Avoid These Common Financial Mistakes: Insights from Experienced Financial Advisers

As experienced Financial Advisers, we have witnessed countless individuals and families fall into common financial pitfalls that can have a lasting impact on their financial well-being. From leaving cash in savings unlinked to their mortgage to neglecting retirement planning, these mistakes can hinder the achievement of long-term goals. In this article, we’ll delve into some of the most prevalent financial mistakes we often encounter and offer practical tips to help you avoid them, providing you with valuable insights from the perspective of seasoned professionals in the field.

1.       Leaving Cash in Savings Unlinked to Your Mortgage: One of the most frequent mistakes we come across is individuals leaving their cash in a regular savings account, disconnected from their mortgage. As Financial Advisers, we encourage clients to consider setting up an offset account or a revolving credit facility. By doing so, you can utilize your savings to offset your mortgage balance, effectively reducing the amount of interest you pay over time, while still maintaining easy access to your funds.


2.       Carrying Credit Card Debt: Credit cards can undoubtedly be convenient, but the trap lies in carrying a balance and not paying it off in full each month. This leads to the accumulation of high-interest debt, which can quickly spiral out of control. As seasoned professionals, we stress the importance of making it a priority to pay off your credit card balance entirely every month. Doing so not only helps you avoid unnecessary interest charges but also contributes positively to maintaining a healthy credit score.


3.       Financing Hire Purchases Outside of Your Mortgage: Another common mistake we often encounter is financing hire purchases, such as furniture or appliances, through agreements with high-interest rates. As Financial Advisers, we suggest considering other options like adding these purchases to your mortgage or utilizing your savings, which can help you steer clear of additional interest payments.


4.       Extending Car Loans Over 30 Years on Your Mortgage: While adding a car loan to your mortgage might seem like an attractive option due to lower interest rates, it can prove to be a financial blunder when spread over a 30-year loan term. As Financial Advisers, we recommend creating a separate home loan facility for your car with a shorter loan term while still having it on home loan interest rates.


5.       Neglecting Life Insurance: Life insurance is a fundamental aspect of financial planning, yet we frequently encounter individuals who lack adequate coverage. As Financial Advisers, we cannot stress enough the importance of having appropriate life insurance to provide financial security for your loved ones in the event of an unfortunate circumstance. Ensuring you have the right policy in place can prevent your family from being burdened with financial responsibilities during difficult times.


6.       Mismanaging Kiwisaver Contributions: Kiwisaver is an invaluable tool for retirement savings, but we often find that clients aren’t making the most of it. As experienced professionals, we advise reviewing your Kiwisaver regularly to ensure you are contributing enough and investing in the right fund that aligns with your risk tolerance and time horizon. Seeking advice from a qualified Financial Adviser can help optimize your Kiwisaver contributions for better long-term results.


7.       Lack of Retirement Planning: One of the gravest mistakes we observe is individuals reaching retirement age without a clear plan in place. As seasoned Financial Advisers, we advocate for starting your retirement planning early, diversifying your investments, and seeking professional guidance to create a comprehensive retirement plan tailored to your unique goals and circumstances.


8.       Not Overpaying Your Mortgage: Paying only the minimum required on your mortgage each month may seem manageable, but it often means paying more interest over time. To save on interest costs and become mortgage-free sooner, consider making additional payments or increasing your loan payments, when possible.


9.       No Budgeting in Place: Budgeting is the foundation of sound financial management. Unfortunately, many individuals overlook its significance. As Financial Advisers, we emphasize the importance of creating a budget to track expenses, identify potential savings opportunities, and accelerate your progress towards financial goals.


10.   Reviewing Accounts Regularly: Lastly, we encourage everyone to review their accounts periodically. Identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses, such as unused storage units, gym memberships, or media subscriptions that are no longer relevant to your current needs.


As Financial Advisers with vast experience in the field, we have witnessed these common financial mistakes lead individuals and families astray from their financial aspirations. By being aware of these pitfalls and implementing our practical tips, you can navigate the financial landscape with confidence and ensure a brighter, more secure future. Remember, seeking guidance from a qualified Financial Adviser can provide you with personalised strategies and help you make well-informed decisions for your financial journey.