Ten years might seem like it’s far away, but it will be here before you know it. If you’re not focusing on your finances, you could wind up with enormous financial regret from the choices you made and the opportunities you missed.
Don’t go another day without assessing your financial decisions and ensuring none of these ten regrets will happen to you.
#1 – Not Having a Budget
A budget is the foundation of financial success. Without one, you don’t have a clear plan for how you’re going to spend your money each month. A budget helps ensure you’re making the most of your money, that you’re not overspending, and that you’re putting enough money into savings.
While it may seem like you’re making out just fine without a budget for now, living paycheck to paycheck just simply isn’t enough to get you through the rest of your life. Ten years from now, you’ll regret not putting more thought and effort into how you’re spending your money.
#2 – Not Building an Emergency Fund
If you’re not actively contributing to an emergency fund, you may end up regretting it sooner than ten years from now. An emergency fund is intended to cover any unexpected expenses or to help you survive in case of a job loss or other decrease in pay. Without an emergency fund, your finances can quickly spiral out of control.
Start building an emergency fund now by putting a small amount into a saving account each month. Avoid using your emergency fund unless it’s truly an emergency and replace the funds as quickly as possible.
#3 – Not Managing Recurring Expenses
No matter what point you’re at in life, you will always have bills to pay. You can become so accustomed to the bills you’re paying that you simply write the check and keep going. However, if you’re not paying close enough attention to your bills, you could be missing a lot of opportunities for saving money.
Periodically, go through your bills to see which can be eliminated or possibly reduced. Call some of your service providers to see what you can do to get a lower rate on your services. Taking advantage of every opportunity to save money gives you more freedom and flexibility in your finances.
#4 – Buying a Car You Can’t Afford
Whether you’re purchasing a car because you need to or because you feel it’s time to upgrade, if you don’t get one you can afford, you’ll come to regret it. When your car payments are too much to afford, it puts a strain on the rest of your budget and puts you at risk of repossession.
Before you buy a car, take a look at your budget to see how much you can comfortably afford to pay monthly. Then choose a car within that range. Even if you have to sacrifice your dream car, it’s better than struggling to make the payments each month.
#5 – Not Having Health Insurance
Not having health insurance – and not having adequate health insurance – is a major risk. Not only do you face a tax penalty for failing to have health insurance, you also put yourself at risk of having major medical bills.
While you may be healthy now, you can’t predict what will happen to you in the next year, let alone ten years. Failing to receive preventative care can put you at risk of medical issues later on in life. Millions of Americans have been forced to file for medical bankruptcy because of unexpected health problems.
Health insurance can seem expensive when you weigh the cost against your monthly income. However, if you ever have major medical expenses, you’ll be glad you have insurance to cover you.
#6 – Not Paying Your Credit Cards In Full
If you’re a heavy credit card user, paying off your full balance each month can be tough. This is why it’s important to control your credit card spending and only charge as much as you can afford to pay in full each month.
Carrying credit card debt is expensive. If you don’t pay your full balance each month, you risk carrying your balance for years to come. You might even have to file bankruptcy because your debt has become too overwhelming to conquer on your own.
#7 – Not Getting Sound Investment Advice
Investing can be confusing. Even after reading books, magazines, and online publications, you can walk away with some false ideas about how to go about investing.
While you can certainly learn about investing through trial and error, it comes with a great deal of risk. Without professional advice from an expert financial advisor, you could end up losing big by investing in the wrong thing.
Investing on your own is fine, but having some expert advice can at least steer you in the right direction and keep you from making some extremely costly mistakes.
#8 – Not Saving For Retirement
If you’re not currently saving for retirement, you’ll regret it once you realize how late you are in getting started. By the time you’re in your 30s, 40s, or even your 50s, you’ll have to start aggressively saving money to be able to comfortably retire. For people who are just getting married, starting families, or sending their kids off to college, those ages are some of the toughest times to start saving.
It’s best to start saving for retirement as early as possible, especially while you only have a few financial obligations. Not only does it give you more time to save for retirement, your savings also has more time to grow.
#9 – Not Paying Attention to Your Credit
Credit isn’t something that you use every single day, but when you’re ready to apply for something that requires a credit check, you want to have a good credit score. If you’re not paying attention to your credit score, you risk not having a high enough credit score to qualify for credit cards, loans, and other credit-based services.
You can monitor your credit score for free by using services like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. By keeping track of your credit score, you can note which actions are helping and which are hurting your credit score.
Being a responsible borrower will build your credit score so you can qualify for what you need when you need to.
#10 – Not Talking About Money With Your Spouse
Sometimes it’s tough to have money conversations with your spouse, especially if the two of you have different philosophies and viewpoints on money management. However, avoiding the difficult conversations doesn’t solve any problems. In fact, some issues may become worse if they’re left unaddressed.
Rather than avoiding talking to your spouse about your finances, set aside some time so the two of you can have an upfront and honest conversation about where you stand. Remember that money doesn’t define who you are and be receptive and non-judgmental of your spouse’s opinions about money.
If you start working on your finances now, you can avoid many of these regrets.