There are many money mistakes which continue to plague Americans and see them sink into debt and poverty. To help you avoid them and live a prosperous life, we’ve compiled 7 of the biggest money mistakes that we regularly see Americans doing.
1. Failing to set goals
Whether you’re aiming to be mortgage-free or to be able to afford fancy vacations every year, you need to set financial goals and hold yourself accountable to them. Quantify your goals and set targets for your finances; it’s the best way to keep yourself on track.
2. Committing to a 30-Year Mortgage
Having a 15-year mortgage may seem daunting, but it will save you an awful lot of money on interest in the long run. For example, if you get a 30-year mortgage with a 3.5% interest rate attached, you may incur around $150,000 in interest over those 30 years. Paying for the same home with a 15-year mortgage, however, sees you paying around only $70,000 in interest.
3. Buying small, unnecessary purchases
So many Americans spend small sums of money regularly which they don’t need to, and then wonder where all their money seems to have gone. For example, do you buy your lunch from a café every day rather than taking a prepacked lunch to work? Even if you save yourself $3 or $4 per day on your lunch break, that’s over $1,000 over the course of the year. Stop buying things you don’t need if there’s a cheaper alternative!
4. Relinquishing your financial responsibilities
Giving control of your finance’s to your spouse can be very dangerous, especially if your spouse passes away, becomes very ill, or you get a divorce. It’s essential to remain up-to-date on your financial accounts, and if you turn your investments over to a financial consultant or a broker, be sure to keep an eye on what’s being done with your money.
5. Not saving for your retirement properly
Save around 10% to 15% of your income for your retirement, even if you’re younger. People in their 20s and 30s can inevitably delay their retirement payments, as it seems like it’s a very long time away, which it is! Nonetheless, saving for your retirement early allows you to rest assured that the money is there as you age.
6. Cashing out your retirement funds
50% of Americans will cash out their 401(k) balances upon changing a job. Some people may also take out loans against their 401(k) balances, which can ultimately reduce the amount of earnings they would have seen otherwise. Tax-deferred retirement plans, like a 401(k), are a good way to save money for your golden years. You should, however, avoid the temptation to cash them out before you’re grey and old.
7. Having too much credit card debt
Stay away from credit cards and pay for things in cash whenever you can. People who are rich and financially smart simply do not go around buying a bunch of things on credit – they don’t see why they should pay more over the long term. If you can’t buy something in full with cash, then don’t buy it. It’s really that simple – you can wait.
These 7 mistakes are just the tip of the iceberg! With over 81% of Americans reportedly being in debt, it appears that we have a lot of work to do in order to get more and more US bank accounts out of the red and into the black. If you’re looking for more advice and tips about saving money, feel free to get in touch with us today!