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10 Dumb Money Moves That Are Guaranteed to Destroy Wealth

by Shawanda Greene

Are you stupid?We all make mistakes with money.

It’s okay.

Try to forgive yourself for squandering a few bucks here and there. Stop reliving the time you forgot that coupon for a free sausage biscuit on your dining room table.

You’re not the first person to pay full price for a jar of salsa con queso because you misread the sales label. And no one blames you for allowing a $2 Ikea wine glass to slip from your hand after you had a few.

Forget about that stuff, man. You’re imperfect.

But some of the ways you handle money are catastrophic for your financial well-being.

If you insist on living a life of fiscal destitution, here are ten remarkably effective tricks to help you realize that dream.

  1. Buy a ton of junk you won’t use, and put it in a storage unit you’ll pay for until the end of days.
  2. Treat tax filing and payment deadlines as if they’re set by any ol’ powerless, unsecured creditor.
  3. When your business is thriving or you’re raking in lots of cash from your day job, spend like the good times will last forever.
  4. Half ass attempts to pay off debt, negotiate pay raises, or achieve any other objective that makes you uncomfortable but would increase your cash flow.
  5. Without performing the most basic of research, go to college, and pretend a degree will magically result in a fulfilling and financially lucrative career.
  6. Keep your financial affairs in such a disorderly mess you forget credit card due dates, overdraw your bank account, and go over your credit limit.
  7. Forego health insurance because you’re young, strong, and medical related emergencies don’t happen to you.
  8. Act as a cosigner on loans you can’t afford to repay.
  9. Wait for someone else to take responsibility for your financial matters.
  10. Spare no expense for your children even if a 100% increase in price only results in a 1% increase in benefit derived from the item in question.

Can you think of any other amazingly dumb ways to handle money?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

addvodka May 9, 2012 at 9:28 AM

I soo agree with the college without research point. I have some friends who went through $40,000 programs and graduated without the ability to get a job because the industry was either tiny and hard to get into, or virtually non hesitant in Vancouver.

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Shawanda May 10, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Good to know the U.S. isn't the only North American country that has this problem. But wait, I thought a college education was really cheap in Canada.

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Mike Collins May 9, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Most of the money mistakes you've listed all come down to a simple lack of taking your finances seriously. Missing credit card payments may not seem like a big deal to some people but when your interest rates get jacked up and you can't qualify for a mortgage you'll wish you were more organized. Spending like there's no tomorrow and going without health insurance just shows there is no plan in place to deal with the inevitable downturns.

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Shawanda May 10, 2012 at 7:51 AM

For long-term loans, like a mortgage, the difference in interest paid over the life of the loan for someone with excellent credit compared to someone with poor credit is astounding. I wonder if tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, would motivate people to take their credit more seriously.

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shopping2saving May 9, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Great list! There are a ton of people that got fluffy majors like Liberal Arts, and then were left wondering why they could not find a job. Also I would say that people should be more proactive instead of complain… such as try to get the best deal, try to intern first in school, look for relevant experience, negotiate credit card interest rates, etc. Just go out and do it instead of complain about it!

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Shawanda May 10, 2012 at 7:56 AM

That's how I feel about it. Complaining usually doesn't change anything. Particularly if no one cares or is affected by the problem except for the complainer.

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Anthony Thompson May 9, 2012 at 4:21 PM

With some of the dumb money moves that you listed, you would think that most people would know better. Unfortunately, there are still many who think that getting a degree equates with a guaranteed lucrative career. These days, there is so much market competition that even those with college degrees in high demand industries are having a hard time finding a job. It's not your degree that makes the difference, It's your skills, upgrades, ability to sell yourself, and your competitive edge that determines how you'll fair in the marketplace.

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Shawanda May 10, 2012 at 7:59 AM

"It's your skills, upgrades, ability to sell yourself, and your competitive edge that determines how you'll fair in the marketplace."

When you say it like that, you make it sound like a lot of work. Oh yeah. It is!

I guess that's why so many new grads are struggling with finding a good job.

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Invest It Wisely May 9, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Some of these can be really painful, like the college degree. Tens of thousands of dollars and years down the drain, if you don't take the time to do a bit of up-front research.

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Shawanda May 10, 2012 at 8:02 AM

You know what? During their first semester of college, I think freshmen should be required to take a course that teaches them how to research a major and a career. They have to take about two years of fluffy general education classes anyway. One of them can be replaced with something that's actually useful.

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Afford Anything May 10, 2012 at 6:36 PM

I like that suggestion! I've long thought that personal finance classes should be mandatory. Perhaps researching major/career — and then coupling that with "How much will that $30K salary afford me? How far can I stretch that money?" — would help freshmen make more informed choices.
My recent post Are You Letting Invisible Scripts Rule Your Life?

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Anree May 10, 2012 at 11:54 PM

11. Don’t bother reading any contracts before you sign, no matter how concise and clear the language.

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Shawanda May 15, 2012 at 12:04 AM

LOL! Signing something you don't read is a good way to get in trouble. I'm always surprised at how impatient people seem while they wait as you read the contract they gave you to sign. Rental car companies are the worst. I know there are other customers waiting, but they're not going to cover my share of any hidden fees buried in the contract you're rushing me to sign.

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ImpulseSave May 14, 2012 at 11:33 AM

12. Forget the most basic arithmetic and truly believe that the little things don't add up over time. (2 + 2 + 2+ 2) x everyday of the year = a lot of money!

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Shawanda May 15, 2012 at 12:07 AM

I know that's right. Today I succumbed to laziness. I spent $2 for a bottle of water at the gym because I forgot mine in the car. I'm still kicking myself. I gotta get a grip. It was only $2. But still…

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ryan@BadCreditLoans May 17, 2012 at 8:41 PM

10 Dumb Money Moves That Are Guaranteed to Destroy Wealth, the title sounds extravagant but the sad part of the story is that some people are really living this way.
Other ways of throwing your money away is betting in casinos, spending money in stuff that you’re never going to use, getting a car you can afford, renting an apartment, that you will be kick out before you can buy any furniture, and many more. We're living in hard time, I hope someone reads this and can realize that's over spending and wasting their life. This is a short, but interesting topic.
My recent post Are You Ready to Take Out a Loan?

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