Thursdays are when we hear from the Other Guy (OG). Sit back and enjoy:
I recently stumbled across two interesting sites on longevity. Both www.livingto100.com and gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality accomplish the same task – they pose a litany of questions about your health, wealth, mental and spiritual well-being and use your inputs to predict how long you’ll live.
For the record, I’m planning on living until 135.
The questions these sites ask fall into two different categories: things you shouldn’t do to your body and things you should.
My unscientific analysis surmises that it’s generally a bad idea to:
c) avoid seat belts
d) have random sex with strangers (I know you think I’m kidding – but seriously, according to these two sites, it’s not a good idea. I can’t seem to imagine why…)
All this “research” started me thinking about financial longevity – what are the 4 stupidest things you can do with money that will kill your chances of a healthy financial life, no matter how well you try and recover in other areas? Can we draw some parallels? If we’re smart enough to show you the Top 7 Financial Hacks to Avoid, we can surely pull together the four worst ways to train wreck your financial life.
Here’s my list:
1) Borrow money from your 401(k) or other retirement plan. Why? This is financially like smoking 3 packs a day. Stop doing this. “But, O.G., I’m paying myself back with interest!!” Right. You’re paying yourself back these pre-tax dollars with after-tax money. Don’t get me started on the arithmatic of how much you’ll pay.
2) Rack up credit cards and roll the balances into your mortgage. Obviously this isn’t as common as it used to be, but it’s still happening. Paying 2.99% for a J Crew sweater for the next 30 years is freaking dumb. This is like having six Jack and Cokes a day. Your liver isn’t going to quit tomorrow, but it’s not there to crank through your whiskey addiction at 6 ounces a night either.
3) Not paying attention to your lifestyle costs relative to portfolio value. This has come up in my practice a number of times recently. I don’t care how much money you have – you simply cannot withdrawal $100,000 per year from a $1,000,000 portfolio forever, even if David Copperfield is your buddy. It’s simple mathematics. It won’t last forever. Be conservative. Wear a seatbelt – and go slow.
4) Scattering money with no clear and coherent plan or direction. You guessed it – this is like putting your…well you get the idea. You’re not in college anymore. It’s time to settle down and put all your stuff in one place.
That’s my fantastic four, or fabulous four, or fashionable four, or…well you get the idea. What are yours? I’m curious: what’s the top financial mistake you’ve seen that will submarine an entire financial plan?