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Your Money Matters: Tips for avoiding common financial flubs

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John McNamara
McNamara Capital Investment Group LLC
7350 W. College Drive
Palos Heights
(708) 361-4100
www.mcnamaratag.com

Common Mistakes

Delayed Payments:
Make sure you stay organized and pay your bills on time. Whether it’s household bills or credit card payments, if you are paying late fees, you are throwing money away. Plus, late payments can hurt your credit score, which can result in higher interest rates and make it harder for you to get financing for purchases like a car or home. You may want to look into options like auto-pay to keep your payments consistently on time.

Overlooking Interest:
Here’s your wake up call. The average person in Illinois will pay more than $217,000 in interest in their lifetime (according to a January, 2015 report by Credit.com). That includes interest on credit cards, car and house loans. Build your payoff plan by putting all your debts in one place - how much you owe, the due date and minimum payment. Start by attacking the smallest balance - put as much toward that debt as you can afford, but continue to make minimum payments on all your debts. When you wipe that first one out, move on to the next. Paying off each balance will help you build momentum to carry you through.

Same-old Savings:
Many people still stick to the traditional checking and savings accounts through their bank. While it’s important to put money away in savings, usually the interest rates are very low. Consider investing some of your savings. There are a lot of options  out there, from annuities to a 401(k) or IRA. Talk to a trusted financial professional to determine which route best meets your goals.

Ignoring Upkeep:
A house is the single biggest purchase most of us will make in our lifetimes. Protect that investment by making home maintenance a priority. Think of your home just like your car - without regular upkeep, they lose value and could be headed for expensive repairs down the road. Keep up with projects such as checking the seals on your windows and doors, getting your chimney cleaned, air conditioning and/or furnace maintenance, changing air filters, etc.

Forgetting Retirement:
Everyone should be saving for retirement, no matter your age. For many people, that starts with a 401(k). I tell my clients to look at a 401(k) match as free money. If you aren’t contributing enough to get the free match from your employer, you are throwing money away. Ideally, we want to be saving at least 10% of our income for retirement - even if you are in your 20s. Having the money directly transferred will make it easier. Now that companies are moving away from pensions, planning for a secure retirement is up to you.