Let’s be honest, when your young, you think you know everything. You have your whole life ahead of you, with the world at your feet, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, for the majority, it all goes downhill incredibly quickly. Before they know it, they find themselves thousands in debt, with no savings in sight, and are looking in the mirror asking, ‘Where did it all go wrong?’.
Today I will be highlighting the 7 BIG mistakes that the majority of society fall victim to, in the hope that this will open your eyes to what is just around the corner, and help you lay a solid foundation for your finances in your early years of working life.
If you can avoid the 7 BIG money mistakes that most people make, you will separate yourself from the 99%, and become part of the 1% that are on the path to wealth and financial independence.
1. LIFESTYLE INFLATION
When someone obtains a pay-increase due to a promotion at work, they will find themselves at the end of the first month with spare cash. However, 6 months down the line, they are praying for another pay-rise to come along, because they no longer have any spare cash at the end of the month.
Where did that extra money from the pay-increase go ? … Lifestyle Inflation.
This is the process of raising your expenses at the same rate as your income, which ultimately means you never get ahead. If you earn £1000 and spend £1000, you will end up with nothing. If you then get a pay increase to £1500 and raise your expenses to £1500, by buying new fancy things you think you need, you still end up with nothing. Unfortunately, this is what happens to most people.
If you are not careful, this terrible habit will creep up on you and have you in its grip in no time. The solution to this is budgeting and tracking your finances. Learn to live on a specific amount of money, and stick to it. Then, if a pay-increase does come along, you will always have spare money at the end of EVERY month.
2. FINANCING A BRAND NEW CAR
You do not need a fancy car… EVER.
It does not matter what your friends, family or colleagues drive, it is not a competition. All you need is a practical, low-cost car with great miles per gallon, that you can afford to pay for in cash. Remember, a car is a depreciating asset, meaning from the moment you start driving it you are losing money. Car loans are notoriously hard to pay off, as you cannot simply sell the car if you want to clear the debt. Your car will always be of lower value than the loan you originally took out, so even if you were to sell the car, you would still have payments remaining to clear the debt. Therefore, if you are going to purchase a car, buy used and pay cash.
Congratulations, you’re getting married! Now its time to plan the HUGE abroad Stag/Hen parties! Will it be 150 or 250 guests? Which castle or Manor house will you be hiring? Can’t afford to pay for it all yourself?… Don’t worry, take out a loan or pop it on a few credit cards and pay it off later, you DESERVE your dream day, the one you’ve been waiting for your whole life …
Sounds familiar, right?
This seems to be the way 99% of people plan their weddings these days. The problem is, that one day that you have dreamt about for your entire life will turn into the nightmare that you will never be able to forget when you’re still paying it off 5 years later. Now I’m not saying don’t get married, but there are better ways of doing it than the way EVERYONE else does it. Remember, it is YOUR day, not anyone else’s, so stop trying to compete with what you see on Instagram. If you can’t afford your dream wedding right now, postpone it to allow yourself time to save up, or reduce the number of people you are inviting, because let’s face it, do you even know all 250 guests?
If I had a penny for every time I met someone who has a degree, but works in a job that has nothing to do with that degree, well let’s just say I’d be a pretty rich man. Before you commit yourself to years of student loan debt, have a real think about what career path you want to take, and if college/university is going to help you achieve that. If your 100% certain that the profession you want to pursue requires it, head off to the world of higher education and enjoy it! However, If your not sure where you want to head professionally, DON’T PANIC, take a year off and explore different avenue’s. Try a few part-time jobs and find out what you really want out of your career…you may well find that you don’t need college/uni after all.
5. IGNORING RETIREMENT
In your twenties, retirement is probably the last thing on your mind.
Your still so young, what do you need to be thinking about that for?
Too many people ignore retirement and only realise their mistake when they are in the later years of their working life. They suddenly start trying to make up for lost time by making huge payments into their retirement accounts, but the damage is already done by then. If you only start thinking about retirement in the later years, you have missed out on the opportunity for The Compound Effect to take hold of your investments and produce exponential growth. Most companies offer some sort of financial incentive to encourage you to save for retirement, normally in the form of matching your contributions. For instance, for every 2% you contribute to your pension, your company will give you an extra 1% for free. You must find out what your company offers, and take advantage of it immediately.
6. NOT SAVING FOR THE FUTURE
You only live once.
Live for today.
Life’s too short.
Who hasn’t heard these quotes before. These are excuses, ways in which people try to convince themselves that they don’t need to make sacrifices for their future, or to save up for things that they want to buy. What makes it worse is we live in a society that reinforces these beliefs and which programs you to want everything NOW.
Why save up for 12 months to purchase a car in cash, when you can drive it home today with just a £50 deposit?
You can get loan’s and finance agreements on almost anything these days, regardless of its value, and all this does is teach people that you can have whatever you want, whenever you want, with little or no effort at all.
But the cold hard truth is, you DO need to make sacrifices for your future, and similar to saving for retirement, the sooner you start the better. Do not rely on loans and finance agreements. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
7. CREDIT CARDS
One of the most common ways people get themselves into a pit of debt is by using credit cards, so my advice would be to avoid them at all costs.
Even the most responsible of people can find themselves spiralling downwards into debt if they miss a payment, due to credit cards having astronomical interest rates. The average annual interest rate on a credit card is 20%, so if you find yourself missing payments, you are going to pay a hefty penalty. Many people are attracted to using credit cards because they come with incentives such as sign-up bonuses and ‘loyalty points’, but what they don’t realise is, the credit card companies are happy to give people ‘free’ incentive’s upfront, because they are playing the long game. Credit companies know that regardless of whether you have your finances together and pay your credit card off every month, for the average credit card user, they are going to make far more money out of you over the long term than what they are giving you as a sign-up bonus.
So rather than getting yourself mixed up in the credit card world, save up for the things you want to buy and remember, If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
If you can avoid these 7 BIG money mistakes in your twenties, you will build yourself an unshakeable financial foundation which will propel you forward into your later years, and more importantly, into wealth and financial freedom.
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