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7 Excuses Most People Use To Avoid Financial Responsibility

7 Excuses Most People Use To Avoid Financial Responsibility

Financial responsibility is something all adults need to think about as soon as they can. At some point there will come a time when you don’t want to or simply cannot work anymore, so you need to financially prepare for your retirement. While in an ideal world everybody is ready for this, in reality not many people are adequately prepared. If you are using any of the following seven excuses to avoid financial responsibility, then take heed: If you don’t take care of your money, then it won’t take care of you.

Excuse 1: But I only live once!

Kids today use the excuse “YOLO,” or “You Only Live Once,” to spur themselves into trying new things. While the intent of YOLO is a good one – that is, so people can get out of their comfort zone and maybe discover themselves and what they are capable of – many have skewed the meaning into, “I’m going to die anyway, so let me buy whatever I want.” While it’s good to splurge once in a while, you also want to make sure you’re not doing it to the detriment of your finances. Yes, you only live once, but for most of us, it’s going to be a long life. There is time enough to enjoy many things in life, but you must also make sure you are financially solvent to do it.

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Excuse 2: Retirement is so far away, I’m only 20!

People say that youth is wasted on the young and in the case of retirement saving and financial responsibility, that is very true. Being young is a great time to try new things, but you also have the best asset any investor can have: time. When you are young, you have time to let your investments grow.

Excuse 3: But I need a new car/clothes/shoes to look good and move up.

Nice things are great to have and generally last longer. A good car is definitely a good investment, especially if you plan to keep it for a long time. However, if you change cars each year and you can’t really afford it, you are just digging yourself deeper into debt.

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Excuse 4: These are the things I need now!

Well, what are these things you need exactly? Sometimes, what we thinking we need now are not exactly needs, but stuff we want. For example, you’ve probably heard those commercials that say, “Cash out that structured settlement now! And get the money you need!” When a person has a structured settlement from an insurance or legal claim, he or she can go to a company that can give them a lump sum of money in as little as a few hours in exchange for waiting for the payments. Sounds good, right? Well, the truth is, when you cash out a structured settlement, you will lose a good chunk of money. Now, if you use the money to invest in an education or business to make more money for you, then great. If not and you just want to buy things now, then it’s a bad decision.

Excuse 5: I’m going to lose my money in the stock market anyway!

Yes, it’s true that the stock market is very risky and it goes down and up a lot. However, studies have shown that on average, the market can give you returns of up to 12 to 14 percent per year over a long time. That means if you start now, you still have time to ride out the bad years and come out on top.

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Excuse 6: Oh no! I need to get my car/roof/plumbing fixed!

Stuff happens – that’s just part of life. While you can’t predict these bad things, you can always anticipate them. That’s why you need an emergency fund, so that when stuff like that does happen, you won’t be decimated and you can cover any immediate expenses. Start by saving up $1,000. That should be enough if you have to get you car fixed so you can get to work. However, you need to build up at least six month’s worth of expenses should something worse happen.

Excuse 7: My debt is too big, I’ll never get out of it.

There are many approaches to getting rid of debt, but the first thing you need to do is stop creating more. Live within your means and pay down your debt aggressively. For many people this is the first step to financial responsibility and, eventually, financial freedom.

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Featured photo credit: Stop Financial Excuses via medexec.org

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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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