Personal Finance
February 3, 2015

Common Financial Myths to Avoid

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Money worries are common. However, financial myths abound that can cause you to make mistakes with your financial future. By learning the facts, you avoid using myths as your guideposts. This allows you to manage your money better.

One of the most common associations, especially after the current recession, is that if you have a credit card, you will go into debt. The belief is that credit card lenders are out to steal your money. The truth is that you can actually game credit cards into being a very useful financial tool. Many credit cards come with great rewards, like cash back or a 0% intro APR. You can use these rewards to get what you need from a credit card.

Have a balance on a credit card that you are having trouble paying off? Transfer the balance to a 0% intro APR credit card and you can pay off the balance without racking up any interest for as long as a year and half. Want some extra cash for your vacation? Many rewards credit cards are now giving up to $400 in cash back intro bonuses to attract customers. The key is to reap the rewards and pay off your balance at the end of each month, so you aren’t being charged any interest, fees or accumulating any debt. Use your credit cards to pay monthly expenses you would have anyway, like utility bills or car payments.

If you do have credit card debt that you need to get rid of before properly using your credit cards, you can try a debt consolidation service to help you lower your interest rate to make off your balance faster. If your credit score has taken a hit from your debt, you can try one of the many credit repair companies to help you fix your score. Just make sure it is a reputable service.

Life insurance, as a way to build savings, fell out of favor when pension plans and IRAs grew in popularity. Many people focused on the expenses of setting up and maintaining a life insurance policy. However, life insurance is still a good long-term investment because of its two main benefits. One benefit is that you get interest credits on the cash value of your insurance policy as long as you are up-to-date with premiums. An even better benefit is that if you are older than 65, you often have the option of selling your insurance contract for several times the amount of its cash value.

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For many, financial planning is just for rich people who want to invest their money. This is incorrect. Everyone needs financial planning. Although choosing suitable investments is one part of it, financial planning offers a lot more. At its basic level, it helps with saving money and budgeting, but also includes insurance, college funding, investments, retirement and estate planning. Sites like Credit Karma can help you organize your finances and see where you can save money.

Experts used to suggest that you have both growth and value stocks. Growth stocks increase in profits, while value stocks sell for less than the company’s value. Over the past decade, these two labels have become meaningless. Today, when buying stocks or mutual funds, you want to find good prices on stocks. Forget about labels. If you want to learn more about stocks, Ally Invest has great educational tools for beginners and those who are looking to learn about trading.

You’re never too young to start planning for your retirement years. In fact, with good planning, you may be able to retire early. A retirement plan takes into consideration how much income you want for your retirement and what kind of lifestyle you want to enjoy. Although your retirement goals will change over the years, starting a retirement plan in your 20s is a smart move. If you are looking to start an IRA, TD Ameritrade is currently offering a deal where opening a new IRA can get you $600.

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