Ever feel like you’re living in your own version of the movie “Groundhog Day” — making the same money mistakes again… and again… and again? Well, breaking the cycle may be easier than you think!
For many people, getting their finances in order is their top priority for 2015. What money mistakes do we need to stop making to help us succeed?
For many people, they can’t achieve financial success because they continue to make money mistakes over and over- just like Groundhog Day! Worst off, some people don’t realize their financial flubs. Let’s talk about what I would say are 5 of the most common mistakes.
5 common financial flubs we all make and how we can get back on track
1. Delayed Payments:
Make sure you stay organized and pay your bills on time. Whether it’s household bills or credit card payments, if you are paying late fees, you are throwing money away. Plus, late payments can hurt your credit score, which can result in higher interest rates and make it harder for you to get financing for purchases like a car or home. You may want to look into options like auto-pay to keep your payments consistently on time.
2. Overlooking Interest:
Here’s your wake up call. The average person in (insert state) will pay $(insert dollar amount) in interest in their lifetime (according to a January, 2015 report by Credit.com). That includes interest on credit cards, car and house loans. Build your payoff plan by putting all your debts in one place- how much you owe, the due date and minimum payment. I have a great worksheet on my website, dursocapital.com, to get you started. Start by attacking the smallest balance – put as much toward that debt as you can afford, but continue to make minimum payments on all your debts. When you wipe that first one out, move on to the next. Paying off each balance will help you build momentum to carry you through.
3. Same-old Savings:
Many people still stick to the traditional checking and savings accounts through their bank. While it’s important to put money away in savings, usually the interest rates are very low. Consider investing some of your savings. There are a lot of options out there, from annuities to a 401(k) or IRA. Talk to a trusted financial professional to determine which route best meets your goals.
4. Ignoring Upkeep:
A house is the single biggest purchase most of us will make in our lifetimes – protect that investment by making home maintenance a priority. Think of your home just like your car – without regular upkeep, they lose value and could be headed for expensive repairs down the road. Keep up with projects such as checking the seals on your windows and doors, getting your chimney cleaned, air conditioning and/or furnace maintenance, changing air filters, etc.
5. Forgetting Retirement:
Everyone should be saving for retirement, no matter your age. For many people, that starts with a 401(k). I tell my clients to look at a 401(k) match as free money. If you aren’t contributing enough to get the free match from your employer, you are throwing money away. Ideally, we want to be saving at least 10% of our income for retirement- even if you are in your 20s. Having the money directly transferred will make it easier. Now that companies are moving away from pensions, planning for a secure retirement is up to you.
What if someone is feeling overwhelmed by their financial situation? Where should they start?
The most important thing is to be realistic and make a plan that you can stick with. If you’re making all five of these mistakes, concentrate on one area first. Once you get on track there, move to the next one. If you’re really feeling overwhelmed, a financial professional can help you figure out what your first move should be.