Top 5 Money Myths Exposed
Due to the coronavirus, high school and college commencements in general, are being held online. For the college Class of 2020, we have some financial advice to offer. Plus, we will expose the top 5 money myths that hopefully will get you started down the right path.
Based on personal experience, I’ve come across young graduates that are of the mind-set “let’s just kick back & be young for the time being and adulting will kick in when it’s ready.” As I look back now, this is not what I would recommend to 2020 grads or for any student.
My best recommendation to you is to get your finances in order as early as possible and don’t postpone it. The following are 5 money myths that really need to be debunked, once and for all.
Myth 1. To create a budget means you can only buy things you need, and not what you may want.
A proper budget is a means of allocating your money to cover your expenses and to place a certain amount in savings and retirement. A good budget to see this in action is the 50/30/20 budget. Many young adults find this one easier to understand and follow.
A part of these money myths is thinking that a budget is supposed to stop you from having any fun in life. Instead, think of it as one of the best ways to develop healthy financial habits. The key to this budget is to calculate your take home pay and work from there.
50% of that amount goes to cover rent or mortgage payment, utilities, transportation, insurance – essentially all of your basic needs. 30% is used for vacations, travel, clothing, other items that wouldn’t be covered by the 50% category.
The remaining 20% goes to set up an emergency fund, retirement, and debt retirement. By debt retirement, we mean all of those nasty credit cards that take forever to pay off. Payoff all short-term debt before starting to pay extra on your mortgage.
The 50/30/20 budget, if followed carefully, will help you to develop good financial habits and eventually, debt free. Watch the charge cards. They can be too tempting for some individuals. If you can’t payoff the card balance in full each month, stay away from them.
Healthy financial habits also include setting a consistent amount aside from each paycheck.
Myth 2. Why should I save for retirement at my young age?
Again, from experience, you’re never too young to start. The earlier that you begin to save for retirement, the more comfortable you will be in retirement. There are so many Americans who are ready for retirement and don’t have enough money saved. Some will be working until the day they die.
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to contribute to an employer sponsored 401(k) account or an IRA where the employer matches a certain percentage, take advantage of it. Put as much in that you can afford, to start, and increase the amount as you go along.
It didn’t take the current coronavirus long to hurt our economy. Many, many jobs were lost, some permanently. Many individuals getting near retirement will have to postpone that date, or simply cancel it as long as they are able to work.
As an example, take a person at age 25 who saves $1,000 a month for ten years using an investment rate of 7%. When he gets to be 65, he will have about $1.4 million. If another person started at age 35 with the same parameters, he would end up with about $700,000.
The amount that you save each month is important, but it doesn’t have to be a large sum. The most important thing is compounding. The longer your money is invested, the more that you will have and this is why you need to start at an early age. This alone should debunk the money myths.
Myth 3. Using a credit card will just get me into heavy debt.
It’s true that it can for some individuals, and that’s why you need to be responsible and need to build and maintain a good credit history. Building a good credit score now will benefit you in the future. Most individuals are familiar with the FICO score, but there are many more. The two most lenders use are FICO and VantageScore.
Your credit score is a three-digit number assigned to you by the credit scoring programs. It tells lenders how much of a risk they are taking by advancing you credit. The credit scoring programs vary in what they consider to be the most important factors, so we’ll use FICO, who is the most familiar.
This data at FICO is grouped into five categories: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%).
It’s important that you choose the right credit card when you begin. Some have annual fees and some have many other options. Read the fine print, review the fees and other charges, especially the interest rate.
To stay on track while you develop healthy financial habits, use the card for normal monthly expenses and pay it off before the end of the month. Don’t use the card for long term expenses such as financing something you bought on impulse.
Myth 4. Can I negotiate my salary for an entry-level job?
Recent graduates are of the opinion that they’re not experienced enough to be able to negotiate for more money when applying for a new job. Studies done show that only about 39% of new employees negotiated their salary. Another one of the money myths.
Just be careful and diplomatic when doing this. You don’t want to get passed over for the job for being too aggressive. Before considering negotiating, do some research. Find out what the industry’s pay on average is for your job.
Some of the factors used in doing this are experience, the job title, degrees required, industry, and especially the area of the country and/or city where you will work.
Myth 5. Will I ever be able to pay off all of my student loans?
You’re probably aware of the current student loan crisis with so many of them in default for non-payment. Plus, the very high tuition costs have increased the average loan amounts quite a bit. It’s no wonder that many new graduates are concerned that they’ll be paying on these loans when they reach retirement.
Even with the government postponing payments and even forgiving some others, student loan borrowers need to cut expenses as much as possible and apply that extra money to the student loans.
One well known financial counselor, who shall remain nameless, has suggested moving back in with your parents to cut more costs. Sorry parents, but sometimes this is necessary. Especially for the graduates that have postponements and no job prospects.
There’s a lot of scary things happening in the world today, and being back in your parent’s home can be tough. It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while if you’re able to, but stick with your budget. One of the money myths again.