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5 Most Common Financial Mistakes & How to Overcome Them

Young woman lying on a sofa with tablet looking at her credit card.

We all make mistakes when it comes to managing money. Stuff happens. But dwelling on the past won’t get you where you want to go. Instead, empower yourself to navigate common money problems, so you can move forward instead of looking back.

Here are some of the most common financial mistakes and tips on how to avoid them:

Mistake 1: Racking up Credit Card Debt

It’s tempting to overspend when credit cards provide instant gratification and allow you to delay the consequences until next month. But this can lower your credit score, which can hurt you in the long-run by making it harder when you want to apply for a mortgage or auto loan. One way to tackle debt faster is to make payments every two weeks, each totaling half your monthly payment, instead of just one payment per month. This method allows you to reduce the amount owed on a credit card at a faster rate and reduce the interest that otherwise would have added up. Need help making the math work? Check out these monthly budget tips.

Mistake 2: Not Having an Emergency Fund

Emergencies are bound to happen — it’s just a matter of when. Not having an emergency fund can leave you in a tough situation in the event of a job loss or unexpected healthcare expense.  Set up an automatic savings deposit into an emergency fund from your paycheck now. That way, you’ll be building up a cushion of savings without even thinking about it. When the time comes to use the money you put aside, you’ll be able to focus on addressing the issue without the added stress of worrying about money on top of everything else. Thanks, past self!  

Mistake 3: Putting All Your Savings in One Savings Account

Many people put their money in a savings account and then just let it sit there, but you could actually be losing out on money if you do it this way. Once you’ve set aside a nice chunk of change, diversify your savings by putting some money into a Money Market Account or Summit Certificate. The higher interest rates that come with these accounts can help you earn more money faster, without the risks of investing in the stock market. High return + low risk = the best of both worlds!

Mistake 4: Not Prioritizing Retirement Savings

If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, start by putting in at least as much as your employer will match (employer match = free money!). Then, challenge yourself to increase your contribution by 1 percent any time you get a raise. Keep in mind that the road to career success isn’t always a straight line, so make sure to take money in your retirement fund with you when you move on to a new employer. You can also open an individual retirement account (IRA) to save even more money on your own. This is a great option if your job doesn’t offer retirement benefits.

Mistake 5: Not Talking About Money

Talking about money with your partner can feel taboo, but in reality, approaching these conversations with honesty, patience and empathy can take strain off your relationship and allow you to further your goals as a team. Unfortunately, talking about money can have even more stigma for women, but money is too important not to talk about. If you need support, schedule an appointment with a Summit Financial Coach, so you can ask questions in a no-judgment zone. Your financial literacy will only improve with each step you take.

We all make money mistakes – that’s a part of life. Knowing the common pitfalls to watch out for can help you move past your mistakes and start moving toward your best life. Want to talk it over with an expert?  Schedule an appointment with a Summit financial coach.