Halloween can be pretty scary — between the horror films and decor, not to mention all those extra candy corn calories. But even scarier are the financial mistakes you might be making now — some of which can haunt you for years to come. Here are some of the worst.
1. Not Being Organized
You may be an active investor, but if you aren’t organized about it doesn’t make a difference. You have to review the performances of your investments and check whether they are on track or not. Need help fighting financial procrastination? Check out our list of must-dos here.
2. Putting off saving for retirement
Retirement seems years away. Heck, even decades. Why would you start saving now when you can spend that money on a great trip? But even if you just contribute as little as 1% of your paycheck, you will make a difference. If you don’t qualify for a 401K consider an IRA. Not sure where to start? See our review of AARP’s Debt and Retirement Calculators.
3. Paying too much for checking
Banks are trying to make a few more extra bucks by adding excessive fees for ATM use and checking accounts. All ATMs now charge at least $2.50 for non-customers, a record high (not to mention charges from your bank for going out of network). Monthly checking account fees are also up 25%. But you can help yourself by asking your bank about ATM fee reimbursement and low-cost overdraft protection.
4. Over investing
Just like anything, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. If you invest money that you should be using for your basic living needs you could be in real trouble. You don’t want to over commit yourself to too many stocks and bonds. Make a budget for all aspects of your financial life and stick to it.
5. Dropping your health insurance to save money
For those of us who don’t go to the doctor much this seems like such an easy way to save money. But it is super risky. What if you had a major accident or illness? You could end up walking out of the emergency room owing upwards of $30,000. Even if you are freelance, get health insurance. Save a little money by switching to a high deductible plan which allows you to put extra cash into a health savings account (HSA) every month.
6. Using your credit cards for everything
It is fine to put some big things on the credit card but if you put everything big on it, you are going to rack up a lot of debt (very quickly!). Try to pay your credit cards off every month. Not sure you can do it on your salary? Look here for some inspiration.
7. Not investing at all
This is a growing problem amongst smart, well-educated women who are actually making good money but leaving it in a savings account. This movement even has a name: Sit-Out Syndrome. According to Fidelity’s biannual study of couples and their financial habits, women often let their husbands handle investments, even more than they used to. Although more women claim to be in charge of the day-to-day financial decisions (up to 24 percent from 2011’s 15 percent), they say they’re hesitant to invest their savings. Now’s the time to find a Financial Advisor and get educated.