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6 Worst Financial Suggestions Given By Your Friends

6 Worst Financial Suggestions Given By Your Friends

We often turn to our friends for advice in our day-to-day lives. Whenever we encounter a problem in our relationships or a bump in our jobs, the support of our friends manages to help us get through it. This is why we talk to them about our money management as well. Friends stick together, right?

However, if these six worst financial suggestions are what you hear coming out of your friends’ mouths, perhaps it’s better for you to take a step back, reflect on this and turn to a professional financial advisor instead:

1. “If you can afford it, go and buy it.

Peer pressure is not just relevant to drinking alcohol or participating in illegal activities. It’s also highly prominent when it comes to spending money. How so?

When we’re with our friends, we subconsciously fall into the trap of lifestyle inflation. We think that we can just buy anything – even if we don’t want or need it – just because we can afford it.

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Is your friend wearing a branded dress that you don’t even like the style of? It doesn’t matter! You’ll buy it anyway, just to show to everyone that you have enough money.

2. “Use your credit card all the time – it’s free money!”

One of the worst financial suggestions is telling someone to use their credit card because it’s free. “No one gets imprisoned by drowning in credit card debt,” they’ll tell you. “Spend as much as you like; it’s like free money handed out by your fairy godmother.”

Well, the next time you use your credit card for something that you know you can’t afford, think about this: is that item really worth the trouble of getting blacklisted by banks, being denied loans and receiving a bad credit rating?

Credit cards aren’t free. They are ridiculously expensive. Take time to read the fine print!

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3. “Take as much time as you want going to college, it’s worth all the debt anyway.”

Going to college is a noble act of its own. But if you’re just going to study because you can’t find a job yet, or because you’re not sure what your passion is yet, then don’t.

Consider the opportunity cost involved in this scenario. How much money could you have earned working instead of getting your Master’s degree?

4. “Want easy money? Put all your money in ABC Inc.”

A universal rule in investing is that it always carries a risk. Investing is all about diversifying your investment so that you can manage the risks. Diversifying means that you won’t put everything in one company and in one security.

Instead of putting all your efforts in stocks and in just one company, why don’t you spread out your money in different companies? Take this one step further and hold different securities, such as treasury bills and term deposits too.

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If you put all your money in one company and that company folds, then you’ll be sorry. Believe me: I learned this the hard way firsthand.

5. “Let’s travel luxuriously. We’re only young once.”

You might have heard this one before: “It’s easier to earn money than to earn moments.”

Now, that statement may be true. It may also be false.

But don’t you think it’s better to save money and earn moments at the same time? Traveling is about experiencing new cultures and being immersed in a new way of living. It’s not about checking in at five-star hotels and eating at hugely overpriced restaurants.

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6. “Just save and you’ll be fine!”

Saving is important. It’s the first step up the financial ladder. But, if you want to manage your money wisely and let it work for you, don’t just settle with saving money. Start investing, tooFirst, start with investing in your knowledge by reading up on personal finance books. Then, save enough money for you to start an investment account.

Our friends may have our best interests at heart. But if they’re not experts at finance, they need to think twice about giving these terrible financial suggestions. Don’t you think so too?

Featured photo credit: DSCF1734.JPG/ronnieb via cdn.morguefile.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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