Photo: Flickr / Saynine
With help from our favourite finance experts and readers, they’ve shared the lousiest money advice they ever received (and boy, have they heard some doozies).
Brenda Della Casa, managing editor at the U.K. wedding site I Am Staggered has heard this a few times before.
'It seems to give people a level of comfort that others can survive, but the reality is that people are not surviving in debt,' says Flexo, finance expert at Consumerism Commentary.
'You can lose your house, lose your possessions, and you shouldn't think just because someone appears to be surviving that it's going to be possible for you.'
After landing a new job, Krissy Pomerantz was overwhelmed. Should she buy her own place or start paying her loans?
'When people get a raise and they've managed to live comfortably on what they earn, there's no reason to upgrade their lifestyle,' Flexo says.
Toby Johnston, a CPA with Mohler, Nixon and Williams in San Francisco, agrees.
'This mindset can keep you trapped in a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle that leads to debt,' he says. 'And if we spend exactly in proportion with our income rising, then we'll still wind up with the status quo.'
Family friends wouldn't stop nudging Flexo to get his own place when he graduated college.
Had he borrowed to buy or rent his own place, Flexo says he would have put himself in a worse financial situation than he already was in.
Following this suggestion would have been a one-way ticket to slavery.
You're basically turning a portion of your paycheck to your lender, says Flexo.
'Since you have to pay them first, you're not able to live your life with the money you make because it's obligated to someone else.'
'It always makes sense to review your bills and not just accept what a company is charging you, whether it's in the initial stage of getting a service, or getting the bill after the fact,' says Flexo.
Any time when you get a bill and it doesn't match exactly what you expect it to be, you need to take care of it by becoming aware of what you're paying and why.
Saving 20% on today's purchase might sound smart, but you'll forget all about it once you see your credit score.
'Credit card companies count on these people messing up and paying large interest,' Flexo says. 'And they're counting on a lot of people not paying them back. Add in the fact that these issuers often 'forget' to send statements and you can easily rack up interest and late charges.'
Justine Rivero, credit counselor at CreditKarma.com, hears this a lot, but says to watch out.
'Your credit score can impact you in number of other ways, such as if you are being interviewed for a job, renting an apartment, renting a car, and even getting a cell phone service plan,' she says.
And while you may not be applying for a credit card or loan at this moment in time, you may consider it in a few months or years.
'You'll need to stay on top of your credit score for the time being so you can be prepared with excellent credit when the time comes for you to apply for a financial product,' she says.
Those glamorous TV shows make it look so easy, says Chris Skiles, associate art director at Seattle Metropolitan.
His friends have insisted he try this, but successful investors never tell you how much it really costs.
'Saying housing is the best investment possible since the market will always go up in value over the long term is clearly not true as illustrated by the recent downturn,' says Andrew Schrage, finance expert with Money Crashers.
'This mentality has caused a lot of people to lose their shirt in the housing market,' including the experts.
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