The Shocking Truth About the Money Mistakes You Are Making
We're shouting from the roof tops! The 11 Money Mistakes can hurt you bad. They can SCAR YOU FOR LIFE if you let them.
The financial decisions you make can be HUGE CASH DRAINS if you're not aware of the consequences. You must do everything you can to stop the bleeding.
Our readers mean everything to us. We want to help everyone who has been challenged by the SUFFOCATING FEELING of living in financial distress.
You can make SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS in a relatively short period of time if you're willing to work on yourself. Make some goals that you find motivating. Plot a plan to get there.
You can do this!
Money mistakes don't have to last forever.
Enter your Written by Joel and Leah DePeri
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
You waited too long to invest in your future
What happens when you make a small snowball and start pushing it down a hill? It keeps picking up snow as it rolls. When it reaches the bottom it is many times its original size.
Compound interest works the same way.
Compound interest is the MOST POWERFUL FACTOR in creating immense wealth.
Don't squander your only chance to make use of it!
"The most powerful force in the world is compound interest."
Let's look at an example to illustrate the power of compound interest.
Jake and Ann each contribute $3000 a year towards their retirement. Jake starts 10 years earlier than Ann.
It's incredible that simply starting saving ten years earlier allowed Jake to MORE THAN DOUBLE the sum that Susan had accumulated.
That's THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF COMPOUND INTEREST and why you should start early!
Ask Warren Buffett why he is one of the richest people on earth and he will say "compound interest".
Take it from Warren. He knows what he is talking about.
Whatever age you are, if you haven't started saving for retirement - start now!
BOOST THE PERCENTAGE YOU ARE INVESTING. Let that balance accumulate to something big!
You didn't save enough for retirement
Most people are not saving enough for retirement. In fact, many are not saving at all.
The average person in their 60's has $172,000 in retirement savings. That may seem like a lot of money, but it's really not enough. It is recommended that you don't withdraw more than 4% a year from your account once you reach retirement age. That would allow you to withdraw about $7000 a year.
The average Social Security check is about $16,000 a year. Combining your 4% withdrawal with your Social Security would give you $23,000 a year. That's hardly enough to live on. In actuality, it put you close to the poverty line.
(Recommended Retirement Savings by Age)
2 times your salary
3 times your salary
6 times your salary
7 times your salary
8 times your salary
10 times your salary
We believe that many retirement accounts are not fully funded because people are FAILING TO PAY THEMSELVES FIRST.
Retirement savings should be the first category that is automatically subtracted from your income. You should be taking 15% off the top for retirement. If you don't feel you can take the full 15% out, then work your way up to that level. We suggest that you increase your savings by 1% each month or two until you get there.
You should also eliminate unnecessary expenses because even small amounts can compound over time. Gather up what money you have extra and put it right into your retirement account.
Our #1 recommendation is to start a home business of your own. Use this wonderful opportunity to do something that you like doing. This may enable you to SAFELY transition into a second career that you can enjoy after you retire.
You bought a more expensive house than you can afford
Housing is likely the biggest expense in your budget. It can also be one of your biggest money mistakes if you allow your "wants" to exceed your "needs".
Sure, an extra bedroom would be nice. A pool in your background would be refreshing on a hot summer day, but how does the prospect of shelling out hundreds of dollars more a month on your mortgage for 30 years for your precious extra bedroom and pool appeal to you? It's just not worth it. Especially when you consider the INCREDIBLE things you could have done with your money instead. You could have used that money towards RETIRING YEARS EARLIER than your co-workers. You could of PAID OFF YOUR MORTGAGE EARLY and become "debt free".
Determine what you want in your new home and then STICK TO THE PLAN. Look for communities where you feel you could pick up a house at a good value. The smallest house on the block is usually the best value because you can improve it and boost your home value. Tell your real estate agent that you want to stay in a particular price range and not to show you anything that falls out of that range.
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You don't have a plan for your money
We used to hate that word.
We associated budgeting with pain. And who wants to bring pain into their life?
Now, when we speak the word "budgeting", we think of "FREEDOM".
That's quite a change. You see, BUDGETING DOESN'T HAVE TO BE RESTRICTIVE. Actually, it's quite the opposite. Budgeting lets you tell your money where to go. It frees up your money for things that you value (like that summer vacation at the beach).
"A budget is just telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went."
Our lives changed when we started to tell our money where to go. It was amazing how much less stress we had. Our biggest surprise was how much more we were able to afford. We were finally able to purchase and experience many of the things we wanted.
You can do this too. Just give it a chance!
First, spend as you normally do for a month, but make a written note of each purchase. Be sure to note every candy bar, dinner on the town, and Starbucks coffee. Just spend as you normally would. No one is asking you to do anything different at this point.
At the end of the month, total how much you spend in each category (mortgage or rent, gym membership, going out to eat...). You will discover expenses that can be trimmed (or even eliminated). Many of your expenses will surprise you. I know were surprised at the amount we were spending for groceries.
Now subtract your expenses from your income for the month.
Finally, create a SPENDING PLAN for the next month. Use the categories that you already noted. Create additional categories for upcoming purchases and experiences that you want to have.
It's a INCREDIBLE FEELING when you realize that you control your money and it doesn't control you anymore.
You don't have an emergency fund
This is a "must have".
We all have unexpected expenses that threaten to shake up our budget. That's why an emergency fund is so important.
An emergency fund will GIVE YOU ROOM TO BREATHE and bring your stress level down. You won't feel like you are going through life without a safety net. It acts as a FINANCIAL CUSHION and protects you from making a major money mistake. You will always feel like you are one step away from disaster if you don't have an emergency fund.
We remember well how it felt to be living on the edge. Some days were really rough. There was always the persistent fear that something would come along that would blow us over. It's such a relief to not feel that pain anymore.
Creating an emergency fund was certainly one of the best things we ever did. We know it will help you too.
We suggest that you have a minimum of $1000 set aside in case of an emergency. SET IT ASIDE QUICKLY. Sell your stuff, work some extra hours, and cut your expenses. Put it in a place where it's safe and don't touch it unless you really need it.
An emergency fund will prevent you from having to use your credit card and go deeper into debt. It's important that you REPLENISH YOUR FUND QUICKLY in case you have to use it.
One thousand dollars is a good starting point, but you will need to start increasing it once you are on secure footing. A larger emergency fund will help you weather calamitous events such as replacing your furnace in the dead of winter or fixing a leaky roof.
If you're a one income family, a six month emergency fund is recommended because you are the sole source of income. If you have two incomes, three months is adequate.
You bought a new car
We all love that new car smell and how wonderful it looks sitting in your driveway all shiny and new. Unfortunately, it's a money drain that will BLOW A HOLE IN YOUR BUDGET every month.
Car payments and high insurance bills will alter your future big time. They carry a price that is measured in more than dollars. Consider the EXTRA YEARS you will have to work because you had to pay your monthly payment instead of fully funding your retirement account. You should also consider the exciting opportunities your children WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE because you were married to a shiny piece of metal parked on your driveway.
A new car will lose 20% of its value the moment you drive it off the lot. Buying a new car is one of the biggest money mistakes you can make.
The best way to preserve your investment is to purchase a car that has been previously owned and already depreciated substantially. Aim to pay it off in two or three years. This will leave you with 6+ years without any payments if you maintain it well. Your insurance bills will be much lower also and will continue to drop each year.
We research every car we purchase and pay particular attention to each vehicles history of reliability. We consult the ratings that Consumers Reports Magazine lists in their auto issue each April. This is extremely important because some models and manufacturers have terrible ratings. Auto repairs can add thousands of dollars to an automobiles cost over its lifetime if you choose a car with a poor reliability record. Our cars have been extremely reliable. We don't consider ourselves lucky. It's not luck at all. The secret is in the research. Pay attention to what you are buying and you won't get a lemon.
You didn't attempt to raise your credit score
The average person with a credit score of 550 pays $150,000 more in interest over a lifetime compared to someone with a score of 750.
Want to know how to save THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR in interest charges?
Then let's talk about your FICO score.
The FICO score is calculated from the data on your credit reports at three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion).
The FICO score predicts how likely you are to pay back a loan or other credit obligation on time. It is used by 90% of lenders to determine the interest rate you will pay on a loan.
What Your FICO score Means to Lenders
A low credit score WILL FOLLOW YOU AROUND LIKE A CRAZED DOG. You can easily pay hundreds of dollars extra a month in interest charges if you have low scores. It's certainly one of the biggest money mistakes you can ever make.
Your FICO credit score is also used to determine the interest rates for your mortgage, student loans, credit cards, and auto insurance. Utilities may require a security deposit for low scorers and your mobile phone company may even offer you different options based on your credit history.
How Your FICO score is Determined
amount you owe
length of credit history
new credit opened
type of credit
We have maintained credit scores over 800 for many years and have reaped tremendous benefits by being eligible for the lowest rates offered by our bank. We literally save hundreds of dollars a month on our mortgage and auto insurance.
The most important variable in calculating a credit score is your HISTORY OF PAYING YOUR BILLS ON TIME. If you are late on a payment, your score will be affected. According to FICO data, a payment that is late for 30 days can cause as much as a 90 to 110 point drop on a FICO score of 780 for a customer that has never missed a payment.
We have set our bills so that they are paid on time automatically. We like having our payments deducted AUTOMATICALLY because we don't have to be concerned about forgetting one and having our score lowered.
How to Increase Your FICO Score
Check your credit report for errors.
Pay down your balances and keep them low.
Don't close unused cards that you have had open for years.
Don't charge more than 30% of your credit limit.
Eliminate small balances on a number of cards.
Choose one or two cards to use for everything.
You married the wrong person
Maybe you think we slipped this in as a joke.
For some though, it's a reality they live every day with. Your spouse may not think about money the same way you do. You may want to save and pay down the mortgage while they want to travel the world and see nothing wrong with carrying a $15,000 credit card balance.
How can you save for your future and not ruin the relationship you have now?
We recommend keeping track of each purchase for a month and then have a sit down meeting to talk about it. You're not actually asking someone to restrict their spending. Our hope is that they will realize how money they are wasting and want to do something about it. Many people have CHANGED THEIR HABITS when they discover that they spent $1200 eating out last month.
We would also recommend watching Dave Ramsey Debt Free Screams on YouTube. Watch the video's together. They're highly entertaining and they might just start things in motion.
Buy Dave's book Total Money Makeover and read it together.
If you can get this far, sign up for a 10 week class called Financial Peace University. It's free to attend. Check Dave Ramsey's website for locations throughout the United States. This class has changed tens of thousands of lives. We know it works because it changed ours. It's one of the most significant things we have done together.
You didn't invest in yourself
One of our favorite motivational speakers is Jim Rohn. He taught us the importance of taking RESPONSIBILITY for our own personal growth.
"Poor people have big TV's. Rich people have big libraries.
We hope you grasped the significance of the quote above.
Your best investment will never be a stock, bond, or a plot of land.
Your best investment will always be investing in yourself.
There are many ways you can invest in yourself.
Investing doesn't always have to do with monetary gain. Investing in yourself can can initiate POSITIVE CHANGES in your life and help make you a happier person. It can also deepen your relationship with your friends and family.
You don't have a plan for your life
Things really started happening to us when we created a FINANCIAL PLAN for our life.
We were able to accomplish financial goals in a very short time that normally would have taken us a year or more. It seemed that the goals we have for our life were accomplished easier and everything just fell naturally in place.
"If you don't design your life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much."
A financial life plan is a GPS for your life. It lets you see the road in front of you with CRYSTAL CLEAR CLARITY and shows you the best (and fastest) way to reach your destination. You won't be wandering anymore because you will be focused on your goals with LASER FOCUSED INTENSITY.
Think about where do you want your life to lead. Compile a list of goals that you are passionate about. Rank your goals by how long you think it will take to accomplish them.
1. Short term less than one year
2. Mid-term two to five years
3. Long term more than 5 years
Set monthly goals that are specific and measurable. Read through your goals every day. Even better, write your goals the first thing in the morning. It's a great way to start your day.
You didn't buy enough insurance
Last year, we watched a nearby condominium building go up in flames. In a matter of hours, twenty families lost their home and everything they owned. It was a day that we will always remember.
You have worked hard to get to where you are right now and it can be taken away from you in a minute.
A fire can destroy everything you earn.
An auto accident can leave you permanently disabled.
An illness can bankrupt you if you don't have adequate insurance.
Do you have policies in effect to protect your assets and financial future?
Life insurance will enable your family to have an income in case something happens to you. It's an absolute must. Term insurance is inexpensive. Don't leave your family unprotected.
Homeowners (or renters) insurance will enable you to rebuild in case there is a fire or flood. A burst pipe can cause ten thousand dollars worth of damage.
Disability insurance will help you bring in an income in case you are not able to work.
A calamity can rewrite your future. Don't let it happen to you.
We've all made some money mistakes at one time or another (none of us are perfect). We're interested in how you corrected your "mistake". Are you trying to be "debt free"? We would like to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.