Many people only visit a financial planner when they begin to think about planning for retirement and unfortunately by that time they have usually racked up a few avoidable financial regrets.

Some of these include:

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When it comes to property, the timing of the purchase can be a big factor. Some people regret not buying a house sooner; not waiting until they had a 20% deposit saved; or buying/not buying during times of change in the property market. Renovations and fixer-uppers can also feature on the regrets list due to the costs involved, over-capitalisation or poor workmanship. Investing in a holiday house or timeshare that was never used can also be a source of regret. Other regrets are often related to buying property based on an ideal or romantic notion such as a tree-change or sea-change only to find it’s not really your thing and you are too far away from family and friends. Buying an unsuitable house, hoping you will adjust to it and then selling it soon after because it is too small, to far from work or doesn’t fit the family.

Personal loans and credit cards

Having a credit card or applying for a personal loan and not understanding the implications if you do not meet the minimum repayments, the high interest rates and what it can mean for your credit rating if your payments are even a little late.

Education

A number of people have regrets around education. These can range from not going to university when they were young resulting in reduced earning capacity to others regretting spending money on degrees and courses that they either didn’t finish or never used.

Weddings and honeymoons

The amount of money spent on a lavish wedding and honeymoon.

Cars, boats and caravans

A lot of people regret the money they have spent on motor vehicles, from buying new cars to adding expensive mag wheels and stereo systems, to leasing cars and salary sacrificing them. The same applies to boats, caravans, jet skis and other toys.

Relationships   

The break-down of relationships cause not only emotional pain, they can cause financial pain. Divorce, marrying someone with a lot of debt, co-signing loans or trusting a partner to manage the household finances can be a source of financial regret.  Lending money to family members, grown children or friends can also cause problems.

Insurance

Being underinsured or letting insurances lapse and then having to deal with the consequences when something goes wrong like a car accident, theft, fire, or worse….. a long-term inability to work due to illness.

Starting late

Many people, as they near retirement age, wish they had been more financially savvy when they were younger, saving earlier and putting money into superannuation rather than blowing everything they earned in the first few years of their working life. Retirement seems a long time away in your 30’s and 40’s then before you know it a couple of decades have flown past and it’s staring you in the face.

Baby gear

Many parents wish they had curbed their spending on expensive toys and baby equipment when their children were very young as it is only used very briefly. 

Windfalls

Occasionally, there are unexpected financial windfalls such as lottery wins, redundancy payments, inheritances or insurance payments. Instead of investing wisely, these larger payouts are often wasted with nothing to show for it.

Employment and business

Unfortunately, some employers don’t always do the right thing which is why it’s important to check that your super has been paid by your employer. If your income is mainly from contracting or you are self-employed, paying yourself super should be a priority.  Self-employment also comes with a number of financial risks, which is why it is so important to separate your business from your personal finances.

Health

In your 50s and 60s all the bad habits from your youth come home to roost. Smoking, alcohol, diet and exercise habits can affect how much you will be spending on chronic health conditions later in life.  Other health regrets tend to be the expensive fad diets, gym memberships and exercise equipment that never got used.

Preparing for emergencies

A frequent regret is not saving for a rainy day when you have the chance, thinking your job will be secure and not preparing for financial loss or difficulty.

Proper financial advice

Many people regret relying on recommendations from friends and family rather than consulting a professional financial advisor when purchasing shares or investing in property.

To avoid having financial regrets as you near retirement age, speak to a financial advisor who can help you to set in place a wealth creation strategy so that you can have a lifestyle by design rather than default. 

 

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