More than ever, it is important for people to have savings and to be able to invest. Like most people, I made a lot of financial mistakes that caused me to fall behind in my financial goals. As a financial advisor, I have seen many financial mistakes over and over again.
The most common is not saving early and having too much debt. However, there are several financial pitfalls that most people don’t see that could cost you dearly. Most people won’t have enough money saved for retirement, and it’s not for lack of performance, it’s usually a budget issue. The best investors know they have to pay themselves by investing first and then pay their bills.
Ultimately, saving money can be hard to invest, but here are 3 pitfalls to avoid.
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# 1 car payments
One of my biggest wasters of money in the past was on cars. Ask the average person what they’ve saved for retirement and they’ll tell you $ 0. Why, because they don’t have any money. Yet these are the same people who drive a new car.
My spending on cars in my youth keeps me awake at night. Did I need a car, yes, but if I had paid cash for a car and invested the other money, I would have been further ahead. At the time, I was working for a financial company where I wanted to be seen as making money, hence the need for an expensive car. Such a waste.
What I recommend is to buy a car and pay cash. If you need to get a loan, get it for a minimum amount and plan to pay it off sooner. My wife and I paid $ 5,000 for our last car, which lasted over four years. Its maintenance cost around $ 2000 and is working very well. If I had taken out a loan of $ 20,000, my payment would have been $ 386 per month. My current monthly cost is around $ 145!
Conclusion – Cars are not ASSETS; they are LIABILITIES. Our friends have fancy SUVs at $ 50,000 but are in debt to the max. A few years ago, the two companies we were working at laid off, and everything was fine because we had $ 0 car loans and great savings.
# 2 Real estate agents
I encourage most people to buy a house. Yes, they are expensive and generally do not appreciate at the same rate as other investments such as stocks. However, do not hire a real estate agent.
Paying 6% or any commission on one of the biggest purchases of your life is a waste because most real estate is online with Zillow, Redfin, or other websites. The most difficult part of real estate is the actual sale and transfer of the property, which is done by the property company. In most cases, you will see the same homes listed online as the real estate agent would show you.
Bottom Line – If you’re selling, list your home for free on popular real estate websites. If you are buying, be aware that most homes are still listed by real estate agents. One thing you can do is negotiate the price by telling the realtor you don’t have one and asking them to REDUCE their commission. This is precisely what we did the last time.
# 3 credit cards
One of the main things people say that can get you in trouble is credit cards. Most famous financial gurus go so far as to tell people that they shouldn’t have them because it’s too easy to get into heavy debt.
However, I use credit cards because my wife and I travel a lot and get some great perks like free upgrades. I upgrade all the time to my favorite hotel chain and rent a car for free. We are very religious about the reimbursement of the card each month.
Bottom line – If I wasn’t traveling or spending enough to get some valuable benefits, I wouldn’t bother with credit cards. It is too easy to fall into the debt trap.