5 Surprising Personal Finance Beliefs
With all the world’s information at our fingertips, you’d think consumers would have a good grasp of basic financial information. Surprisingly, many people still don’t understand some of the fundamental concepts of personal finance. Or they continue to believe old, outdated or just plain incorrect information. Let’s take a look at some personal finance beliefs that might surprise you.
Credit Cards Are Free Money
A recent survey by Wallet Hub revealed that 1 in 10 college students think credit cards are simply “free money.” Now, while 1 in 10 might not seem like much percentage-wise, that’s more than 2-million young adults who don’t have a basic understanding of credit cards and how they work. While there are plenty of credit cards that offer perks, points and in some cases, small amounts of cash back, there are no credit cards that don’t require repayment.
Banks Aren’t Safe Places to Keep Money
You’ve probably heard your grandparents or great-grandparents joke about stashing money away in a coffee can or under the mattress. That’s because there was a time when banks weren’t always safe places to keep your money, and those old enough to remember that may still be wary. But the fact is, as long as you are banking with an institution whose deposits are insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) your money is much safer in the bank than stashed away at home (or anywhere else). This is one of the outdated personal finance beliefs that’s better to leave in the past.
Debt is Just a Fact of Life
It’s true that many milestones, such as buying a home, a vehicle or acquiring a higher education come with debt. But many consumers also run up debt in pursuit of acquiring luxury goods or financing experiences, like world travel. They adopt a ‘spend now, worry later’ philosophy. But being in debt doesn’t have to be a way of life. Some debt may be unavoidable, but most isn’t, particularly credit card debt. Through careful budgeting and smart money management, most consumers can avoid debt and still live the life they want, without the worry.
Budgets are Boring and Restrictive
Many people cringe at the thought of following a budget. They believe budgeting is constantly counting every penny, leaving nothing left for fun or spontaneity. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In many ways, following a budget actually gives you more freedom, because you always know how much money you have coming in, going out and most importantly, where it’s going. As the popular expressions says: a budget is you telling your money where to go, rather than wondering where it went.
Without a Bank Account, Bill Collectors Can’t Get Your Money
Some consumers experiencing financial difficulty mistakenly believe that if they don’t have a bank account, bill collectors can’t do anything to collect what they owe. But not having a bank account is no defense against bill collectors. In fact, it could prompt them to take more aggressive steps to get repayment, including wage garnishment. On top of that, being unbanked makes all routine financial transactions more complicated and time-consuming.
If consumers are unbanked due to past financial mistakes, such as excessive overdrafts, working with a local bank or credit union can be a way back into the financial mainstream.