How good are you at managing your finances? Are you where you want to be or could you use some improvement?
If you are like most others, there is room for improvement.
No matter what area you are struggling in, there are a few small steps you can take to improve your situation.
4 Mistakes That Will Sabotage Your Finances
Here are 4 mistakes that will sabotage your finances. The good news is that seeing these mistakes will help you to get a better handle on your finances and reach your goals and dreams.
Not Having Goals
This is the biggest mistake that will sabotage your finances. You need to have goals. Without them, you will just be going through life, never making any progress. You’ll have a hard time buying a house, getting out of debt or even retiring one day.
Take some time to figure out what you want out of life and then tie these goals with your finances. Do you want to travel and see the world? Great, look at your expenses and see what you can cut out. This is much easier to do when you have a goal.
Making the decision between eating out again or putting more money into your travel fund so you can go on an African safari is much easier when you have a goal in mind. Without that goal there is no reason to keep from eating out.
Your goals will change over time. What you wanted out of life when you were 20 probably isn’t the same now that you are 40. This is fine. The idea here is that you at least figure out what your current goals are now and make strides towards reaching them.
In the future, should you find your goals have changed, you at least have some money saved and a process in place for reaching this new goal.
Not Saving or Investing
Another mistake we make is not saving or investing. Most of us have it backwards. We spend first and save whatever is left over. This usually means we save and invest nothing. Then we wonder why we are struggling, living paycheck to paycheck.
Flip this around and start saving first. Put 5% of your pay in your 401k plan. Then set up a transfer from your checking account to your savings account each time you get paid. Start out with an amount that you won’t notice is “missing” from your checking account. Try for $50 a paycheck and increase this amount each year along with your 401k contribution.
I know 5% in your retirement plan sounds like a waste, but with compounding and time it makes a difference. When I first started working after college, I was putting a whopping $20 per paycheck into my 401k plan. With the company match, by the end of the year I was sitting on $1,000. I was blown away. Over the years, the amount grows faster and faster thanks to compounding.
Trying To Keep Up With Others
Of all of the mistakes that will sabotage your finances, this is one many of us don’t realize we are making. We try to keep up with others or fall victim to lifestyle creep. It starts out innocently. We see a friend with a new flat screen TV and we want that. Then we see the new car and we want that.
Next thing you know, you are in a mountain of debt with things that don’t even bring you pleasure to show for it.
You have to work to not want to keep up. A great way to overcome this urge is to set goals. Know what is important to you and what drives you. Then when you have the urge to buy the new luxury car or get the mega sized house, you can look back at what matters to you and realize that buying those things is a waste.
Not Getting Help From Professionals
Lastly, you need to get help when you need it. Taxes are complicated. Sure you can do them on your own, but a quality tax accountant is invaluable. Not only will they help make sure you pay the least amount of taxes you are required to pay, but they will also look at your situation and make recommendations on what you can do in the coming years to shield more income from taxes.
The same applies to an investment advisor. If you have a lot of knowledge about investing, you can do it yourself. But if you aren’t sure how to invest successfully, a good investment advisor will help you to set up a long term investing plan and put you in investments that make sense for you and your goals.
And while a good doctor may not seem like it is related to finances, it is. Going to the doctor on a regular basis can help you save a ton of money in the future. They can catch issues before they become a major issue and a major medical bill. And with healthcare costs continuing to rise, the healthier you can be, the more money you will save.
Don’t just look at the cost to hire a professional. Look at the benefit as well. A tax accountant might cost you a few hundred dollars a year. But they might be able to save you thousands. Would you be willing to pay $300 if it meant you could save $2,000? I hope you answered yes to that.
There are many ways that you sabotage your finances. By learning about these 4 that I highlighted, you can begin to take steps to overcome them. The good news is once you are able to overcome these, you will have a solid foundation on which you can further improve your financial situation.
It is up to you. You can take action now and start seeing positive results with your finances or you can put it off and keep going down the same road you are on now. If you choose to do this, don’t be surprised when you wake up one day still wandering around, having gone nowhere at all.
More on Your Money
- Step by Step Guide: 12 Months of Financial Goals for This Year
- Can You Turn Your Biggest Expenses into a Profitable Business?
- How to Overcome Big Financial Mistakes
- What Should Your Financial Pie Chart Look Like?
- How to Improve Your Finances When You Don’t Know Where to Start
- 6 Mistakes of New Earners and How to Fix Them
- Can You Afford It?