Financial Traps to Avoid
There’s a reason why even athletes, entertainers, and business people with seven-figure (and higher) incomes suddenly find themselves filing for bankruptcy.Money mismanagement can eat through even the biggest bankrolls. Here are some specific threats to financial stability that people can avoid to help effectively manage their wealth.
No BudgetIn 2022, a survey by Debt.com revealed that 90.24% of respondents believed everyone should have a budget (though only 85.6% of the respondents said they used one). Half of the survey respondents said they’re living paycheck to paycheck, which may help explain why they consider budgeting to be so important.
Budgeting does not have to mean skipping coffee and driving a jalopy for the rest of your life. It does mean paying close attention to how much money comes in and where it all goes. Use your financial goals to guide you in steering your money in the right direction.
Too Much DebtIf you have a lot of debt to pay off, a budget is even more important. It helps reduce the likelihood of relying on more credit to fill the gaps. A budget also helps you to collect all those extra dollars and cents that you could put toward paying more than the bare minimum on debt. When paying off debt, start with the higher-interest accounts first and work your way through to save money.
No ProtectionInsurance can be expensive, but going without insurance can be even more so. Renters, homeowners, auto, health, disability, and life insurance policies are the main ones you should consider. If you have a business — especially if it is your main or only source of income — getting business insurance can protect your livelihood in the event of a mishap with a client or customer.
No Retirement PlanningA recent survey by Clever estimates that nearly 30% of Americans have nothing saved for retirement. The survey also revealed that retirees who have saved have, on average, only $191,659 saved for retirement, which is far less than the $514,800 recommended by experts.
Because of this, Americans continue to hold stressful, low-paying jobs well into their retirement years. It is never too early to start planning for retirement, no matter how small your contributions are. Remember to take advantage of matched contributions from employers whenever possible.
Too Much RiskThere is no investment that is 100% without risk. If there were, the returns on that investment would be negligible. Even so, taking on too much risk at the wrong time can lead to big financial problems. Taking on high levels of risk is appropriate for young people who have more time to recover and is not advised for people nearing retirement.
Shady InvestmentsEven worse is when risky investments turn out to be fraudulent or shady. In fact, the more risk-free an investment sounds, the more you should do some digging. This holds true whether the business or individual you plan to invest in is a stranger or your brother. People who miscalculate or fail to do enough research can cause you just as much financial damage as fraudsters.
Poor Tax ManagementNo matter how much or how little money you make, tax management is a great way to help keep money in your pockets. This is especially important after a large windfall, such as an inheritance. For instance, if you inherit an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and choose to cash out, you may lose a portion of this in taxes. Divorce is another time of life when tax management is key.
Mismanaged AssetsStocks are often traded frequently, making them active investments, but you still need to ensure your portfolio stays balanced. Similarly, if you have a home, keeping up with repairs and improvements maintains and grows its value. Unmanaged assets also pose a problem, such as when people allow large sums of money to sit in accounts with low to no interest rates and high fees.
For some people, money management is a talent and financial literacy is almost an inborn skill. Many other people, however, could use a little help making financial decisions. Contact one of our Financial Consultants to speak with professionals who can help to steer your finances in the right direction.