24 Ideas That Seem Wise at the Time but Can Have Devastating Consequences

As many Americans learn a little too late, not everything that shines is gold, and what initially seemed like a good idea can turn out to be harmful.

We think it’s best to steer clear of the items on this list. Your life, or at least your wallet, could depend on it.  

1: Buying Lottery Tickets With Friends

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Joining a lottery pool seems like a good idea. After all, you have better odds of winning with more funds available to purchase tickets. Winning large sums of cash can do strange things to people, though, and there’s been more than one incident of a lottery pool ending in a lawsuit. 

2: Always Being Honest 

Man with his fingers crossed.
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Honesty is a virtue, but sometimes, telling a lie is a better bet. Research shows most people agree telling a lie is a good idea if the truth will cause pain and suffering without creating value in the long run. 

3: Planting Trees Beside Your House

Hickory tree.
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Trees can provide shade, lowering temperatures and thereby decreasing your air conditioning bill. Unfortunately, big, shadow-casting foliage usually comes with strong roots that can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation.

4: Covering Your Home in Ivy 

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Ivy can make a simple home look like a fairytale. However, ivy requires yearly pruning, which, depending on the size of your abode, could be quite a chore. It’s also the perfect habitat for rats and other rodents. 

5: Food Challenges

Pile of junk food.
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Eating a large amount of something delicious in return for a free meal, a t-shirt, and your picture on the “wall of fame” may seem like a great idea at the time. Surely, it’s not that hard to eat seven scoops of ice cream laden with hot fudge, right? Except to be successful at an eating challenge typically takes training. Attempting them as a novice often leads to shame and a stomachache. 

6: Not Hiring Movers 

Moving truck.
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Unless you’re on your college football team, you should probably hire movers the next time you change addresses. The money you save doing it yourself is rarely worth throwing out your back. 

7: DIY Home Renovations

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Hiring a professional can be expensive, and there are thousands of YouTube videos on installing your own laminate or replacing your own cabinets, making the do-it-yourself approach tempting. Mess up on a home renovation, though, and it could be very costly.  

8: Bringing Your Closet on Vacation 

Luggage belt.
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It’s good to be prepared, but over-stuffing your suitcase with multiple outfit contingencies for each day of your trip is overdoing it. Hauling around a heavy bag and ensuring all your items make it from one stop to the next only adds to traveling stress. 

9: Pulling an All-Nighter

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Whether it’s for work or school, staying up all night to complete a project or study for a test isn’t a good idea. Staying up past a normal bedtime has detrimental effects on memory and performance. 

10: Installing a Swimming Pool

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If having your own swimming pool is a dream come true, go for it, but don’t install one in hopes of it increasing your home’s worth. Swimming pools can cost up to $90,000 to build and require expensive ongoing maintenance, yet they only increase your home’s value by an average of 7%. 

11: Adopting a Dog Before Having a Baby

Dog in a car.
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Couples often think adopting a dog will be a trial run for parenthood. While pet parents learn responsibility, the demands a dog puts on a home differ from those of a child. Plus, pets can create extra stress if you bring home a baby in the future. 

12: Buying a Fixer-Upper First 

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Buying a fixer-upper might be the only way to get a home in your dream location, but if you’re a first-time homeowner, you should think twice. Fixer-uppers often come with unexpected costs and added stress that can wear down even the most experienced renovators. 

13: Investing Heavily in the Latest Trend

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Sure, a big investment could mean a big payout, but trends change fast. Many people have lost large sums betting on fads. Just ask the Robinson family, who lost $100,000 investing in Beanie Babies. 

14: Starting a New Hobby Before Considering Costs 

Golf course.
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Whether it’s photography, knitting, or golf, nearly every new hobby comes with new costs. Before you find yourself knee-deep in a budding interest, make sure you consult your budget. 

15: Buying Into a Timeshare

Woman at the beach.
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Timeshares promise travelers a regular vacation spot, and while some rare birds love their timeshare property, timeshare investments often don’t work out well. High up-front costs, maintenance fees, and date inflexibility can make timeshares an investment many regret. 

16: Impromptu International Trips

Wing of an airplane.
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The $150 flight to Iceland you find may seem too good to pass up, but traveling internationally on a whim can be challenging. Travel restrictions, seasonal closures, and the cost of last-minute lodging often make impulsive adventures hard to navigate. 

17: Signing Up for Every Rewards Program

Man looking at his phone.
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Company rewards programs could lead to discounts, special deals, and even free stuff, but signing up for all of them probably isn’t a good idea. Every time you give a company your information, you’re taking a risk. A data breach of their server could lead to identity theft. 

18: Taking the Back Way 

Person with their feet out a car window.
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Sitting in traffic is no fun, and looking for an alternative route is understandable. If the highway is clogged, though, you won’t be the only one looking for a back road. Looking for a hidden “shortcut” can sometimes extend your journey. 

19: Pulling on a Stuck Bungee

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Instinct says when something is stuck, a good yank might be enough to free it. If that stuck something is a bungee cord, though, you should consider a different strategy. One strong pull could cause the hook to come hurling towards your face. 

20: Moving Without Enough Research

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Sometimes, you want a fresh start, but moving your entire life is a big commitment. A survey showed that 75% of Americans who moved to a new city had regrets. 

21: Binge-Watching Shows Before Bed

Woman watching TV.
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Catching up on your favorite show seems like a good way to wind down, but staring at a television screen right before bed or for more than two hours a day could negatively impact your sleep quality. 

22: Posting on Social Media

Social media apps.
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Keeping up with friends and family on social media has benefits, but it also has risks. Posting things like birth announcements, pictures of your new home, or your recent family vacation can compromise your security, making you vulnerable to things like identity theft or even home robberies. 

23: Jumping Into Entrepreneurship

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Being your own boss can bring freedom, but it also comes with stress. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, despite what that social media guru you listen to says. 

24: Using Free Wi-Fi Without Precautions 

Frustrated man looking at his laptop.
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Logging onto free Wi-Fi at the airport or library might seem like a good idea, but public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to a variety of threats. The best bet is to avoid it altogether, but if you insist on using it, at least avoid logging into anything personal, like your bank account, and always use a virtual private network (VPN).  

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