Have you ever received a piece of advice that made sense initially, but was later debunked upon further knowledge? This advice may have even come from a dependable friend that meant well but was severely misguided. It happens quite often.
People hear something in passing or read it online and assume it’s the truth without doing any amount of fact-checking. It’s just one talking-head regurgitating the words of another. Often times it’s innocent but when it comes to personal finances, receiving incorrect tips can really have a lasting effect.
Below are 3 financial tips that you should dismiss immediately.
At first glance, not spending money seems to be the best way to save it. You want to buy a car in a couple of years, eliminate eating out all altogether or drive only when necessary. Again, this sounds like a good plan. But is this way of thinking sustainable? Can you continuously keep it up?
More then likely the answer is no. It’s going to come down to pure willpower. Depriving yourself of some of life’s small luxuries indefinitely will leave you feeling miserable. And no one possesses willpower when they are miserable.
Rather than slashing your budget to save money, pick up a second revenue stream. It could be freelance writing, dog-walking, or food delivery service. This allows you to continue enjoying some of life’s pleasantries while you save money. Even if it’s just an extra 10 hours a week, you may be able to pick up a couple extra hundred bucks a month.
There’s a big difference between “playing it safe” and “being cautious.” The former implies making as little investments as possible while the latter implies being calculated in your investments. Being cautious is always a wise approach when dealing with finances. But playing it safe may lead you to hoard your money.
Placing your money in a savings account will yield a much lower rate-of-return. On average, this return will net you approximately 2% to 3% annually. Factoring the rate of inflation with your low return rate, your money may actually lose its value over time—all because you “played it safe.”
Although the stock market has its ups and downs, your rate of return could peak anywhere from 7% to 10% over time. Investing your money too safely may give you peace of mind during the short term, but it may be riskier in the long run.
Having to owe someone or some company money is not an ideal way to manage your finances. However, all debts are not “created equally.” Some debts are in fact necessary given the current economic landscape. Most people are not able to pay cash for a new home, car, or education.
Using what cash you do have for a down payment for these items can certainly save you money. Homeownership and education that can lead to a better paying job are seen as wise investments.
However, what you’ll want to avoid is unnecessary debt especially accompanied with high-interest rates. Credit cards are the main culprit when it comes to “bad debt.” Irresponsibly handling your money will always result in debt that could have been avoided.
Going into debt for a wise investment is not a bad thing. In fact, many encourage this course of action. But going into debt because of poor decisions and impulse buys is always to be avoided.
Getting financial advice can be tricky. Everyone seems to claim that they have the answers. Websites and commercial ads all swear that their methods or programs are the “only thing you’ll ever need” for financial freedom. Consult with people in your circle and do your own research.
Cross-reference different sources and make sure you have all the facts in order to plan accordingly.