1. Accept admission to the most expensive college that accepts you even though you have no idea what your career will be or how much you’ll earn.
You are not doing yourself any favors by attending an expensive school that may saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans until you have a clue as to what you may be doing for a career. Until you find your passion, keep expenses in mind and consider a lower-cost university or community college and limit the amount of loans you secure.
2. Get married without checking your fiance’s credit report.
Show me yours and I’ll show you mine. I know it’s not very romantic, but neither is finding out you won’t be able to buy a home when you wanted because your spouse has horrible credit and a large debt load. Knowledge is power. You owe it to yourself (and your intended) to find out what financial situation you are marrying into before you say I DO.
3. Apply for a job without first checking your credit report.
Like it or not, many employers use the information contained in applicant credit reports as part of their selection process. You don’t want to be surprised by a question about your finances in an interview. Or worse, never get to be a finalist because of an inaccurate or explainable negative item from your credit report. Remember, 25 percent of all credit reports have errors!
4. Don’t save for emergencies because you can’t afford to.
This is an oldie but a goodie. No emergency savings means you are setting yourself up for debt. You can’t be the master of your finances if you don’t have a savings cushion in place.
5. Take out a payday loan just until you get paid next week.
The payday loan cycle is very hard to break. If you didn’t have the money for that unexpected expense this paycheck, why do you think you will have the money next paycheck? Look for alternatives to fund the expense such as selling something you don’t need or borrowing from a friend or family member.
6. Purchase a car with little or no money down.
Cars immediately depreciate in value by as much as 25 percent in the first year. Without a large down payment to compensate for depreciation, you’ll be upside down in your loan quicker than you can text JLM!
7. Co-sign a loan for a friend or relative to help them out.
Never, ever co-sign a loan unless you can afford to and want to make their payments for them, period! Unless, of course, you never want to speak to them again.