True financial literacy doesn’t just come from budgeting and paying off your credit card on time. It also comes from knowing the hidden traps that have the potential to derail your carefully laid financial plans. Here we bring them to light.
1. Not planning for an emergency
Life happens, and when it does, it pays to have an emergency fund to dip into. So if you’re asset rich but cash poor, it might be time to start stashing some money aside for those times when your radiator blows, your fridge dies or you lose your job, just to make sure you’re not caught out.
Your emergency account is separate to your savings account; it’s a pot of cash specifically set aside as a contingency fund for times when the unexpected happens. If you haven’t got one, you definitely should.
2. Putting all your eggs in your partner’s basket
Roles within a partnership are nothing new, but when one partner controls all the finances you could be opening yourself up to failure in the event of a breakup, unexpected illness or business closure.
The key? Working in partnership. For the partner who isn’t as involved, it’s time to start taking an active interest in your finances by attending meetings with your financial adviser and account, checking bank statements and ensuring you understand any contracts or paperwork that needs your signature. For the partner who usually takes charge, it’s time to open up communication and delegate duties for a fairer division of labour.
3. Being ripped off by your health insurance
When it comes to health insurance, shopping around is critical. Too often people turn a blind eye to how much their monthly premiums are, not noticing them going up every year. Instead, keep a close eye on your fees, charges and claim returns, checking in with other providers to see if you can get a better deal.
4. Losing sight of your financial goals
When was the last time you mapped out your financial goals? If it was more than 12 months ago, it’s time to revisit them. Planning ahead and setting your financial goals helps motivate and keep you on track. The second you lose sight of them, incidental spending can creep in and veer you off course. If you need help, book an appointment with a financial adviser to future-proof your money and get you back on track.
5. Playing it too safe with your investments
Slow and steady may win the race, but there is space for some educated risks when it comes to investing, especially if you’re young and starting out. Young people have time on their side, leaving the door wide open for high growth assets as you have time to ride out any downfalls. Of course this doesn’t mean being reckless with your funds, but being too conservative might hold you back more than you think.