Daily Circuit regular and financial adviser Ruth Hayden joined us to talk about memorable money mistakes and how to repair or avoid them. Some highlights of that conversation:
1. Negotiate a salary that recognizes your worth.
"The studies say that women are very pleased to be paid in appreciation. ... That's the learning that so many women have to make, which is: I need to come in and negotiate pay, make sure I'm clear and make sure they value me and I value me. And it's tough. ... The studies say that when women do that, they sometimes don't get the job because they are considered to be — what is the latest word? Bossy? ... We have to find a way to mentor each other on how to negotiate pay."
2. Be careful in accepting student loans.
"The challenge is, we are kind of in a pivot place right now. ... Because of the inflation in college, the amount of debt has increased; because of the recession, the jobs aren't there and the job salaries aren't there. I think the average now has gone from $28,000 to $35,000 in student-loan debt. Which is a lot of money, when a lot of these students, when they graduate, aren't even going to make that the first year. ... We have to approach college differently. The old model was, 'If they offer you money, take it, because if you don't take it, they're going to offer you less next year.' ... And now they're in a situation where they feel trapped by this debt, and we have to find a way to manage it. And, moving forward, we have to approach the choice of college differently."
3. Don't let your spouse lead you into a bad choice.
"That's such important learning, to go with your gut. ... The studies say that when there's this kind of stress, it turns on the couple and they end up getting divorced. ... Not only does the house go away, not only do you spend a decade trying to get out of debt ... but the relationship goes away because the stress, the relationship can't handle it. ... The core learning is: Pay attention to what you believe to be true. Don't let anyone change your mind."
4. Before cashing out a retirement fund in a crisis, get advice.
"When something looks like an easy out, check with someone else. Ask questions. Get more information. Because there probably is another way to deal with this that won't have such a high long-term price tag. But when people get afraid, and people get discouraged, they usually take the first option that they think of. And it isn't always the option that is going to serve them well long-term. ... When you think you have a solution, stop! Ask around. Read."
5. Beware the financial consequences of divorce.
"Of course, the real advice on that one is, be more careful when you pick to get married. It's not about never getting divorced, which is the biggest breaker of financial security. It's about, let's be more careful on the front end. Let's make sure that we're really a match. Let's make sure that we've really talked about what we need to talk about, and we're not just doing adolescent la-la stuff."
6. In a divorce, refinance the house.
"When you do a quit-claim deed, which in a divorce a lot of lawyers recommend, you are literally giving up ownership of the property itself, of the house. But if the mortgages have not been refinanced to get your name off — banks will not just take off your name, you have to refinance the mortgages — you now still own the debt without an asset. It's one of the biggest mistakes couples make."
What was the worst thing you've ever done with your cash? Share your stories on our blog or in the comments below.
LEARN MORE ABOUT FINANCIAL MISTAKES:
• 6 Worst Financial Mistakes And Why You Made Them
Your financial situation is a combination of every financial decision you've made up to this point. If you're like most, you have had very little or no coaching, so you're just learning as you go. (Investopedia)
• How to Prevent the 10 Most Common Money Mistakes
When financial advisers first meet with clients, they usually find a familiar set of money-losing miscues, from checking credit reports too infrequently (or not at all), paying too much for insurance, or buying stocks for the wrong reasons. (CNBC)