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Most likely, you’re sitting down to make your goals for 2024. Some of these might be related to your finances.
Are there some mistakes you made moneywise that you hope stay in 2023? You’re not alone. In fact, some of the regrets you had about money this past year are probably shared with other people.
GOBankingRates reached out to financial advisors to learn which regrets were most common in 2023. Here are the regrets that topped the list.
Buying a Home at the Peak of the Market
According to Tammy Trenta, founder and CEO at Family Financial, “Making the decision to purchase a home at the peak of the market in 2023, when interest rates were also at their highest, could be the biggest money mistake, depending on where you live.”
Nationally, inventory for homes was low, which meant prices went up in 2023. Now, inventory is growing, but not at a very fast pace. So more than likely, prices will continue to stay high.
That is actually good news overall for people who bought homes at the peak of the market in 2023. Home prices are still projected to rise in 2024 nationwide.
However, if values starting to decline in the area you bought a home, and you have a variable interest rate mortgage, Trenta says you want to be prepared in case your home starts to exceed what you had budgeted for.
“If the real estate market experiences a significant decline, your equity could be eroded to the point where you might not have sufficient equity in the property to be able to refinance and take advantage of lower interest rates if or when that happens,” said Trenta.
“If you find yourself among this group, my best advice is to make sure you have six months of emergency savings to meet living expenses. This will give you time to evaluate your options and next steps.”
Accruing Credit Card Debt
With inflation being the word on everybody’s lips last year, it’s not surprising that you would have used your credit card more than intended. However, carrying a balance from month to month can harm your credit.
“In an inflationary environment, it’s crucial to be mindful of increased leverage, rising credit card balances and variable rate debt,” Trenta advised.
Going into 2024, Trenta says you should try to prioritize paying off your cards by creating a budget that allows you to pay more than the minimum payment.
Not Putting Money Into Roth IRAs
In 2023, you were eligible to put $6,500 into your Roth IRA if you were under 50, and $7,500 if you’re 50 or older.
Laura Redfern, a certified financial planner (CFP) and transitionist at Shadowridge Asset Management LLC, says not putting money into these accounts for the tax year of 2023 is leaving money on the table for your retirement.
“Roth assets generally grow tax-free, which can be a huge benefit in retirement,” Redfern said. “Since we saw a strong market in 2023, investors are seeing the growth potential in their accounts now. But if those accounts are all tax-deferred, they’re creating a potential tax time bomb.”
The good news is you still have time to put money into your Roth IRA until you file your taxes.
“The IRS gives you until you file your tax return (April 15, 2024 in most cases) to make a Roth IRA contribution for the prior year,” added Redfern. “Just be aware of the income limits. If you are a high-earner, you may have to do a ‘backdoor contribution’ rather than a regular contribution. It takes a few extra steps, but don’t let that stop you. It’s totally doable.”
Investing Too Conservatively
Like Redfern mentioned, the 2023 market was strong, but if you were one of the investors that held off investing after the disappointing 2022 market, you missed out on big gains.
“Some investors’ risk tolerance was stretched to the limit. But if you cashed out in December 2022 and stayed there, unfortunately, you locked in those losses and missed a year of great returns,” Redfern said.
Redfern says it’s all about being comfortable with how you invest your money, then keeping it wherever you invest.
“For example, if you can’t tolerate the ups and downs of a buy-and-hold style, look into different strategies that offer defense in rough times,” she explained. “And remember you don’t have to go this alone. Reaching out to someone like a financial advisor can help you gain perspective before making big decisions.”
Falling For Scams
Tom Kennedy, CFP and managing partner at Global Wealth Advisors, had a client who lost a lot of money because of a scam.
“Unfortunately, a client was scammed out of several thousand dollars when they mistakenly gave out personal information during a day when they were too busy at the office to pay close attention to the text they received from a scammer posing as their bank.”
Kennedy advises people to be careful and do some research before giving out your personal information.
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