Financial Pitfalls – Avoiding COSTLY Mistakes

Author: Mike Erickson – Financial Advisor

The English dictionary describes a pitfall as “a hidden or unsuspected danger or difficulty.” Alternatively, it also defines a pitfall as “a covered pit used as a trap.” When it comes to finance, I can make the case that both definitions hold true.

Avoiding financial pitfalls in general really comes down to managing discretionary spending. Now more than ever, we live in a world where it is easier to spend money that you may or may not have, at the click of a button. We have been afforded online shopping, dine out options, grocery delivery services and more. Navigating through what is necessary and what is needed is up to us as the consumer.

Here are 4 Financial Decisions to AVOID: Keeping you from making costly mistakes

1. Buying a New Car:

The moment you drive that new car off the lot it has gone down significantly in value. According to the Canadian Black Book, “During the first year, the average depreciation for new cars is around 30 to 40 per cent.” Most Canadians tend to finance vehicles which can eat into a significant amount of their free cash flow each month. These payments are typically attached to low interest rates but have long payback terms. Additionally, increasingly more vehicles need premium fuel which could also pose as a significant monthly expense.

2. Spending Too much on a House:

It is important to live within your means, even when it comes to your residence. Homes have typically gone up in value in the greater Vancouver area, however, you must be mindful of how much you are willing to spend each month to afford a house. Too many Canadians are living month to month with a house rich and cash poor mentality hampered by a large mortgage payment. A larger house also tends to have larger utility bills, property tax, and overall greater repairs and maintenance costs.

3. Using Home Equity as Fun Money

It is easy to justify pulling money out of your home to do a kitchen renovation or go on a vacation. Interest rates are low, and your house has gone up in value significantly over time. However, keep in mind how refinancing your house might impact your overall long term financial plan. Short term thinking could prolong retirement plans down the road.

4. Not Having a Financial Advisor or Plan

Having a comprehensive Financial Plan helps ensure you are making cost saving decisions. I recommend engaging a Financial Advisor to meet with you to put together a comprehensive financial plan.  They will ensure you are prioritizing your objectives, needs and your short term and long-term goals. To keep you accountable to these cost saving decisions, they will meet with you regularly to ensure you are on track, start investing early, stick to the plan and monitor and adjust along the way. According to a national Ipsos poll, households with a Financial Advisor have nearly three times more investable assets than those without. It’s a relationship that can make all the difference in helping you achieve financial wellness.

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