What Is Your Financial Mulligan?

Have you ever looked back on your life and wish there was a decision that you had made differently? Since the focus of this site is on eliminating debt and becoming financially independent, I would like you to think back to a financial decision that you wish you could do over. I’ll go ahead and start with one I think about quite a bit.

It is not that I think going to college was a mistake, but the decision I often think about doing differently would be my selection of colleges. As my high school years came to a close, I opted to enroll at a small private university as opposed to one of the local state universities. While I thoroughly enjoyed my years in college, that enjoyment and education came at a large expense.

While a good portion of the costs were paid by my parents, I graduated with approximately $20,000 in student loans. In addition, while in college I worked at least two jobs. One job was an on-campus job where my entire paycheck went towards my tuition in order to reduce the annual expense. The other job(s) were to cover the costs of books and living expenses, such as rent, groceries and utilities as I lived in an apartment off campus.

Taking a Mulligan.
When I look back now, I often wish that I would have opted to attend one of the local state universities where the tuition was a fraction of the cost of the private university. There is no doubt that my experience would have been different, as the larger schools could not offer things like classes in my major where the student:professor ration was about 12 to 1. But I am confident that I would have graduated with the same degree in four years and likely have followed a similar path to where I am today.

In all honesty, once I had landed that first job out of college, I don’t think the school I attended or my performance in school has made one bit of difference in my career development. So would it not have been more prudent to pursue the education with the lower overall cost?

Obviously I do not regret the path my life has taken, as I feel things are working out quite well and I am on the right course to be financially independent and retired early. However, I cannot help to take a look back and think about how things might have been different if I attended a cheaper school and graduated without $20,000 in student loans.

Your Turn.
Now that you have heard about one of the financial mulligans that I would take, what is one financial mulligan that you find yourself thinking about?

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1 Response

  1. February 26, 2007

    […] your way through school can be very rewarding. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of attending a private university and worked two jobs all through school but still had the […]

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