Straight into their first year of college, most people don’t have any financial sense. They don’t to save money, much less use it properly. Here are 10 financial literacy rules you need to break and why.
1. You Need Half a Year of Living Expense in Savings
This has been a golden rule for people. Go ahead and break it. Instead, opt for a short-term bond fund that pays 3 percent more. If you need the cash, simply sell it.
2. Max out Your 401(k)
Dumping money into a 401(k) can be a good thing – but it can also work against you. Make sure that you’re also putting money aside into an account that you have access to.
3. The Key to Financial Success Is Cutting Expenses
Nobody ever “saved” themselves rich. If you want to produce a higher income, you must be a producer of something.
4. Fully Fund a 529 Account to Save for College Expenses
Fund the account to about 60 percent – but only if you can afford it. Make sure you have your retirement squared away first.
5. It’s Always Better to Buy a Car Than Lease
Not so fast. Depending on how you use the car, you may be able to get a better tax deduction or get more out of the vehicle by leasing.
6. A CFP Designation Is All You Need
Don’t trust credentials by themselves. Do your research before you hand over all your finances to a certified financial planner.
7. Don’t Give the Government an Interest-Free Loan
Some financial planners will tell you to have just enough taxes dollars for your check so that you don’t owe any taxes come tax time. Instead, let them take a little extra money out. At the end of the year, you’ll have a good chunk of money from a refund that you can put directly into savings. It’s like an automatic savings plan.
8. Avoid IRS Audit Red Flags
Don’t be scared of IRS – especially if it means that you refuse to take a rightful deduction simply because you’re afraid of raising a red flag. Don’t be unethical, but don’t be scared of them, either.
9. Follow Your Passion, and the Money Will Follow
That sounds ideal, but many people can’t make money with their passion. Instead, use the skills you have in your marketplace.
10. Start Saving Early for Your Kid’s College Education
Save for retirement first. Too many parents are putting all their money in their children’s education and sacrificing the retirement. Children will always find a way – through a loan, working while in college, or something else. However, if you hit retirement age without the ability to retire, you’re stuck.