Just because something is labeled as “money advice” doesn’t mean you should automatically take it to heart. When it comes to money and finances, there is a lot of information out there. But financial advice isn’t one-size-fits-all. It can be hard to know what to listen to and what to ignore. So, we asked financial experts to weigh in on the advice they ignore and why.
Check out seven common money rules that experts ignore:
- Renting Is Throwing Away Money
- Income-based Repayment Will Keep Student Loan Payments Manageable
- You Shouldn’t Talk About Money With Friends and Family
- Always Carry a Balance on Your Credit Card
- Buying Lattes and Avocado Toast Is Ruining Your Financial Goals
- Building Credit Is a Top Priority
- You Have To Have Life Insurance
1. Renting Is Throwing Away Money
Renting property instead of buying is often seen as “throwing away money.” Why would you spend money on rent every month when you could make a similar or lower monthly payment on a mortgage and build equity? Mortgages can indeed be great investments, but homeownership isn’t right for everyone. Our experts think it’s ok to ignore this rule if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle.
Candance Owens, CMO of Information.com, recommends evaluating your aspirations and goals and not rushing into homeownership if you plan to move around.
If You Plan To Move A lot, Buying May Not Be Right For You
“Homeownership is a major financial decision that shouldn’t be rushed. Before you buy, evaluate your aspirations, goals, and future vision. You should reside in a property for seven years to balance buying and selling expenditures.”
Jay Zigmont, Ph.D., CFP, and Founder of Childfree Wealth, agrees that the rule may not apply to those who are child-free.
Flexibility May Be Worth More Than Owning a Home
“Renting is not throwing away money. When you are Childfree, you are more mobile and may not need or want to buy a home to meet societal norms or invest in real estate. While you need to plan for rent increases, having the flexibility may be worth more than owning a home.”
2. Income-based Repayment Will Keep Student Loan Payments Manageable
Student loan debt is a big concern for millions of Americans. Income-based repayment plans are a popular way to keep monthly payments manageable so you can continue paying on your student loans, but experts caution that this method is costly long term.
Melanie Hanson, Editor in Chief, EDI Refinance, explains the pitfalls of income-based repayment:
It’s Essential to At Least Pay Enough to Keep Up With the Interest
“When it comes to dealing with student debt, there is a lot of bad advice out there. One of the most common pieces of advice for borrowers is to explore the possibility of income-based repayment plans to keep your monthly payments manageable, especially if you’re not earning as much as you might in your field.
The problem with these payment plans is that they can easily lead to ballooning debt bombs that will ruin your ability to get credit for other needs like a car loan or a mortgage. It’s essential to at least pay enough on your student loans to keep up with interest, and prioritizing their payoff is a good idea. Consolidation loans are a great way to achieve this, especially for borrowers with multiple forms of debt like credit cards in addition to their student loans.”
3. You Shouldn’t Talk About Money With Friends and Family
Not talking about money with family, friends, and coworkers is quickly becoming obsolete. While there certainly are appropriate times, places, and ways to discuss money, it’s no longer considered taboo to be open about financial subjects.
Caitlyn Parish, CEO & Founder of Cicinia thinks financial transparency with family and friends can help you make better financial decisions.
Talking With Family And Friends Can Help You Make Better Financial Decisions
“One common piece of financial advice that I believe everyone should ignore is that you shouldn’t talk about money with friends and family. I think it’s very counterintuitive and leads you to miss great advice that could help you make the best financial decisions.
I wouldn’t say it’s prudent to discuss your finances with every friend or family member you come across, but you must have a trusted friend or family member you can trust. Discussing your financial situation with them can help you save money and make better investment decisions. Moreover, talking things through with someone who knows you and your situation completely can be more beneficial for you than advice from a financial advisor who will make suggestions based only on data and numbers.”
4. Always Carry a Balance on Your Credit Card
Digital banking made this piece of financial advice obsolete. Ben Michael, VP of Operations, Michael & Associates, explains:
You Don’t Need to Carry a Balance To Show Lenders You are Using Your Credit
“Before banking became digital and automated like it is today, it made more sense for people to carry a balance on their credit card for longer so that reporting agencies actually saw that they were using credit.
With how much these institutions and processes have improved today, that’s no longer needed. When you unnecessarily hold a balance on your credit card for a long time these days, you run the risk of missing payment deadlines and dealing with interest.”
5. Buying Lattes and Avocado Toast Is Ruining Your Financial Goals
This advice has been popular headline fodder and is typically aimed at millennials who are struggling to meet financial milestones like homeownership and retirement savings. However, Karen Berzanski, Money Mindset Coach from TheLuckySoul.com, points out that small splurges won’t get in the way of big picture goals if you are focusing on building wealth.
Building Wealth is Not About Cutting Back it’s About Building Value
“Most experts will argue that “every penny counts” however when you’re counting every penny, your focus is always on what you can get rid of and how much you can shrink. Ask any millionaire, and they’ll tell you that a mindset of wealth is built on growth and expansion, not shrinking and cutting corners. So if you want to build wealth, the end has to be in the means.
Rather than thinking, “Where can I cut back?” or “What can I get rid of?”, I suggest asking, “How can I earn more?” “How can I build my skill set?” “How can I add more value?” These questions will not only lead to more money in the long run but to a mindset that is built for expecting and enjoying more along the way.
Additionally, if you’re cutting out your favorite treats — like a simple latte or even a haircut — you’re sucking the joy out of your life. Any social psychologist would agree that when you tell yourself you can’t have something, you wind up wanting it 10x more. The minute you tell yourself you can’t have the coffee or the movie ticket — whatever it is for you — is the minute you’re setting yourself up to binge on it in the future.
Instead, allow yourself to have the little luxuries that add joy to your life while setting yourself up for success by building your skills and creating ways to make 10, 20, or even 50%+ more than you do now. The amount you wind up earning will far surpass how much you would have “saved” if you’d skipped the latte or the avocado toast.”
6. Building Credit Is a Top Priority
So much emphasis is placed on credit scores that you may be surprised to know that there are times when a healthy credit score won’t be your top priority.
Shawn Paul Wood of Accredited Debt Relief points out that building your credit score is not a top priority if you are focusing on resolving your debt:
You Have a Debt Problem, Not a Credit Score Problem
“You won’t take on new debt or borrow any money until your debt is resolved. A credit score (also known as a FICO score) is essential to building your financial standing, but you must resolve your debt first. A better credit score will happen as you manage your debt and build a healthy relationship with your finances. Likewise, you will save your money in the long run and give your budget the breathing room necessary to establish good financial habits that will positively impact your creditworthiness.”
7. You Must Have Life Insurance
Life Insurance may not be necessary for everyone. People who have accumulated enough wealth and assets to care for their own and their loved one’s needs independently in the event of their death can usually forgo paying for life insurance, especially if it’s a term policy.
Jay Zigmont, Ph.D., CFP, Founder, Childfree Wealth, says:
If You Are Childfree, Life Insurance Is Probably Not Necessary
“The common rule is that you need 10-12x your salary in life insurance. If you are Childfree, chances are that no one is relying on your income after you pass, so you may be able to pass on life insurance.”
Financial Advice Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
The most important thing to remember when following financial advice and making financial decisions is that your circumstances are unique to you. Always consider your needs first, and it’s ok to ignore advice if it doesn’t apply to you and your situation.