Avoid These Money Blunders

iStock_000013346445MediumNo one is perfect, and we’re all going to make mistakes with money from time to time. Hopefully, your mistakes are limited to a splurge purchase you regret or losing a 10-dollar bill on the sidewalk. In order to avoid permanent harm to your financial life, watch out for these major money blunders.

Spending more than you earn. It can be tempting to take on debt in order to “keep up with the Jones family”. But if you’re taking on debt to afford a lifestyle that’s really above your means, all you’re doing is making it more likely you’ll never be able to afford that lifestyle! Instead, create a budget based on what you actually make, and stick to it.

Neglecting to purchase life insurance. At some point, we all need the benefits paid out by life insurance. But many people avoid purchasing a policy when they’re young and could actually get a really low rate. Delaying this decision only means you pay a higher premium later.

Funding college over retirement. Many well-meaning parents choose to save for their children’s college educations – which is a great goal – but it comes at the expense of funding their retirements. If you aren’t contributing the maximum to your retirement account each year, saving for other expenses like college may not in your best interest. Your child can probably get financial aid, grants, and loans to pay their tuition, but there is no financial aid for retirement.

Cosigning on loans. This is another common mistake made by parents who have the best intentions, but it can backfire big-time. It may not be wise to co-sign on a loan unless you can make the payments on that loan. Otherwise you’re putting your credit rating and financial health at risk.

Failing to consider the cost of health care in retirement. We tend to establish a monthly budget and develop a savings goal based on that, but don’t forget to account for unexpected expenses. Your out-of-pocket health care bills can be considerable in the event of a serious illness or accident, so consider additional insurance or set aside extra money for these expenses.