People make dumb mistakes all the time, like taking bad advice from a friend or forgetting you had that dentist appointment that you’ve missed for the 4th time. A lot of times a dumb mistake is just that, a dumb mistake. But when it comes to your personal finances, a dumb mistake can really impact your financial future. These 3 money mistakes are ones that you definitely don’t want to make. Borrowing from 401(k). If you need money, borrowing from your 401(k) is not the answer. If someone suggests for you do that, it is important that you ask them some very important questions. First, how does this money get paid back and under what terms? Loan repayments are paid back with after-tax dollars and when you ultimately distribute them in retirement they are taxes again. Second, what happens if I lose my job? Typically in most plans, you will be required to pay back the entire loan immediately if you leave your employer. Otherwise, that money becomes a distribution, which incurs tax and potential penalties. Remember, your 401(k) is there to build money for your retirement. It’s something that really should not be touched until you reach your golden years. If you are following a rules based approach to your financial decisions, you would have built liquidity in a savings account to provide you with the cash you need rather than have to go into debt or borrow from your 401(k). Why would you want to borrow against your happiness in retirement? You worked so hard to save that money, don’t use it. Not Insuring Your Most Valuable Asset. There are two things that you definitely need in your portfolio - life insurance and disability insurance. They are not a should have they are a must have. Don’t make the mistake of not insuring your most valuable asset; yourself. Who would be financially impacted if something were to happen and you could not work, or even worse, the unthinkable happens? Did you know that suffering a disability that keeps you out of work contributes to 62% of all personal bankruptcies, according to a study by the American Journal of Medicine. Many people are under the misconception that life insurance or disability insurance are very expensive when that really isn’t the case. Talk to your financial professional to help find the right product to fit your needs. And remember, it will never be cheaper for you to buy than it is today. Not Changing Bad Behavior. As of March 2016, the estimated total amount of outstanding credit card debt in America is $762 billion dollars. Even with all the education out there around debt management, debt is obviously still a problem for a lot of people. So, if this is an issue for you consider that your behavior may be the number one thing holding you back. Take credit card debt for example. Paying down your credit card debt or consolidating debt is great but if don’t modify the behavior that got you into debt in the first place, then you will be in even more trouble. A credit counselor or financial professional can comb over your spending and help you identify trends. Perhaps you were pouring too much of your income into basic expenses such as housing, car payments and living costs, and you need to evaluate ways to downgrade. It is important to live within your means and to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Don’t make protecting, saving, and enjoying your money harder than it has to be. Make sure you talk to your Leap professional about how to make your financial life sane, sound, and simple.
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