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Bad Financial Decisions Plague 8 out of 10 People

[Saturday, January 4th, 2014]

When it comes to making poor decisions, finances top the list for the vast majority of people.

A poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) in November shows that people are much more confident in decisions they make concerning their marriages, jobs and health, compared with their financial choices.

The poll of 1,349 people asked whether their worst decisions involved their marriage, personal finances, health or jobs. Eighty percent said that personal finances were the worst, compared with 9% who regretted their marriage choice, 8% answered health, and 3% said job decisions were bad choices.

The road to better decision-making

The NFCC released a list of tips for people who feel they are prone to making poor financial decisions, including:

  • Track where your money is going. Find out how much you spend where so you can be in control of your spending.
  • Total up your debt. Make a list of balances, and how much interest you are paying on each one. Then total up the minimum payments due each month to see how much of your income is going toward credit card or other types of debt.
  • Break bad habits. Tracking where your money is going can be very helpful. If you know how much you’re spending on things like lottery tickets, vending machine treats and other impulse purchases, you can get control of these things.
  • Decide what services are worth paying for. Things like eating out, hiring household help or using an accountant to do your taxes are all good examples of things that can be reevaluated.
  • Look at all billing statements to figure out if the money spent was a good idea or not. Hindsight is 20/20 so review all your credit card and bank statements and decide whether you would make the same decisions again. Going forward, you may decide to make a different financial choice when you pay attention to where your money has gone.
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