There are certain financial mistakes that are ubiquitous to all. These are ones that everyone makes at some point, whether they are a well-educated professional or blue collar service worker.
Here are those mistakes. But we’ll go even further and explain how you can avoid them.
Massive Credit Card Debt
One of the classic problems with the average American is their credit card debt. Again, this is a mistake that the poor in urban Chicago and the rich of Park Avenue can get caught up in.
Credit cards in of themselves are not bad. Actually, having and using one on a regular basis can help your credit.
The problem occurs when people slide into enormous credit card debt. It can happen very easily. Eventually, they are sound buried by high interest and fees that it can be very difficult to get out.
So how can they avoid this situation? That sounds easy, but it may not be.
First of all, don’t use your credit card to make up for cash short fall. That is a habit that people develop and that is why they get into such massive debt.
You’ll know when you are getting into this situation when you start paying your utilities or rent with your credit card. If you do it to rack up points and you have the cash to back it up, that’s okay. But when you start doing it because you don’t have the cash to pay your bills, that’s when you get into trouble.
So simply, pay everything with cash. If you’re going to use credit, make sure you are 100% sure that the cash will be there within 30 days to pay it off.
Buying A House Declining In Value
Housing values are not all going up together anymore. Once the bubble burst, it has become like any other asset. That means some house go up in value and some go down.
One of the biggest financial mistakes when people buy a house in an area where the values are due to go down. They may buy the house because it sounds like a great deal, assuming that it’ll go up in value because that is what the conventional wisdom has been. But if you buy in the wrong area now, the value may actually go down.
Mortgage and Homeowners Insurance
Another common mistake is not having enough on your down payment for your mortgage. If you can manage to have more than 20% in down payment, you may not need to get certain types of mortgage insurance.
Also, many people pay too much for their homeowners insurance. Since it’s such a niche industry, it can be hard to find good quotes. But if you go through an insurance broker, it’s likely they only work with a few companies to compete for your policy.
The research is conclusive. If you have a college or graduate degree, you will make more money over your lifetime. But does that mean you need to go $100K in debt to get there?
You should consider public universities. They are significantly less expensive, and you get comparable education. In addition, income for public vs private colleges aren’t that much different.
The biggest mistake of all is to get into a for-profit university. They will charge you $20-30K a year. They are losing credibility so your $80K debt may not be worth it.
These are some of the most common financial mistakes. They are all easily avoidable if you know the pitfalls.