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The game of Monopoly you played at Christmas and special occasions with your family may feel true to it’s form from time to time. Especially when you consider the number of money pits in the form of taxes, repairs, damages, jail time costs you receive, the last one's a joke obviously, but you get the point. Life's expensive, so why are we so surprised and deflated with money worries when we hit a pit that sucks away our money in Monopoly and real life? Is it because we feel like we’re failing? Because life's unfair? Or because we should have planned ahead for events such as this? The latter probably rings true, the ‘I should have known better’ (even though you probably didn’t know any better) stance is one that adults tend to resonate with. It’s any wonder we’re not taught these facts earlier on in life through the education system. Instead you get a, “hey, you live in a state, country, world, owned and ran by money, but, we’re not going to tell you how to navigate actual real-life problems to do with money, but, we will tell you the route of pi and replace numbers with letters in algebra”.
It’s disheartening really when you round up and what could happen, what has happened and what might still happening in life concerning money traps. But in doing so and reading it in black and white, it might give us the nudge we need to prepare for them, to stop making mistakes leading us into the traps below, and not to bury our heads in the sand as money stress eats away at your wallet and soul. Here are life’s money traps that are dragging your credit score, morale down and making your early retirement dream an unrealistic aspiration.
Buying Too Much House
Odd isn’t it, how optimistic and empowered you feel to hear the bank thinks you’re safe to lend hundreds of thousands of pounds to by looking at three previous bank statements, a credit score and that you have a small percentage of the properties value as a downpayment. What’s more concerning is that we buy into and trust this way of thinking, some of us sucked into the notion that well if the lender thinks we’re viable, we must be? Right? Wrong. What if there's an economic crisis and interest rates rocket, what if you’re parents demand the deposit money back they lent you because they need it desperately, what if you ‘paid an extortionate amount for a house that loses 20% of its value in the next 6 months, what was the exceedingly larger than life financial commitment for?
There's a gut instinct that usually coincides with buying a house, it tells you if you're overstepping the mark, becoming a bit too over-excited with the prospect of borrowing a large lump sum of money. But there’s another element that beats this, it’s called working out your budget and what you can comfortably afford, and honestly, this shouldn't be anywhere near more than 25% of one of your wages. Showing off with a big house is something you might do in front of family and friends a few days a year, being vacuumed into debt because you can't afford the bills and subsequently worst-case scenario you need to have your house repossessed affects your quality of life and relationship with your family daily. Choose the smaller house, and buy just what you need to avoid this financially fatal money trap.
Your parents can’t be blamed for being old, we at all ages arrive with a price tag of some description. For instance, for the late teens, it’s funding your college years, driving lessons, first car and gap year, for the early twenties to middle-aged it's buying a house, your wedding, baby stuff, maybe using your money to start a business and simultaneously stressing how to pay for your aging parent years too.
It’s a scenario a lot of people struggle to broach to their parents to find out whether they actually have anything set up to support themselves if the day comes they’re no longer as able-bodied to support themselves. But actually, an awkward 10-minute conversation about their plans is probably quite palatable in comparison to suddenly enduring how on earth you’ll pay for your parents if you find out that actually, they don’t have the insurance and benefit entitlement to cover the cost of care they need. And although the filial laws vary by state and in some cases are not heavily enforced, your moral compass will probably urge you when the times comes to take care of your parents the way they probably (hopefully) cared for you most of your life. So when you’re thinking of all the reasons why you’re saving for the future, amongst your; dream car, bigger house, college funds for the kids, emergency funds for the what if's, your next holiday and so on, be prepared that some of it may need to pay for your parents in the future. To figure out where you stand, ask your parents about their future plans and research the affordable options available out there for full-time care in a residential home, taking care of them in your own home or preview more details here for information on a suitable hospice should the time come. To avoid the shock later on to your stress levels and wallet, preparing for this scenario in advance will enable you to cope when the time arrives.
At some point or another, you’ve thought what the hell and bought something on finance just because your temptation overthrew your logic, and other times it might be because you’re in a sticky situation and feel like you need it, for instance, your washing machine has broken down. When you’re in an okay position financially, meaning you have savings and you earn enough to afford your bills, and then some, your savings should be used to pay off the finance, credit cards, store credit fillers immediately. Why? Because unless the interest rate on your savings account equates to more than what you’re paying out in interest per year, you’re actually losing a fair amount of money. It’s always best to pay off high-interest personal debts first as soon as possible, to save yourself from sky-high interest rates too.
Once you’re out of this trap, it’s imperative to stay focused and refuse to take out any more finance, this means you need to stock up on savings and be strict with your spending to prepare for the what if’s. Distinguishing between wants and needs will help you decipher if shopping for a new TV because your next door neighbor has the latest one is entirely necessary or just fueled by superficial desire.
iii.org states that $16.8 billion was stolen from consumers in the US in 2017 as a result of fraud, a not so pleasant money trap that will imminently leave you in a sticky situation if your account is suddenly wiped of all your earnings. If you haven't yet been struck by fraud yourself, it’s possible you think it’s unlikely to happen to you, that might be true if you invest some time and energy into ensuring your details are private in the real and virtual world; however, the chances are they're not. With Facebook, Linked In and Instagram for example, fraudsters can quickly locate your DOB, place of work, full name, perhaps even where you live. Not to mention full access to pictures of you, and an insight into your life to see how much money you’re made of by the pictures you post on holidays, in your home amongst your belongings, of your car and so forth. All of this information is likely enough for a cybercriminal to apply for credit on your behalf without you ever knowing.
Following this, spam emails arrive in manipulative, convincing packages urging you to send someone money because they're in dire circumstances or declaring they can reveal and send out important private information from your PC. Criminals attempting to take your money will be present in all manner of disguises, to avoid this trap as much as possible do the following;
If you are a victim of fraudulent activity, you should contact the fraud investigation team immediately for more details see https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds.
Money traps are waiting around most corners, most of which can be avoided with some preparation. Such as; saving a significant emergency fund enough to cover any present and future expenses. Opting to buy far less than you can actually afford. Paying down debt with your savings and refusing to apply for more credit, and of course being frugal over your identity on the web and in real life so that hackers and fraudsters can’t get a hold of your hard earned cash.
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