I made some critical financial losses trying to seek returns in the last decade. This is a list of the lessons I have learnt along that journey.
Not channeling my youth in the proper direction.
This is a big one; youth is underrated by the young and slightly overrated by the old. Youth is energy, life and a good and healthy body that can literally take a few beatings and bounce back with vigour. These qualities can jump start your FIRE journey by leaps and bounds.
Although my underlying desire not to work all my life was there before I discovered FIRE, I did not hear the calling or did not correctly interpret it. I did not ask for help when I needed it, and I spent too much money on the wrong things, I did not think hard enough about the most efficient way to get from A to B.
IMHO The damage or success which one can do to himself between the years of 15 and 35 determine the rest of their life.
At least I survived in one peace and am telling you the story.
Going off on valueless tangents
Again, listening to the wrong internet GURU’s I spent a lot of time and resources in activities which gave little or no value back. For some years, I listened to the doom and gloom mongers which portrayed the future as a wasteland. That was about 20 years ago; we are still here despite several close misses. These tangents need to be given as much importance as they deserve and not more.
Missing out on opportunities
There were some opportunities which needed some more effort, but for some reason or other, they were not taken. Laziness, fear of both failure and success. Not turning down the background noise and focusing on what was important.
Investing in non regulated investments
The risk of losing your money becomes higher the less control there is over your investment. That control can come from two sources, either the regulators or the precise alignment of incentives by those managing the company and those investing. In my experience regulators (i.e. the threat of jail) puts investment providers in line more than anything else.
Submitting to FOMO
FOMO is the fear of missing out, the emotion of keeping up with the Jones. Combining this drive, with lack of understanding, lack of time and lack of appreciation of the risk involved is a cocktail resulting in big mistakes.
Not investing in the stock market.
I went into the market three decades ago, had to sell it all because of bad decisions. Then I took the ride down in 2008 and sold in 2010 and only went partially back in. Partially because I listened to too much doom and gloom mongers (again). Whose business model is continuous pumping of fear.
My self-imposed deadline of FIRE at 50, is no longer far away, I need to saddle up!