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Big money traps and how to avoid them

comp:00005101b855:0000000387:2d54 0 <div class="the-content clearfix"><p><em><a href="http://www.zillow.com/blog/files/2013/01/Money-trap.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-109395" title="Money trap" src="http://www.zillow.com/blog/files/2013/01/Money-trap-300x225.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="225" /></a>Our friends at <a href="http://www.learnvest.com/" target="_blank">LearnVest</a> offer sound financial tips and advice for every aspect of life. Check out this post on common money mistakes people make and how to avoid them.</em></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;">You pack your lunch and never buy items at full price. You pay your credit card on time every month and save up for that much-needed vacation every year.</span></p> <p>If you’re doing these things, you’re likely on top of your finances. But a new year is always a good time for a new challenge — and we have one for you: In 2013, vow to take your finances to the next level.</p> <p>How? By learning from the pros.</p> <p>The Certified Financial Planners (CFPs®) at LearnVest Planning Services have seen the fiscal situations of a lot of people. They know which mistakes people are likely to make, and they know the best ways to fix them.</p> <p>So we’ve turned their collective wisdom into a must-read guide for turning 2013 into your best money year yet. Read on to find out what exactly not to do — and how not to do it.</p> <h3>Money mistake No. 1: Not saving for retirement when you’re employed</h3> <p>It’s easy to come up with excuses for not saving for retirement. But you should be saving for retirement whenever you’re making money because there will be a time when you won’t be making any money — but you’ll still have to support yourself then. This means that part of every dollar you earn during your working years should go toward funding your non-working years.</p> <p>If your company doesn&#8217;t offer a retirement savings program, open an IRA. If your company offers a plan, but doesn&#8217;t match, use these flow charts (<a href="http://5684-learnvest.voxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/082712_retireflow-single2.png">single</a> or <a href="http://5684-learnvest.voxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/082712_retireflow-married2.png" target="_blank">married</a>) to see how best to allocate your retirement money. Choose the chart according to your tax filing status.</p> <h3>Money mistake No. 2: Not having a game plan for getting out of debt</h3> <p>Don’t let that little voice tell you, “My credit card debt isn’t as bad as my friend’s debt.” And slap your wrist when you think, “I’ll just pay whatever I can this month.”</p> <p>These are the kinds of rationalizations that “enable” people not to get out of debt. So if any of these thoughts have crossed your mind, get yourself a plan to get out of debt immediately. The top three steps to take:</p> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;">Make sure you aren’t spending more than you earn.</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;">Decide how much you’ll put toward your debt payments each month — and stick to it.</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;">Figure out your deadline — i.e., the moment when, because you&#8217;ve stuck to your plan, you’ll be debt-free.</span></li> </ul> <p><strong style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;">Read about 11 more common money mistakes at <a href="http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/the-13-biggest-money-mistakes-people-make-and-how-to-avoid-them/" target="_blank">LearnVest</a>.</strong></p> <p><strong>More From LearnVest:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;" href="http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/10-ways-your-budget-needs-to-change-in-2013/" target="_blank">10 Ways Your Budget Needs to Change in 2013</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/40-or-older-you-can-still-whip-your-finances-into-shape/">40 or Older? You Can Still Whip Your Finances Into Shape</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/how-the-right-budget-can-help-you-achieve-your-goals/" target="_blank">How the Right Budget Can Help You Achieve Your Goals</a></li> </ul> <p><em>This post originally appeared on <a href="http://www.learnvest.com/">LearnVest.com</a> on Jan. 8 and was written by <em><a href="http://www.learnvest.com/author/laura/">Laura Shin</a></em> . <em>It is republished here with permission from LearnVest.</em><br /> </em></p> <p><em>Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.</em></p> </div>
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