Cecil Lipscomb is a competitor. Whether in business or in life, he sets goals and pushes hard; experience is his teacher.
"I often think about not having the right people around me at that time," the 43-year-old told 'Call for Action' Reporter Lorrie Taylor as he pondered the financial mistakes of his 30s.
Lipscomb is Executive Director of the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, an organization committed to helping others become financially literate. It's a role that keeps him focused on his own situation.
"Retirement then, at that time, seemed far away, it really did," he said.
Financial experts say 30-somethings, like Lipscomb, almost always make the same mistakes with money; the most common amongst them, buying homes, cars and everything else they've ever wanted.
Lipscomb admitted to owning his biggest home during that time of his life.
"In their 30s they're trying to acquire what we call the material gifts of life," said J. Burner Crew, a financial planner and founder of Nirvana Analytics in Cleveland.
Crew has counseled clients throughout the decades of their lives. He told Taylor when 30 year olds save for bigger items, like homes, they sometimes forget about the smaller things they can't live without, such as, furniture, landscaping, and cars. That's when desire begins to look like debt, and for some, it can be inescapable.
"If you miss a payment now, you have a starter rate of seven, eight percent, that rate can go as high as the high 20s," said Crew, "And then it becomes difficult to reduce that debt."
Lipscomb said his biggest regret was tapping into his 401K, which financial experts say is another common money mistake people make in their 30s.
"Now, when I look back, taking a tax hit on money and then paying an additional fee on top of that, it’s just not smart," admitted Lipscomb.
Crew said its also common for 30 year olds to put their children’s college funds ahead of their own retirements, even worse, they ignore their future finances altogether.
"Begin, no matter what or how small that (savings) amount is, get that discipline incorporated in your process," advised Crew.
Lipscomb said his best advice for those planning to retire is to get an accountant to save money at tax time, a financial expert to invest it, and don't forget to pay yourself.
"Thankfully, I'm better off today than I was then," he told Taylor, "I'm not where I want to be but I have the knowledge to put an accountant around me, a financial advisor."
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