Spending

NPR's Planet Money host Amanda Aronczyk on her biggest money mistake: 'I should have been wise'

Share
Courtesy of Rob Rapley.
Key Points
  • When Planet Money host Amanda Aronczyk was hit by a car as a child, she got $15,000 from her insurance company.
  • The money was put into an account that she couldn't touch until she was 18.
  • "If I had been 25, I might have made some better decisions" with those funds, she says.

When Amanda Aronczyk was eleven years old and living in Toronto, she was hit by a car. The Planet Money host, now 47, sustained some pretty significant injuries in the accident.

"It sucked," she says. "I broke my leg and sprained my ankle, needed surgery, and wore a full length leg cast for ages."

She did, however, come into some money from her insurance company: $15,000. The amount was put into an account that she couldn't access until she was 18. When the funds did become available to her, she made some very 18-year-old decisions.

"I was responsible with some of it," she says. But with the rest, she made some mistakes.

'I bought some kegs of beers for my friends'

Aronczyk spent a summer in Chicago and enrolled in a film class at the Art Institute in Chicago, which she still thinks of as a good investment.

She also bought a lot of beer. "I bought some kegs of beers for my friends," she says. "That was the first thing I did, like 'party's on me. I just came into a load of cash.'"

The kicker is she didn't consume any of it: "I don't drink beer. I bought it 100% for my friends."

VIDEO2:0402:04
A $10,000 watch, an extended warranty, and more money mistakes

Video by Mariam Abdallah

'I should have been clever about it'

Looking back, she doesn't regret having some fun with the money, but she does wish she had put a bit away. "I should have been wise and invested 30% of it," she says. "I should have been clever about it."

After all, the most important factor of investing is time. If she invested $4,500 about 30 years ago, she could have more than $35,000, assuming a 7% interest rate.

"If I had been 25, I might have made some better decisions," she says. "I might have thought of something other than buying beer for everybody that made me popular for five seconds."

More from Grow: