Your trusty blogger, left, dressed as Regis Philbin circa "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," Halloween 2000. Courtesy: Tony Wagner

Here are some more of your money horror stories

Tony Wagner Oct 31, 2019
Your trusty blogger, left, dressed as Regis Philbin circa "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," Halloween 2000. Courtesy: Tony Wagner

What’s scarier than losing $2,000? What about losing $4,000?

For Halloween, we asked you to send us your money horror stories: secrets, fears or mistakes about your money that still haunt you to this day.

And you delivered. Our inboxes filled up unspeakable terrors: scams, bad breakups, impulse buys … 40 years of darkness, the dead rising from the grave, cats and dogs living together … you get it.

We collected some of those money horror stories on this week’s podcast, which you can listen to below. And here we’ve posted some of the ones we couldn’t squeeze in, lightly edited. Read on, if you dare …

First up, this true travel nightmare from listener Karl Wilson:

“Thanks for asking this question, because it’ll be somewhat cathartic to tell you about the $2,500 I lost several years ago.

“We were traveling from Misawa, Japan, to Kathmandu, Nepal. We had to buy our tickets from Misawa to Tokyo and Tokyo to Kathmandu on separate airlines.

“The day of the trip, I get off work, rush home, and my wife and I hurry to catch our flight to Tokyo. The times were very tight, especially because we couldn’t check our luggage to our final destination. So when we arrived in Tokyo at 8 p.m. we had to leave the security area, grab our bags, then check in again.

“The automated check-in kept giving us an error and directed us to check-in at the desk. When the woman brought up our ticket, she informed us that our flight had actually already left. Turns out the flight I booked had departed at 12:20 that morning. The good news was that there was still room on the flight leaving that night. The bad news was that Thai Airways wouldn’t just rebook us for the next flight. They made us buy two more tickets.

“To top it off, we even had to pay more than what we originally paid, because it was a last-minute booking. The supervisor said: ‘It wouldn’t be fair to the other customers to let you board this flight without paying.’

“Two thousand five hundred dollars down the drain. I think about it often. To this day I will still skip some meals and credit that money mentally back to the lost $2,500 (my stupidity debt). I have about $1,000 to go.”

Listener Jocelyn Saiki sent us this story of another costly error:

“Years ago, we had a health savings account and I had prepared all the paperwork to cash in the $4,000 worth of money we had spent in medical bills for the year. Way before the online easy-peasy systems, this took a form for each and every single medial expense. Four thousand dollars’-worth took a significant amount of time to fill out. Anyway, the work was done and the stack of papers — along with corresponding receipts — were handed to my spouse for faxing. Yes, faxing. Like I said, it was years ago.

“Weeks later, I learned he didn’t fax the stack of papers. So we lost all of the $4,000, and I was devastated.

“I didn’t grow up with money. Didn’t really have any money for basics, let alone for doctor visits as a kid, so moving from poverty (as a young person) to a middle-class adult takes adjustment. But a $4,000 error is not something I can ever adjust to.

“He said he was sorry. But I begged him never to tell anyone because I was so embarrassed for us both for throwing away $4,000. Not sure I’ve ever recovered. Honestly, I’m still mad, and I cringe whenever I come across something that costs $4,000.”

This one’s from listener Carla Penelope Veras:

“I made a dumb choice and put my boyfriend’s financed vehicle in my name. He was great about making payments, even after we broke up.

“T-minus one year to pay-off date, the vehicle got struck by lightning … totaling it. The vehicle had been refinanced so GAP [Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance] became null and car note was upside down (meaning you owe more than the vehicle is now worth with depreciation).

“I had to take out a personal loan of over $10,000 to pay off the car loan and now making monthly payments of over $500 to pay off the car on an expedited basis. Total nightmare.”

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