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Financial pitfalls have been a part of human history since our earliest days, leading to financial abuses, colossal losses, and in some cases even bankruptcy.
While it’s true that money can make the world go round and is often necessary for us to accomplish our goals or get by in life, mismanaging your finances can be one of the quickest routes to disaster.
In this article we explore 10 notorious cases of financial blunders that resulted in fates ranging from public ridicule to downright ruinous bankruptcies, uncovering the lessons hidden beneath their mask.
1. The Iraq War
The Iraq War was another costly and controversial conflict many believe was a waste of money. It was a controversial conflict that began in 2003 and lasted nearly a decade.
The war cost the United States over $2 trillion, equivalent to over $4 trillion today, yet ultimately failed to achieve its objectives. Despite the enormous cost, the war could not accomplish many goals. Iraq remains a deeply divided and unstable country.
2. The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository
The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, was a proposed nuclear waste storage facility estimated to cost over $90 billion to build.
However, after years of controversy and legal challenges, they canceled the project in 2010.
3. The Fyre Festival
The Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxurious music festival in the Bahamas but was a complete disaster.
Attendees paid thousands of dollars for tickets and accommodations, only to arrive to find that they had poorly organized the festival and it lacked necessities like food and water.
4. The Concorde
The Concorde was a supersonic passenger jet that was supposed to revolutionize air travel. Still, it turned out to be a colossal waste of money.
The plane cost over $1 billion to develop, and technical problems and safety concerns plagued it throughout its lifetime. It was eventually retired in 2003 after only 27 years of service.
5. The Spanish Armada
In 1588, King Philip II of Spain sent ships to invade England. The Spanish Armada was the largest fleet ever assembled at the time, but the English Navy ultimately defeated it.
They estimated the cost of the failed invasion to be around 130 million ducats or roughly $8 billion at today’s rates.
6. The F-35 Fighter Jet
The F-35 fighter jet is one of the most expensive weapons systems in history, with an estimated cost of over $1.5 trillion. Despite its enormous price tag, technical problems and delays have plagued the plane. Many experts question whether it’s worth the cost.
While some of these projects may have seemed like good ideas, they ended up on this list. It’s a reminder that even the most well-intentioned endeavors can be costly failures.
7. The Titanic
The Titanic was one of the most luxurious and expensive ships of its time, and it was also one of the biggest wastes of money in human history.
The ship cost $7.5 million to build, equivalent to over $400 million today. When it sank on its maiden voyage, it took with it the lives of over 1,500 people.
8. The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the world’s most impressive engineering feats, but it was also a massive waste of money.
A contributor notes the wall cost the Chinese government an estimated $18 billion to build, equivalent to over $360 billion today. Despite its massive size and expense, the division failed to prevent many invasions and conflicts over the centuries.
9. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, were one of the most expensive Olympic Games in history, with a price tag of over $50 billion.
Many of the facilities built for the games were never used again, and the cost of hosting the event contributed to Russia’s current economic woes.
10. The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a costly and unpopular conflict lasting over a decade. The US spent an estimated $168 billion on the war (equivalent to over $1 trillion in today’s dollars), ultimately ending in a stalemate.
Someone remarks that the Vietnam War was “a massive waste of money, effort and lives.” Over 58,000 Americans and countless Vietnamese civilians and soldiers were lost in the war.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
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