A survey of America’s self-confessed money mistakes warned us against making said mistakes. The survey, by Finder.com, a comparison site for credit cards and other financial products, found that in a recent poll that over half of people surveyed regretted at least one of these money moves.
Here is a breakdown of the top errors, along with all the data that you can use to scare yourself into not making the same mistakes:
21 percent regret not finishing their education You know that student debt has reached federal crisis level, with the average student this year graduating with about $35,000 in loans. Those with debt but no degree are more than likely to default (read more about this nightmare at USAToday). Meanwhile, weekly income for people with a college degree is nearly double that of those with a high school diploma only, at $1,193.
Takeaway: If you go to school, finish school. If you’re not sure about a path of study, or have interests outside of traditional academia, check out technical and community college programs that have a high ROI post-grad, like those listed here.
19 percent regret letting your partner control the finances I wish there were details behind this survey result — like, are these respondents married or divorced? It doesn’t surprise me, as money fights are the top predictor of divorce, according to University of Kansas researchers. This finding also plays into research about marriage and careers. One of my favorite statistics that supports my own admonishment that women must at all cost maintain their careers and earning power: In their book, Getting to 50/50, Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober report that a marriage in which both parties earn about the same and do about the same amount of housework and childcare have a chance of divorce 48 percent lower than average.
And then there is the obvious statistic that should scare everyone into maintaining control of your own money: Divorce. For decades and decades, divorce rates have hovered around 50 percent. Why do you think your marriage is immune?
Takeaway: You’re an adult, you have your own money. Earn your own money, and maintain control of your own money. Whether you and your partner have totally or semi-separate accounts, know at all times how much you have coming in, what is going out what you owe, and what your financial future looks like.
12 percent having children Again, I wish I could talk to each of these respondents! Is it that they had the kids, then realized how freaking expensive they are? Or that they got accidentally knocked up, and found themselves straddled with an money-sucking human for 18 years minimum? Bottom line: Kids are pricey, costing about a $250,000 for a baby born today, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture .
Takeaway: One, birth control, people. Two, immediately toss any Pottery Barn Kids and American Girl Doll catalogs before any member of your family can open them. Then, forego pricey mommy-and-me music and and baby sign language classes. Think very seriously about private violin classes for any untalented child under age 12 and think very, very critically about college plans.
9 percent paying too much for a wedding Skipping straight to the takeaway for this one: You have a really excellent chance of getting divorced. If you are like most Americans, you have a ton of student and credit card debt, no emergency fund and are behind on retirement savings. These are just the facts. Another fact: The average U.S. wedding costs $31,213, according to TheKnot.com. Unless you are royalty, have all the cash on hand while meeting all reasonable financial milestones, or can legitimately write off most of the affair as a business networking expense, go to city hall and invite your friends and family over for a barbecue.
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Original article and photo courtesy of Forbes.com.