5 Things You Should Never Do with Your Money

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Making money mistakes is something that many of us are guilty of, whether we admit it or not. We all want to make the best choices with our money, but sometimes we just don't know what those are.

Understandably, you don't know something until you've been taught or experienced it.

That's why this list will provide things you should never do with your money. That way, you can avoid making the same mistakes countless others have made.

1. Don't spend money you don't have.

While it might seem obvious, you'd be surprised how many people do this. Having a credit card doesn't mean you can afford to use it. In fact, racking up debt is one of the worst things you can do with your money.

If you can't pay for something in cash, you likely can't afford it, whether it's household essentials or something else. Period.

What should you do instead?

Instead of using credit to live beyond your means, only spend money on things you can afford. If you can't pay in cash, wait until you have the money saved before making the purchase.

This might seem common sense, but people often fall into the trap of using credit to buy things they can't afford. 

Spending on a card can make sense if you have a tight handle on your spending and the cash to pay off your credit card each month. You can earn cash back, rewards points, or some other form of compensation that can make financial sense.

2. Don't gamble with your money.

Gambling isn't the same thing as investing. When you gamble, you're essentially putting your money at risk with the hopes of winning more money. But there's no guarantee that you'll actually win anything.

On the other hand, investing is all about putting your money into something with the expectation of a return on your investment. Of course, some risk is involved, but it's usually much less than gambling.

What should you do instead?

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If you want to grow your money, invest it instead of gambling. Investing can be a great way to secure your financial future and build your wealth over time. There are several different ways to invest your money, so research and find an investment strategy that fits your goals and risk tolerance.

And if you're looking for a little bit of excitement, there are plenty of other things to gamble on that don't involve your hard-earned money.

3. Don't invest in things you don't understand.

Investing is hard enough as it is. Investing in things you don't understand doesn't make it any easier.

Whenever you're thinking about investing in something, make sure you do your research and understand what you're getting yourself into.

If you don't understand something, don't invest in it. It's as simple as that.

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What should you do instead?

Again, only invest in things that you understand. If you're unsure about something, don't be afraid to ask for help from a financial advisor or somebody who knows more about investing than you do. You can even use a service like a robo-advisor to make suitable investment recommendations.

It's also important to remember that you don't have to invest in everything. No rule says you have to invest in everything just because it's available. You can pick and choose what investments you want to make.

Investing is a big decision, and you should always take the time to do it right.

Making hasty decisions with your money can lead to significant financial mistakes. So, if you invest, ensure you do it with caution and care.

The bottom line is this: don't let anyone pressure you into investing in something you don't understand.

4. Don't forget to save for a rainy day.

Unexpected things happen. You should plan for them.

Things will come up regardless of how well you budget and how good you are with your money. 

That's why it's essential to have a savings account for unexpected medical bills, car repairs, job loss, or other emergencies.

What should you do instead?

Start by setting up an emergency fund with enough money to cover your living expenses for three to six months. This will help you cover your bills if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can't work.

You can also set up a separate savings account for vacations, holidays, or big purchases. This way, you'll have the money when needed, and you won't have to put it on a credit card and pay interest.

Saving money is one of the most important things you can do with your money. It gives you peace of mind, and it helps you prepare for the future.

5. Don't neglect your retirement savings.

Just as important as saving for a rainy day is saving for the last day of work.

You should start saving for retirement as early as possible. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow. Neglecting your retirement only adds more pressure down the road when you're trying to catch up.

You can leverage compounding returns to grow your money faster by starting early.

What should you do instead?

Start saving for retirement today, even if it's just a little bit each month. The sooner you start, the better off you'll be. You can also consider investing in a retirement account like an IRA or a 401k. These accounts offer tax breaks and other benefits that can help you save more for retirement.

When it comes to your money, there are some things you should never do. These five things will help you avoid making some big financial mistakes. Remember, your money is essential. Handle it with care.

Bonus: Don't overlook tracking your money

Finally, while handling the above money concepts, ensure you don't forget to track your money. 

This is a great way to stay on top of your finances, see where your money is going, and make sure you progress towards your financial goals. Neglecting your money can lead to financial straits.

What should you do instead?

Start tracking your income and expenses using a budget or personal finance software. This will help you stay on top of your money and make better financial decisions. If you're a business owner, staying on top of your money is doubly important because you have to track your personal and business finances.

Tracking your money is a critical part of financial success. Don't overlook it! Several online bookkeeping solutions track your revenue and expenses and then reconcile them with your personal finances. Solutions like Quicken or Simplifi work well with both sets of needs, saving you time and money by handling the administrative legwork.

Riley Adams
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Riley Adams is a licensed CPA who works at Google as a senior financial analyst. He owns the investing website, Young and the Invested (youngandtheinvested.com/), which teaches younger generations how to invest with confidence.