Turning in financial forms is a pretty easy thing to do, but it easily can be shoved aside when other, seemingly important things are thrown at us. If this is a 401k enrollment form, and we decide to "take care of it later," some of us will wonder what could have been had we just enrolled when it first became available.
We've all faced similar decisions, and some we get right—but others leave us wondering the possibilities of what could and should have been. Forbes' article, "10 Financial Choices You'll Regret in 10 Years," discusses some financial decisions that you'll kick yourself for in 10 years.
- Starting your budget way too late. Most people think that budgeting means not being able to spend money on the things they really want, but it's really a freeing exercise. You can recognize the areas of your life where you're wasting money on things that aren't important to you. Look at where you can use some money for something that is more desirable. As a result, instead of an expense that you could care less about, you will put your money to better use. If you've been putting off beginning to budget, start today and discover its amazing benefits.
- Not paying off credit cards each month. Some of us grab credit cards left and right and keep telling ourselves that we can make the payments later. "Later" can become never, and credit card debt can start to pile on to the point of suffocation. Try to pay off your credit cards quickly to keep more money in your wallet instead of giving it over to some large credit card company. If you aren't able to control your credit card spending, stay away from credit cards altogether. You'll be better off.
- Purchasing a financial product without investigating. It's not that hard to do a quick search online, so don't put your money into investment products you don't understand. Do your homework, get a second opinion, and make sure you understand how the investment works and what the real costs are.
- Putting the emergency fund on the back burner. Things will happen—that's why we have emergency funds. A good rule of thumb is to have at least six months' worth of living expenses in your fund. Your emergency fund money should be stashed where you can retrieve it quickly without much risk to your capital, such as an online savings account.
- Buying a new car that you can't afford. Vehicles are important for many of us, but they are a discretionary purchase. It's transportation, remember, and a big car payment can wreak havoc with your retirement goals. Do you know the differences between a car that's three to five years old and a brand new car? Not many, in most cases. So why spend the extra money?
- Trying to be a DIY investor when you haven't a clue what you're doing. Would you try an open heart surgery after watching a few YouTube videos? Of course not. So why would you consider investing by yourself without the help of a professional?
- Viewing important insurance policies as being lame. If you passed away today, what kind of shape would you leave your family in? You may need life insurance or disability insurance—and perhaps long-term care insurance if you're over 55 years old. Don't avoid a review of insurance policies that will protect you from financial ruin.
- Treating your retirement like a distant second cousin. Saving for retirement is crucial. If you're depending only on Social Security for income, think again and think much harder! You won't be able to maintain the lifestyle you want in retirement with Social Security alone unless you're the most frugal person in the country. Perhaps not the most desirable title to have when trying to enjoy your golden years.
- Neglecting important money conversations with your spouse. Want to blow it big time? Go ahead and try to handle all of your financial goals without the input of your spouse. These money decisions should be discussed and agreed upon. It will be worth it, now and in the future.
- Being blind to your recurring expenses. These expenses can put a hole in your wallet. Examine your recurring expenses and decide which ones you absolutely have to have and which are discretionary. For example, if you have a high cable bill, ask about a discount. There are many ways to save on recurring expenses.
Understanding the complexities of Financial Planning is just a part of a successful estate plan. To ensure a successful plan, we at Idaho Estate Planning will: 1) educate you and your helpers; 2) take the time to get to know you, your family, your desires, your concerns, your goals, and your potential problems; 3) gladly and patiently answer questions until you understand the concept or issue; and, 4) based on experience with the problems and results caused by poor planning, help you design and implement the plan that fits your concerns and goals. Remember, good planning is no accident.