#9. Betting on the lottery for retirement. You do know you’re more likely to be struck by lightning twice than win the lottery, don’t you? Why don’t you just take your five bucks, strike a match and set it on fire? Hey, would you feel like a winner if after years of playing the lottery you won $10,000? Sure you would. Stick your $5 a week in your TFSA, and you’ll accomplish the same thing.
#8. Borrowing on credit cards when you can’t pay off what you already owe. Only governments have the luxury of never having to deal with the debt! Broke Joes can stay broke and whine about it, putting their next wings-night-out-with-the-boys on credit, or get busy paying down their debt. First stop: the kitchen for a pair of scissors to cut up the cards so you aren’t tempted.
#7. Getting speeding and parking tickets. Really, you’re so rich you can afford to support your local police services quota?
#6. Loaning money to deadbeats. I can’t believe the number of people who lend their hard earned money to people who never pay them back. Are you such a sucker (or a sop) that you keep letting other people tap your wallet even though you know (com’on, you know!) they’ll never pay you back? Get a backbone and start practicing how to say, “No.”
#5. Counting on “future” income. You know that raise you’re banking on or the bonus that’s coming at the end of the quarter? You can’t count it until it’s money in the bank. People bank on pay increases and potential bonuses to justify spending money they haven’t earned yet. That’s how the buy-now-pay-later system got such traction. If you’re counting your chickens before they hatch, ask yourself this question: What’ll I do if those eggs break?
#4. Failing to file a tax return. It doesn’t take that long to file a tax return when you spend the $20 to buy the software program that does all the calculations for you. Think $20 is too much to pay to keep the tax man off your back? What about the interest and penalties you’ll end up paying because you procrastinated, or worse, were in total denial about your responsibility to report your income.
#3. Living in overdraft. Do you know that your bank can withdraw your overdraft privileges if you abuse them? Then what would you do? Transfer the debt to a credit card? Ouch! Yes, overdraft is debt if you’re into it. If it’s just sitting there to cover your butt, that’s fine. But if you live in overdraft, even for a few days every month, then you’re not managing your cash flow properly. And if you’re only in the black the couple of days a month when your pay is deposited, you’re begging for trouble.
#2. Paying bills late. Even if you miss your due date by just a couple of days, if it’s reported to the credit bureau it’ll affect your credit history and end up costing you big-time. And don’t think paying on the due date is good enough. Accept the reality that it may take several days for a payment to be processed. Pay your bills at least three days before the due date or you’re flirting with a late payment.
#1. Staying in or returning to school because you can’t find a job. As if life is never going to catch up with them, the professional student keeps racking up loans in the name of more education or a change in professional direction. Hey, more schooling is great if you end up earning more money. More schooling so you don’t have to deal with those whopping student loans you already have, or because you’re afraid of hitting the pavement, that’s just delusional.