5 Financial Disasters to Avoid

A comfortable retirement without money worries is a goal everyone strives for sooner or later. But even if you don't quite have the motivation to save aggressively for retirement yet, do yourself a favor and don't damage your path to financial independence too severely. Here are a few disasters you need to avoid, which will make your life much easier when you are interested in preparing for your future:

Marrying a spendthrift. Marrying a spendthrift is a big no-no if you ever want to amass a solid nest egg. It's incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to save enough for a comfortable retirement unless both you and your significant other are on the same page. In fact, money problems always rank high in the reasons why people get divorced.

Getting into credit card debt. Don't swipe your credit cards without thinking it through. Credit card debt can creep up on you, and before you know it you will amass a huge balance. A purchase here, a swipe there and you'll be paying so much interest you'll need to work significantly more to achieve the same goal one day. That's why even credit cards with 0 percent interest for over a year can be dangerous. Many people end up racking up a huge balance they cannot pay off, which results in even more credit card debt when the rates reset higher.

Failing to develop a savings habit. You may not feel like saving aggressively, but at least put something away. Even a dollar every paycheck is a good start. If you have a 401(k) at work, strongly consider taking full advantage of the match. Also consider tucking some after-tax dollars into a Roth IRA to get some tax-free growth. Eventually, you'll want to increase your savings, and it's much easier to increase the amount later than to start a completely new habit.

Worrying too much about others. There's always going to be an urge to keep up with appearances, but all you're really doing with those purchases is strengthening your chain to your job. The worst side affect of increased consumption is that lowering it back down once you get used to it is much harder. The choice is yours: Would you rather buy more stuff or have the freedom to choose who you work for and when you need to work?

Having no idea where the paycheck went each month. Many people don't track how much they spend, but it's easy to cut out expenses that add no value to your life when you know where each dollar is going. And even if you don't want to put it all in savings, you can spend more on areas that actually make you happy. When you are less stressed you could become more productive at work and end up making more money, a bonus that keeps on giving.


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