Learning from Your Mistakes Can Become Your Teaching Moment

Posted on: March 7th, 2014
Everyone makes financial mistakes. The key is to learn from them, try not to repeat them and then pass on this hard-earned wisdom to your loved ones as an element of your financial legacy.

The Key Takeaways
o We can learn not only from our own mistakes but also from those of others.
o Sharing the wisdom gained from these errors can help others avoid them--and the pain and regret that usually accompany them.

One part of advancing ourselves is learning from our own mistakes; another part is learning from the mistakes of others. The latter is decidedly less painful to us than the former! As Eleanor Roosevelt said, 'Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.'

Even the savviest investors make mistakes or have regrets. Learning from others' mistakes can help us to gain wisdom without the pain of having to go through the experience ourselves.

In many ways the key to long-term investing is learning our lessons well. For your loved ones, identify the top mistakes you've made in your financial life and explain why the lessons you've learned are important to pass along.

What You Need to Know
Imparting the wisdom you have gained over the years is part of your financial and family legacy. Being candid about your mistakes and regrets also can provide your loved ones a glimpse of the person you once were and have become because of these experiences.

Actions to Consider
o Think about the things you've learned over the years related to money. Create a list of your lessons, principles and practices. Don't worry about the wording or order at this point.
o Next, consider the items on the list based on the impact they had on you. Impact is not just financial loss but also anxiety, strife and confusion. One way to judge impact is to read the item and see what thoughts flood your mind or how much your stomach churns; you can be certain that these impact you measurably.
o Now, group your list by greatest impact to least impact.
o Set a schedule, say, each month or quarter, to write out your lessons and how you've applied them, and share this with your loved ones.
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