Little things can cause you as much pain as the bigger things in life – maybe even more. Whether it is a small stone stuck in your shoe or a recurring fee levied on your bank account, little things can really add up, especially if you continuously ignore them.
Here are five seemingly small financial mistakes that could harm you in the long term:
Small Fees Add Up
One-time fees like a $3 out of network ATM charge or a $15 service charge made on your account for an online ticket purchase wouldn’t necessarily wreak havoc on your account. They may not seem like much at the time, but if these fees are frequent, then they add up and can really cause a drain on your bank account.
Paying Bills Late
If you pay your bills even a few days late, then you run the risk of incurring a penalty late fee. If you pay your credit card late, your company can impose a penalty APR, which is usually much higher than your regularAPR. It is in your best interest to make sure that you are paying your bills on time every month, so you can boost your credit score and gain access to better interest rates in the future.
Payment history has a big influence on your credit score. If your payments are 30 days or more past due, it can cost you more than a penalty fee. A late payment will lower your credit score. If you’re trying to apply for new credit, you’ll likely end up with higher interest rates. This can cost you thousands of more dollars in the long-run, especially on a large loan like a mortgage.
If you forget to pay your bills on time each month, then you can set them to auto-pay. That way you can avoid late fees, penalty APR, and late payments on your credit reports.
Not Saving for Retirement
Many people, especially younger generations, aren’t saving for retirement. But the putting off saving for retirement is a mistake you want to avoid making. So, where do you start?
Many employers offer and match contributions you make to a 401(k) plan. If you’re not investing in one, then you should start now. Otherwise, when it’s time to retire, you’ll find yourself struggling financially. Besides, if you’re not contributing to a 401(k) that your employer contributes to, then you’re basically throwing away free money!
Leaving Money in an Old Retirement Plan
When you change jobs, you lose your employer’s benefits. This includes 401(k)s and other retirement plans. The good news is, you can take retirement accounts with you when you leave a job. Many people don’t do this, so they lose out on what they’ve already invested. Some options are to roll your old 401(k) to your new employer or transfer it to an IRA. That way, you can keep track of your retirement account and continue to watch it grow.
Not Paying Your Credit Card Debts in Full
Credit cards can be a great way to earn rewards, like cash back or airline miles. You do need to make sure you use them responsibly though. Research shows that the average American has over $16,000 in credit card debt. With that much debt, it can be difficult to pay down your entire balance each month. Many Americans are just paying the minimum each month. This costs a lot in interest in the long-run. Not only that, but it can take years to pay these balances off.
To avoid this, you should make sure you’re only spending what you can pay back at the end of the month. That way you’re not carrying balances or paying interest. If you don’t think you’ll have the money pay your credit card in full, then it may be best not to use your credit card.
Carrying debt can also impact your credit score. A higher utilization can knock your score down. Again, this can cost you money in interest rates, especially when applying for new credit.
Remember, when it comes to your finances, little things can add up. If you’re money disappears each month, it may be time to re-evaluate your finances to see what you can do to save money. Also, remember that your credit score plays a big part in your finances. Check two of your free credit scores today with Credit.com.