14 money mistakes to avoid in your younger years

Here’s a list of things you could stop doing if you no longer want to rely on the bank of mum and dad, or that credit card.

In your 20s and 30s, you might be saving for a car, your own pad, or an overseas trip (COVID-19 can’t last forever, right?).

On the other hand, most of your cash might just be covering the latest additions to your wardrobe, various beauty appointments or your weekend social life.

Whatever your situation, give some thought to how your spending today could impact you later on, particularly if mum and dad are helping you out financially, as 44% of Aussie parents are1.

Meanwhile, here’s a list of things to avoid if living with or moving back in with your folks is keeping you up at night.

Going without a budget

If you’re looking for somewhere to start when it comes to creating a budget, jot down what money is coming in, what cash is required to cover the bills and any loans you’re paying off, and what might be leftover to split between savings and the fun stuff.

This will help you identify where there’s room for movement and where you could be cutting back.

Using your credit card for everything

Sure, credit cards are convenient, but they’re often more expensive than other forms of credit, as they usually charge higher interest rates, which means you could end up paying back a lot more than what you initially borrowed.

Keep in mind, whenever you don’t pay back what you owe in full, interest is generally payable – and that includes when you only pay the minimum amount owing.

Keeping up with the Joneses

The pressure to stay up to date with your peers and even celebrities can be a subconscious but very real motivation behind some of your poor financial decisions.

Try to live within your means, stick to realistic goals, and when you’re looking to make a purchase, ask yourself if it’s something you really need, or if it’s something you simply want this week.

Borrowing money from those nearest and dearest

When you’re in a bind, while you may be tempted to ask your folks or bestie for a cash hand-out, remember it could put some strain on the relationship, particularly if it becomes a regular thing.

The person may need the money back before you can repay it. They might begin judging your spending habits, or worse, cut you off if they don’t get the money back on time, or at all.

Buying or taking a loan out on a pricey car

The purchase price of a new car is one thing, but remember added costs (such as insurance, rego, petrol and regular servicing) are another.

If you’re looking to buy a car, the MoneySmart Cars app may be able to help you work out the overall costs. With Aussies across the country paying an additional $536 million in car-loan interest over a 12-month period2, it’s worth investigating.

Pursuing higher education without a plan

While it’s possible that tertiary qualifications could increase your employment opportunities and potentially help you to earn more over the course of your career, it’s also not guaranteed.

With that in mind, it’s worth asking yourself whether the field you want to enter requires tertiary qualifications. After all, if you can get where you want through alternative routes, these may be worth exploring, particularly with the average debt for a tertiary student in Australia about $19,1003.

Quitting your job after a bad day

You may not like where you work but if you’re planning your exit march, it’s wise to have another gig lined up, as it could be months before you find another opportunity and have cash coming in again.

If it’s your current pay cheque that’s getting under your skin, consider whether you’ve earned a pay rise and how you might go about asking for one.

Not prioritising what you really want to do in life

The benefits of thinking ahead when it comes to what you want are pretty clear. For instance, buying a car, going on holiday and moving into a new apartment all within a six-month period mightn’t be financially doable, but if you spread those things out, they might be.

Saying ‘whatever’ to an emergency fund

Only one in four Aussies has the savings to stay afloat when faced with unforeseen circumstances4. And you don’t want a busted phone or car tyre, let alone a bad landlord or lover, leaving you financially stranded.

An emergency stash of cash could give you some peace of mind and reduce the need to apply for a loan or ask someone you know for a handout.

Avoiding the money talk with your partner

Nearly one in three Australians in a relationship claims they fight about money at least once a month5.

So, before you set up joint accounts or make a big purchase together, think about how you’ll both contribute. And, if you’re planning on moving in with that special someone, make sure you’re also across what happens to your finances if you split up with a de facto.

Spending a fortune on the wedding

The average wedding today costs around $36,200, with 60% taking out a loan and 18% using their credit card6.

To avoid blowing your budget, start saving, talk to your partner (and parents if they’re involved), write down what you can afford, get quotes, and look at how many and who’ll be on your guest list early.

Being blasé about protection

There will be people who’ll inevitably suffer from an unforeseen event that will leave them incapable of working at some point in their lifetime.

While you may choose to go without insurance to save money, for a number of people it may be affordable through monthly premiums or paying out of their super money, but do your research.

Choosing a property that’s not within your means

Whether you’re renting or buying, it’s important to think about the upfront and ongoing costs involved, and the location you’re looking at, as different suburbs come with different price tags.

If home ownership is on the cards, get a full run-down of the costs you’re likely to come across.

Not caring about your future self

It might seem like a lifetime away but with some people looking at a retirement of 20 years or more (and the Age Pension alone unlikely to be enough to support a comfortable lifestyle7), putting money into super may be worth thinking about while you still have time on your side.

PLease contact us on Ph: 07 3340 5117 if you seek further assistance on this topic.

1 Finder – Bank of Mum and Dad: 44% of parents subsidise the lives of their adult kids
2 Finder – In Australia, 1 in 5 new cars are purchased with a car loan
3 Australian Government – Higher Education Loan Program and other student loans: a quick guide
4 Mozo – 75% of Aussies don’t have savings to cope with a crisis
5 Mozo – It’s not you, it’s your bank account: Australia’s biggest financial relationship deal breakers
6 MoneySmart – Getting married
7 ASFA – Retirement Standard (September 2020 quarter)

Source : AMP December 2020 

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