Bad habits are often invisible to the person doing them. The same can said about bad financial decisions. If committed regularly, bad spending habits, a lack of saving, and missed payments can begin to feel like no big deal. Sure, money is a bit tight, but nothing bad actually happens. Right? Wrong. Small financial decisions that seem harmless can be detrimental in the long run. Luckily, there are warning signs that may help you understand and fix some hidden bad habits.
You do not know how much you currently owe without looking it up
“Why do today what you can do tomorrow” is a lot of people’s philosophy when it comes to paying off debt. This couldn’t be more wrong. Interest accrues on debt so quickly when you’re not looking. When borrowing money, a plan should be in store for paying it back and that plan should begin immediately to save you money in the long run.
You are not saving money and don’t know how much you should be saving
Regardless of income, saving money is essential. Unexpected emergencies happen all the time, like a flood in the basement, a medical emergency, or a totaled car. If you haven’t saved money, you’ll have to borrow more to get these messes cleaned up, essentially putting yourself in more debt.
If you don’t know how much you should be saving, that’s also a problem. Look at your income versus expenses and determine how much money you can stock away each month. It’s not hard, but it’s very important. As a general rule of thumb, you should, at all times, have at least three (preferably six) months of income saved.
You’ve been borrowing more money to pay off other debt
Transferring credit card balances to another card multiple times or paying off loans with a credit card can put you on the road to financial ruin very quickly. You’re living with more money than you actually have and that money is bound to come back knocking. You may feel like you’re paying down loans, and you are technically. But you’re also simultaneously creating more for yourself, therefore running yourself in a financial circle that’s never broken.
None of these three warning signs scream financial ruin, but they should be warning signs that it’s time to make some changes in the way you’ve been managing your finances. Sacrifices often have to be made to get to a financially stable place in life. By facing your money head on, including bad habits that may have developed, you’re taking the first step to regaining control and getting back on track.
Chris Jacob is a Registered Representative with Saxony Securities, Inc. Securities offered through Saxony Securities Inc. (SSI). Member FINRA, SIPC. Non-security products and services or tax services are not offered through SSI. Cadeau is not affiliated with SSI.