Putting yourself in the best possible financial position will likely require tailored advice to ensure you’re making the right moves, even if it seems different than your peers.
But there are still many financial habits and attitudes that many of us share that may prevent you from feeling financially secure or wealthy.
Here are 5 red flags that financial experts see when creating financial plans for their clients, and what to look for if you want to be smarter about your own money.
1. Living beyond your means
Do you really know how much you spend each month? If it’s more than you can actually handle, that’s a red flag.
In addition, young adults may be particularly susceptible to overspending, according to Emily Safford, a certified financial planner and wealth advisor at Girard.
Safford said she often sees young people focused on imitating and keeping up appearances, “but on the flip side, you might be pushing yourself financially to do that.”
She explained that credit card debt can build up and get out of control very quickly and when you’re young, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you continue with the same financial behaviour.
Safford recommended continuing to make sure that you can continue to meet all your other financial obligations, such as saving for retirement.
“You should live within your means and be able to save, if possible,” Safford said.
2. Don’t gasp for emotions
She believes that one of the things that makes it difficult to get rid of consumer behavior is the psychological and emotional aspects, or that a person carries spending personally, such as feeling ashamed and inferior, as he did not buy some things that are essentially unnecessary, as well as arrogance asking for help in managing their financial affairs, and thus makes it difficult to get rid of basic financial problems.
In turn, Annette Vanderlind, chief client officer at Liberty Wealth Advisors, said: “Many people feel regret that they don’t manage money completely on their own.. Sometimes, these negative feelings can be an obstacle to moving forward in seeking help.”
Safford added that people often struggle to get help with their finances or take steps on their own because they “may not want to face the reality of their situation right now.”
But you don’t have to change your whole life in one day. It will take time to become good with money, and it may take longer to address problems that have built up over time, such as credit card debt or bad spending habits.
“There are so many different avenues now that you can find advice, and I can start with small steps, for example, start with an app to track your budget, and then go to the next step from there,” Safford said.
3. Not working with the right professional
You may not need to hire a professional planner right away, but a wealth advisor or other expert can help you figure out the best plan for your money — and help you steer clear of bad advice.
“If you’re not feeling confident and feeling pressured, this is the perfect time to ask a planner for help,” Vanderlind said. “Reserve their services and they will set you straight and put you on the path to success.”
Experts recommended the need to organize your accounts, especially since many of them have become digital, and people do not review their account statements or credit card bills.
And it’s not just your daily spending. As you get older, there may be more accounts to keep track of.
Experts advise that a routine inventory should be taken to make sure you know where everything is and that you can still access it.
Wherever you are on your financial journey, the next step will never come by itself. It’s easy to say you’ll budget tomorrow or start saving for retirement when you’ve earned more money, but the more you put off those things, the worse your situation can get.
“When people get overwhelmed, they don’t know what to do and then they just keep taking no action and it’s like a vicious cycle,” Vanderlind said.
Part of the problem, says Reyes, is wishful thinking. People will optimistically assume that things will work out in the future, but this is not always the case. You don’t need to completely define your life tomorrow, but it is important to set realistic and manageable goals.