What are some mistakes you've made with money? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Dandan Zhu, Headhunter, Career Coach, Investor, & Podcaster, on Quora:

My only mistake with money stems from this one thing:

Spending too much on luxury items, leisure goods/services, and vacations, thus losing out on investment opportunities.

Investments have helped me retire at age 28. Although I have nothing to complain about, I recognize that my spending habits held me back from further financial success. Had I been more diligent with my spending, I would have even more financial assets today.

Instead of using all of my money wisely, here are purchases I regret, have since sold off, or no longer engage in:

  • 2 Chanel purses: $7,000
  • 1 Chanel wallet: $1,000
  • 1 Used Rolex: $2,500
  • 2 Prada purses: on sale for a total of $2,000
  • Spa, medi/pedis, leisure services: $2,000

Total: $14,500

Pre-tax total earnings required to obtain $14,500: $30,000 (according to my tax bracket).

I had to earn $30k in order to buy these useless items! Thankfully, I'm now a retired 9-5?er. I have no bosses or colleagues to show them off to anymore! I work from home on my own schedule. I rock climb and work out most of the time. The rock climbing gym is no place for a Prada or Chanel purse.

What I realized is this: I wasted time, effort, and mental energy on caring about material goods and the superficial pursuit of looking rich. Ironically, my efforts to appear rich actually had a negative impact on my actual wealth!

These are truly miscellaneous items that added little joy to my life other than a brief moment of ego-gratification. That money could have been invested in a variety of the different investment buckets I make 5% - 300% returns on. As an investor, although I know what I should be doing with my money, I allowed myself to indulge, an action I now regret.

That's why the majority of people worldwide work for a living until they physically can't anymore in their old age. They are a slave to their consumption habits, cycles, and systems.

Short-term spending habits will destroy your future prosperity.

Retirement shouldn't happen at age 65-70. If you think and act just a little differently, you can escape the rat race much sooner. The journey starts by understanding how your personal spending habits are literally taking years off of your working life.

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