In an effort to dig deeper into what women in their 50s fear the most, it was discovered that they are less worried about their increasing number of wrinkles, lower libido, or less beauty. Their gut-wrenching fear, is actually not having enough money, as they grow older. In my view, this feeling should resonate with anyone above the age of 25. Clearly, the future is uncertain, and each day should be spent finding ways to make tomorrow better.
The importance of being financially sensitive is emphasized by the Federal Reserve Bank’s 2015 survey, which showed that 31% of Americans, precisely 76 million people, are struggling to get by, or barely making it. Gladly, the report shows an improvement from 2013, when 38% of Americans were in such financial situation. In 2015, wages increased, and unemployment, although high, had been the lowest since 2007. Additionally, inflation had muted.
Even in light of these positive strides, the Federal Reserve Board Governor, Lael Brainard, opined that it is important to identify reasons why so many families continue to face financial struggles, as we find solutions on how to abate the situation.
While we realize that some of these financial problems could be a result of unemployment, there could be other factors that play in, such as poor purchasing decisions. To help you out, here is a list of 15 financial mistakes you will regret at 40.
15. Getting Lured Into Dubious Schemes
Unless you are investing into a narcotics business, never imagine that an investment option could offer skyrocketing returns. Otherwise, you will fall prey to dubious schemes and scams. In the United States, for example, more than 30 million consumers fall victim to investment fraud, annually. While the average loss is $15,000, individual loses could run up to millions of dollars.
This problem is caused by the fact that some investors are usually driven by greed, hence could easily fall victim of purportedly low-risk, but high-return investment options. A good example is the SpeakAsia scam that promised monthly returns ranging between 10%-20%.
14. Not Saving
Well, they say that life begins at 40, for many reasons, including the fact that at this age, you have more money than ever. Sadly though, this fact does not apply to people who failed to save up. Such people, find themselves living from hand to mouth, as they deal with problems such as paying mortgages, funding car and renovation loans, creating an education fund for their teenage children, and taking care of their aging parents. As a result, at 40, without savings, you will find yourself constantly in enormous debt, because you cannot afford to pay for your sick parent’s medical bill, or sustain your children through college.
13. Investing in Flossets
Investment-wise, you could have an asset or flosset. An asset, is an investment item, which has an appreciating value. A good example is land. On the contrary, a flosset is an investment item which depreciates in value, such as a car. So, would it be wise to focus your investments on flossets?
Take a car loan in Singapore, for example. Assuming you manage to get a down payment to buy a car, you’d be forced to get a car loan, in order to own the car. With the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) having placed a cap on car loans to 40%-50% of the car value, you will definitely pay 50%-60% of the car value, as you get weighed down by expensive monthly repayments, for a depreciating item.
12. Having Credit Card Debt
According to US bankruptcy court statistics, 1.5 million people file for bankruptcy annually. The story saddens when you realize that more than three-quarters of renters, aged between 18 and 24, spend more than they earn. These youngsters are drowning in credit card debt, to the point that they will take this debt to their grave.
Obviously, by the time these people are 40, they will be forced to work multiple jobs and shifts, but still, live from hand to mouth. In case this is your story, find the best loan consolidation plan and pay off your debt as fast as you can, while you scale down your expenditures.
11. Not Buying Insurance When You Are Younger
Why do you need life insurance in your 20’s? Why pay for medical insurance at 20 when you have a low risk of developing age-related hypertension? The reason is simple-the older you are when buying insurance, the higher the premium will be. Also, the older you are, the lower the probability of getting an insurance policy.
Additionally, insurance policies such as life insurance, not only pay out when you are dead, but also when you are alive. Cash value accumulated in a life insurance policy can help pay for life’s unanticipated and anticipated events, such as education expenses, buying a home or holding a wedding.
10. Not Budgeting
As much as you might hate budgeting, it is essential because it helps you maintain a balance between income and expenditure. As a matter of fact, lack of budgeting has caused overspending in homes, plunging people into debt.
By having a budget plan, you can decisively allocate some money into a savings plan, as you live within your means. Additionally, you will easily notice wastage areas, and plan accordingly. For married couples, budgeting has an extra advantage. Since every purchase will be planned for, and agreed on, you will fight about money less often, and achieve more goals as a family.
9. Failing to Investigate Before Investing In A Financial Product
There is a gullible lot of investors, who get caught up in outright scams, while there are those who invest in legit financial options, which usually have hidden terms and conditions. While the returns are good and legit, they could be subjected to expensive and complicated deductions. One such investor bought a variable annuity, but kept investing for two years, with seed money of $100,000, without understanding what she was doing. After seeking second opinion, she realized that she wasn’t paying $50 variable annuity fees as she thought, but paid a whopping $3,500, annually, for as long as the contract lasted.
8. Not Having An Emergency Fund
What would you do if you had a serious emergency, but could not access money as fast as you needed? Maybe your friends cannot loan you enough money as soon as you need it, and the bank needs more processing time? To avoid such frustrations, it is advisable to set up an emergency fund, because the inevitable sometimes happens.
It is advisable to have funds worth a year or so of expenses, to cushion you against such financial hardships. While this money could be saved in an ordinary account, you could alternatively save it in an interest-earning account, to cater for inflation.
7. Being A DIY Investor
Issues we have discussed earlier on have pointed to one thing -investors who invest with their gut feeling, without seeking second opinion from professionals tend to lose out. While the cost of hiring a certified professional financial advisor may seem expensive, it could save you millions of dollars lost in scams, or low return investment options.
Through a financial advisor, you can take advantage of the best deals in town, best trends, and honest opinion regarding the viability of a financial option. Lastly, as opposed to marketers who will ‘force’ a product down your throat, just to convert leads, a financial advisor will genuinely care about your welfare.
6. Not Thinking About Retirement
According to ASFA’s super guru retirement standard, single people in Australia will need $545,000 in retirement savings, while couples will need $640,000, in order to afford a comfortable lifestyle after retirement. The data further reveals that a single 30-year-old female, for example, has an annual balance of $25,000. Sadly, in order to stay on track and achieve her retirement goals, she should pay an annual payment of $50,000. Scary, right?
These statistics only point out the need to start investing for retirement as soon as you begin earning an income. To make things easier, pay more than you need, before starting a family, then you can standardize as you get more responsibilities.
5. Avoiding The Money Talk With Your Spouse
Dre’s family in ‘Blackish’, was living the American dream. Never did the couple imagine that they could get into a financial crisis. When Dre realized that they could no longer afford their life, and dropped the bombshell on Rainbow, we all saw how uneasy she was, to talk about money. This episode was a clear indication of what happens in some homes – spouses don’t discuss money matters.
4. Turning A Blind Eye To Recurring Expenses
Yes, we talked about budgeting and the need to stay on track. But, did you know that you can budget and still be extravagant? You could even budget for impulse purchases. While this is okay, it is financially healthy to approach your budgeting with sound mind, eliminating recurring, yet unnecessary expenses.
For example, do you need to annually plan for an expensive overseas holiday? Why not scale down, have less expensive holidays, and redirect the cash elsewhere? Better yet, you can change your holiday frequencies to once every two years. Basically, if you can completely do without an expense, always get it off your budget list.
3. Ignoring Inflation
Are you attentive to the inflation rate every time you hear the finance ministry present a financial update on the economy? Do you even understand what inflation means? To enlighten you, I will give you a simple calculation. If the rate of inflation this year was 10%, your ten dollars would be worth $9, next year. This means that with the same $10, you will buy fewer items than you can today. Ignoring this fact could mean that if you don’t plan yourself accordingly, you’d get poorer as the years go by. With your salary at risk of less purchasing power, depending on the rate of inflation, ensure that you seek multiple avenues of making money.
2. Planning To Work Indefinitely
In order to maximize on social security checks, some employees have planned to work indefinitely, without plan B. What these people forget is that the choice to retire is not only dependent on your willingness, but also other factors such as ill health, retrenchment, or unfavorable organization changes. Factually, three out of five employees leave the workforce earlier than planned. 66% of them are actually forced to do so due to loss of the job, or health-related issues that render them unfit.
1. Borrowing From Your Retirement Savings
Well, if you began saving for your retirement at age 20, you’d have a good amount by 35. This amount can be very tempting, especially when you run into an emergency. While the idea could work, borrowing from your 401(k) retirement savings account could be more detrimental than you can imagine. Securing a loan with a willing plan sponsor, could mean that you spend the next five years, repaying it, with interest. This in turn, translates to reduction, or suspension of your contributions to your retirement plan, since you cannot afford it. This means that you miss out on interests your initial capital could have accrued.
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