boy and dollars
Dan Orfin looks at 3 things young professionals waste money on
Despite current conversations concerning financial literacy, many younger individuals are struggling to effectively monitor their daily spending habits. In an age of comforts and conveniences, a high percentage of Millennials are overspending on non-essentials items and experiences.
According to Dan Orfin, the founder of insurance and retirement planning firm Orfin & Associates, here are three ways that young professionals undermine their financial power — and in some cases, put themselves on the road towards long-term money complications.
1. Overusing their credit cards
What makes credit cards so beneficial is also what makes them so dangerous: with a single tap, one can buy anything from a TV, to a flight, to a car and the list goes on. The upside of this is that there’s no need to wait weeks, months, or possibly years to save for coveted items or experiences. The downside is that treating credit cards like magic wands invariably and inevitably leads to regrettable purchases and punitive interest costs.
Dan Orfin believes that carrying a credit card balance should not be the norm. Although, he realizes there may be instances where this is unavoidable, such as needing unexpected car repairs. He further states that individuals should always have a comprehensive plan of action to pay off the remaining balance. A strategy may include consolidating the debt with another type of loan that has a lower cost of borrowing, or transferring balances from a higher interest credit card to a lower one – provided that there are no additional costs.
2. Making eating out the rule instead of the exception
A survey by Hloom revealed that the number one money-wasting activity by young professionals — and among mid-career and retired people as well, for that matter — is eating out. Not only is this habit usually bad for one’s waistline, but it’s also bad for one’s wallet. Research by Franchisehelp.org pegs the average fast food meal (e.g. McDonald’s, Burger King) at $6 per person, fast-casual meal (e.g. Chipotle, Panera, etc.) at $12 per person, casual meal (e.g. Appleby’s, Bob Evan’s, etc.) at $13.75 per person, and fine dining meal at around $70 per person — plus tip, of course.
Dan Orfin states that eating out once in a while is perfectly fine and enjoyable. But young professionals in particular have a tendency to each out several times a week or month, largely because it’s convenient, but also because it’s a core part of their social life. The key is to plan ahead and find alternative and more affordable ways to connect with others. For example, instead of meeting friends for dinner and each spending $30 or $40 by the time the night is over, maybe they get together for a coffee instead, which might cost each person $5 or $10 and yet be just as enjoyable.
3. Purchasing outside their budget
Many young professionals aspire to buy their dream car — or at least, a really impressive set of wheels — and live in a home that fills them with pride and joy. These goals are perfectly valid and worth being on the “Dream Board.” However, some young professionals jump the gun and end up buying too much car and/or home. As a result, instead of enjoying their prized possessions, they find themselves overwhelmed with payments and in some cases, facing repossession or foreclosure.
Commented Dan Orfin: young professionals absolutely need to have a robust, and regularly updated plan that covers every aspect of their financial life including earning, savings, spending and investing. Without this plan, they can be very susceptible to making purchase decisions that turn out to be regrettable instead of rewarding.