How One Decision Lost Me $1.15 Million Dollars

Have you ever wanted to just kick yourself?  Hindsight is 20/20, right?  This specific hindsight makes me cringe.  This one decision I made cost me $1.15 million dollars.  Basically, I gave up being a millionaire for … well, let me tell you the story.

My Story, My Mistake

When I was 16, our Christian youth group and I were headed to Mexico for a Spring break missions trip.  In that trip we had been rearended by a vehicle.  This accident resulted in my getting whiplash, and having to spend months going to see a chiropractor.  It wasn’t too bad of an experience.  The case was closed by them sending me an unrequested check for $5,000.  (Long story, but what story of mine isn’t long?!)  😉

Image courtesy of artur84 at

Image courtesy of artur84 at


That settlement handed me more than $5,000.

It handed me choices.

I was given a choice that day.  That money stayed in a bank account for a couple of years to ensure that it wouldn’t be needed for medical costs.  I didn’t need it.  Here come the choices.

I went to college and made some pretty poor choices.  Long story.  Another blog post, or book!  😉

All I remember about that was as a 19 year old girl, I was running out of money.  My parents knew the money was mine and tried to convince me to save it.  I didn’t.  I spent it, $20 at a time.  Pretty soon, it was gone.  All of it.

Million Dollar Mistake

Because of my $20 decisions (all “necessary” of course), I gave up being a millionaire.  How?  You ask.

Simple math.  Had I taken that $5,000 and made ONE decision to invest it.  At a rate of 12% from that time until I would retire (65 years), it comes out to $1.15 million dollars.  Without adding ONE SINGLE PENNY to that $5,000, Robert and I would be a millionaire today.  Not overnight but over invested interest.

My parents knew how to save.  They tried to advise me.  But I just didn’t understand the value of investing.  Had I been shown the $20 meal next to the $1.15 million in the bank account, maybe I would’ve made a different decision.  I didn’t.

Our Choices

It’s not impossible to start today.   But first, if you are in debt, let’s get out!  Starring at $184,400 in debt.  I get it.  It’s overwhelming and straight out depressing.  Let’s stay Financially Focused today and not give in to the temptation to trade today’s momentary pleasure or “necessity” for what could be tomorrow.  Let’s hold each other accountable to make some wise decisions.  I think we’ll thank each other in the years to come!  Don’t you?

What choices are you handed today?

They are a gift.  I hope you choose more wisely than I did.

Living Intentionally Focused Everyday!


Maybe you know someone in high school and/or college that can benefit from this $20-at-a-time mistake, or rather, million dollar mistake of mine.  If so, forward them this email and invite them to laugh at my mistakes! And maybe, just maybe, they won’t make the same one.  😉 


  1. That was a painful lesson, but definitely one that you can share. Hopefully, your loss will be someone else’s gain. Thanks for sharing.

  2. wanderlust809 says:

    I’ve done something similar. I was also in an accident, broke my back, was cut a similar amount check. I paid off a few medical bills that I had, bought myself a tablet since I couldn’t carry my laptop around while I was healing, and the rest…I have no bloody idea. I know I didn’t work much the first semester back because I was still barely able to stay awake for more than a few hours at a time (from healing and medication). It is possible I used it to cover some living expenses….but I still lived in the dorms. I have no idea what I did with that money!

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