10 Myths about personal finance – busted
With so much information, it can be hard to distinguish between facts and fiction. There are also several persistent myths in the world of personal finance. Unfortunately, these inaccuracies may be potential barriers to people who are just beginning to take control of their financial situations. Here are some of these myths broken:
Myth 1: You do not need to save for retirement till you are older
In reality: It is never too early to start saving for retirement. In fact, the sooner you begin, the harder your money can work for you. That is because time and compounding are key factors in a retirement savings plan. The difference of just 10 years could be significant. If you cannot start saving early in your career you may have to save a lot more to make up for lost time.
Myth 2: It is Too Late to Save for Retirement
In reality: A mistaken belief among some is that once you go past 50, it is too late to begin saving for retirement. That cannot be further from the truth, thanks to our ever-increasing life expectancy. Regardless of your age, it is a good idea to be saving part of your income for retirement. While you may have to push back your retirement date or change the style of retirement you dream of, having something is certainly better than nothing.
Myth 3: Buying a Home is Always Better Than Renting
In reality: Everyone’s situation is different but some factors that should go into your decision of whether to buy vs rent include your ability to cover up-front costs (closing costs, down payment, etc.), how long do you plan to live there and your credit score? Sometimes renting can be the better choice.
If you are young and just starting out your career, renting might be a better option. It gives you more flexibility to chase that dream job and is simply less work.
Myth 4: Carrying Credit Card Balances is good for your credit score
In reality: The opposite is true, as credit scores are calculated using a credit utilization ratio, which means the less debt you have, the better off you are. The trick to using credit cards to boost your score is to use them and pay them off in full each month rather than carry a balance.
Myth 5: Credit cards are bad and should be avoided
In reality: If you pay off your card balance in full each month to avoid interest, making purchases with credit can be worthwhile. Many credit cards offer a reward program. If you make all your daily purchases with your card, you can quickly rack up points you can redeem for cash, travel, electronics, or invest.
Also, showing that using credit responsibly can help you increase your credit score, making it easier to buy a car or home later. It may even earn you a lower interest rate when you borrow. It may be hard to dig out of credit card debt, but if you control your expenses and pay the card off every month, it might pay you back.
Myth 6: Precious Metals Are Always Good Investment
In reality: When the economy takes a significant downturn, some people will recommend buying gold. It is secure; it is a physical asset! But precious metals such as gold are highly volatile and subject to wild price swings.
Myth 7: You Only Have One Credit Score
In reality: There are two major credit reporting agencies in Canada–TransUnion and Equifax –along with thousands of banks and lenders, all of which may be using different formulas to calculate your credit score. While each may produce numbers that are close, there is no guarantee they will, and even a small difference can affect your mortgage or loan interest rate.
Myth 8: I Do not Earn Enough to Save
In reality: The two most important things to know when it comes to savings are that any amount you save is better than saving none, and saving is a habit. The sooner you develop that habit, the better. A good tactic can be to start with whatever you can save now and then add 1% each year (or 5% or 10% if you see significant income boosts).
Myth 9: Minimum Payments Are Fine
In reality: Minimum monthly credit card payments are a trap that can prove quite difficult to climb out of. Credit card companies like customers who only make the minimum payment because they earn plenty of interest for doing nothing. You end up paying a lot more for whatever you bought.
Myth 10: The stock market is too risky for my retirement money.
In reality: It is true that money in a savings account is safe from the stock market’s ups and downs. But it will not grow much, given that interest rates on savings accounts are typically low. When it is time to withdraw that money for retirement a few decades from now, your money will not buy as much because of inflation. However, the stock market has a long history of growth, making it a key part of your longer-term investment portfolio.
Hopefully, we were able to clear some of the myths about personal finance. With an abundance of information these days always remember to do your research and fact check before taking any action.
Finjoy Capital is not a financial advisory firm.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice.