Mistakes happen. Some of them matter, and some of them don’t. But it’s the mistakes that you don’t think matter, but do, that kick you in the money crotch (sorry, I have been wanting to use money crotch for a while now). Here are the top 5 mistakes that people don’t realize that they are making.
- Forgetting to file your Homestead Mortgage Exemption. If you have a mortgage, and you haven’t filed this exemption with the county, then you are likely paying THOUSANDS of dollars more in taxes than you need to.
- Buying company stock inside your 401k. This is a bad idea. You don’t need your retirement and your current income hinging on the same thing: the performance of your employer. If you insist on ignoring me on this one, then make sure you don’t have any more than 10% of your 401k in the company stock. But how about you just don’t ignore me. Trust me, I’m a doctor. No I’m not. But, seriously, just trust me.
- Ignoring collection calls. If you have a debt that goes into collection, don’t ignore it. People will tell you that you can ignore the calls to gain leverage, but those people are wrong. Collections aren’t like the common cold. They just don’t go away. You need to call them back.
- Letting a home builder or car dealer tell you how much you can afford. This is possibly one of the most heinous errors that you can make. Yet, most people have done this. Know what you can afford before you walk in the door. If you make this mistake, I don’t blame the seller, I blame you. Prevent yourself from getting blamed by me.
- Loaning money to family or friends. I have always been a hard-ass about this. I have seen this scenario occur numerous times over the years, and it rarely works out well. And don’t get tempted to be part of my rarely. There is a reason that a lending institution won’t give them money to borrow. You should take a hint from that, and decline their request.
Avoid these things like the plague.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.