big (and expensive) wedding yet live to regret that decision. Why? Because it meant they had to say no to something else. They just didn’t realize it at the time.

I had a friend that had a big wedding. She insisted that she had sat down with her future husband to discuss it. They had both decided it was what they wanted and what they could afford.

Fast forward a year later. They bought a house together in an area that neither of them was really happy with, but it was all they could afford. They then came to realize that if they’d had a smaller wedding they would have had a bigger deposit to buy a house. They would have had enough to buy in the area they both loved.

Fast forward another couple of years and they got divorced. The pressure of living in an area they didn’t like took its toll on them.

They said yes to a big wedding. By default, they said no to the house they wanted.

Example #2— Yes, I want that new car

You want a new car and you can afford it. You have a well-paid job, the monthly payments are affordable. What’s wrong with that? Well, it depends.

I know someone that bought a car for around $30,000. They loved the car for a week or two. After that, it was just a car to get from A to B.

As well as the cost of the car, there was insurance to pay. Then there was car tax to pay. Oh, let’s not forget the annual MOT check (in the UK). Add in the annual servicing costs. Did I mention the more than occasional repair costs?

Let’s not even consider those additional expenses. Let’s just focus on the $30,000 cost.

$30,000 invested over 20 years at a 10% annual rate of return would give you $210,825.

Screenshot by the author

See Investment Calculator to make your own calculations.

He said yes to a new car. By default, he said no to over $200,000 later in life.

Example #3 — Yes, I want that higher-paying job

This can often work out, but you need to also consider what you’re saying no to. My example, in this case, is a friend of a friend who took a job with higher pay. He didn’t think of the consequences. All that mattered was the extra money.

Fast forward a few years and the guy was very depressed. The new job was longer hours and meant working away from home a few days a week.

He was always tired. He missed out on his children going up. His marriage almost broke down. In this case, the guy realized before it was too late that saying yes came with some dire consequences.

He quit the job and got another one with lower pay closer to home. His marriage improved and he got to enjoy lots of quality time with his kids.

He said yes to a new job. By default, he said no to quality time with his family.

Be very careful what you say yes to. Always think very carefully about what you’re saying no to.

I hope that helps you avoid making some tragic mistakes. If you’ve already made them, it’s never too late to try to fix them.