An original by Dr. Andrew Stotz, My Worst Investment Ever features investors and financial titans from around the world to share their heartbreaking tales of investment misfortune.
Listen and discover the best practices for risk management that will keep you in the game.
In This Episode…
Angela Zeigerbacher has always been interested in the personal finance realm, from hoarding cash in her sock drawer as a kid to paying off her student loan debt in one year after college.
After conversations with friends, she realized that not everyone had the same level of personal finance literacy – which prompted her to launch the Money in the Bank podcast, a personal finance podcast for the average Joe or Jane.
Additionally, Angela has taught personal finance to teenagers in high school as well as hosted “lunch and learn” sessions at several companies. She is also behind food channel on YouTube, Foogality, where she cooks and bakes frugal type of meals.
My Worst Invesment Ever
She shares how she went from young and debt-free to paying for a home she hated! Hear her story:
Young and Debt-Free
Angela finished paying off her student loan in just a year after college. Naturally, she was on top of the world. At 22 and having paid off her student loan debt that fast, she felt she was doing a lot of things right.
Interestingly, nobody talks about what you should do once you have paid off your debt, especially to young people. After working so hard to pay off her debt, she didn’t know what to do now that she was debt-free.
All her friends advised her to treat herself, go on nice vacations, and buy things she wanted. Angela had never really been a spendthrift. While she didn’t take the advice completely to heart, but she started thinking about it.
The American Dream
Everyone kept telling her to buy a house, and she figured that the living the American dream sounded good. Imagine – a house, a boyfriend, two cars in the garage, and a white picket fence.
Her American dream started with a new car. She didn’t put much thought behind it. She just went to the dealership and picked a car that she thought was good for her. In this case, it was a brand new Ford Escape for $35,000.
Up Next? A House
Following the car, next up on her American dream list was a house. Coincidentally, her lease came up for renewal after she purchased the car. She was living with her boyfriend and they decided that renting was just “throwing away money”, especially now that the lease was going to increase by $250 a month. With that in mind, they decided that buying a house was the right thing to do.
Once again, no thought was given to this decision as she was just too excited to get something she wanted and could afford.
Damn the Closing Costs!
Even though they went for a house they could easily pay for, one huge factor (prompted by the hasty decision making) was ignored. They never factored in the closing costs which was about 3% of the buying price.
Now they were draining their emergency funds and savings accounts scraping this money together to fulfill their dream of buying a home.
Worse, They Hated The House
Yes, they bought a house they could afford. No, they didn’t love it. The couple didn’t spend enough time looking and ended up just quick buying the first house they saw.
After living there for just a year, they hated it. There was no insulation in the bedroom which means it was freezing in the winter, causing their utility bills to be super high. They went from paying about $50 a month in an apartment for heating and cooling to about $200 a month.
Then There’s The Taxes
Another thing that they forgot to factor in was property taxes, which can be quite expensive. They were paying about $350 a month in property taxes, as well as a Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) of about $100 per month as well.
In hindsight, even though Angela thought renting was throwing all this money out the window, they could have rented a two-bedroom, which would have been more than enough for their needs at the time, for probably about $875 a month.
Poor Investment Choice
Buying a house ended up being Angela’s worst investment ever. Even though she made about $19,000 worth of principal, it still cost her in total $30,000 because closing costs on both ends were high. She also sold her car as she had moved closer to work. The result, her American dream cost her about $50,000.
Ignore what Society Thinks
Never listen to what others or society think that your life should look like. While having that car and a house makes you look very successful when you’re 22 years old; but ultimately, from an investment perspective, that isn’t what’s best for you.
You are better off using that money to invest in other things that have a return on investment.
Maybe Buying A House Isn’t A Great Investment Idea
The difference between buying rental property versus buying a home – one is an investment, and one is not. Most first time home buyers tend to think that buying a home is an investment when it’s not. Some people have had major luck with the buy and hold model on their homes, but that is like winning the lottery.
Think of your house as a home, your place to live in. A house has no liquidity like a savings account. That’s why you accept a lower return on a savings account as your money is very liquid, you can get your hands on it if you need to, but you can’t with home equity.
For the full story, listen to the podcast below: