Nonprofit credit counseling agency Take Charge America shares common
money habits that can ultimately cause financial ruin
PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably used credit when cash was
short, or splurged on a luxury instead of saving for a rainy day. Once
in a while, this may not be a big deal. Yet if these bad money moves
become habit, you could be in trouble.
“Our grandparents put their gas and grocery money in envelopes and saved
up for major purchases,” said Mike Sullivan, spokesperson, Take Charge
America, a national
nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. “Today, easy
access to credit has resulted in a culture of instant gratification, and
money habits have taken a turn for the worse.”
Could your financial habits use a makeover? Sullivan notes the following
eight money moves to avoid:
Not budgeting: This is an easy one, yet few people actually
track their monthly income and expenditures, resulting in overspending
Overusing credit: It makes sense to borrow money to buy a home
– it doesn’t make sense to use credit for new shoes or a lavish
vacation. It can take years for people to pay off earlier
extravagances. Do not charge luxury items you cannot afford to pay off
at month’s end.
Paying the minimum: The interest and payoff time will rack up
quickly if you only make the minimum payment on credit cards or other
debt. Whenever possible, adjust your budget to ramp up these payments.
You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run. It
may require some sacrifice, meaning you spend less on entertainment or
use public transportation.
Raiding your emergency fund: This fund is intended for true
emergencies – not vacations or home improvements. You’ll regret
tapping these funds if your air conditioning goes out or you lose your
Putting off retirement planning: Many people delay saving for
retirement until their 40s or 50s. While that’s better than nothing,
starting earlier will give you a huge advantage for a comfortable
Falling for “too good to be true” schemes: The Federal Trade
Commission reports Americans were scammed out of $765 million in 2015.
Don’t fall for get-rich-quick schemes or promises of cash prizes – and
never wire money or give your Social Security or credit card number to
Buying a timeshare: Timeshares promise relaxing beach getaways
or perfect skiing on powdery slopes, but many consumers buy in without
understanding the financial obligation, including a sizeable deposit
and annual maintenance fees. The real estate market is now flooded
with people trying to unload timeshares.
Borrowing from your 401(k): It’s tempting to dip into your
retirement to pay for your child’s wedding or college, but you’ll be
taxed exorbitantly, and it could threaten your financial security
later in life.
If you need help developing a budget or managing credit, call (888)
822-9193 to speak with a certified creditor counselor or schedule
a free, confidential session online.
About Take Charge America, Inc.
Founded in 1987, Take Charge America, Inc. is a nonprofit agency
offering financial education and counseling services, including credit
counseling, debt management, student loan counseling, housing counseling
and bankruptcy counseling. It has helped more than 1.6 million consumers
nationwide manage their personal finances and debts. To learn more,
or call (888) 822-9193.
Andrea Aker, 602-339-7339