100 Tips for 2011
10 deadly sins that lead thee to debt

Sin 5Skip building a savings "ark" 

When it comes to rainy days, Noah found out the hard way. Likewise, without a savings cushion to fall back on, unexpected expenses invariably end up on a credit card. Better to save six to 12 months' of living expenses in an emergency savings account. Then, when the car's air conditioner breaks down, you have a major medical expense or some other event clouds your skies, you have rescue funds available to float you through.
Sin 6Lie to your significant other about your spending 

Not only is lying about your spending a bad idea for your relationship, it can wreak havoc on your finances. For example, your significant other may hope to buy a home or take a trip soon. Those plans could be canceled because of your secret debt. Minimize the damage. Fess up before you get exposed.
Sin 7Deliver yourself into indentured student-hood 

It's not smart to take out huge student loans without knowing what career field you are going into or how much you'll earn. Defaulting can end up costing thousands and thousands of dollars. Before you borrow, know how you're going to pay it back. Also, be a sport and don't ask your parents to co-sign. See Sin No. 1.
Sin 8Drive upside down 

Texting and driving is bad. Driving a car that's worth less than the amount you owe is a close second. Your car depreciates immediately after you drive it off the lot. Without a big down payment, you will quickly become upside down on the car loan (owe more than the car is worth). So, if you buy a car and can't afford an adequate down payment, or if the monthly payment is a stretch, any change in your financial situation could put you immediately upside down and in default.
Sin 9Pray for better terms 

Using credit wisely allows us to buy items that we would have trouble paying for with cash, such as our homes and cars. However, if you can't qualify for a reasonable interest rate for a large item, don't just pray for help. Fix whatever credit problems you have yourself. Then you won't have to put your firstborn up for collateral.
Sin 10Risk your home and retirement 

The two most popular assets that people use for collateral to borrow against are their homes and their retirement accounts. Borrowing against these assets can put you in jeopardy. Do so only when necessary, and with a firm plan in place to pay the loan. Try to keep your mortgage loan to 80 percent or less of the home's value. Don't risk your retirement, because it will come whether you are ready for it or not.

<< Back to the 100 Tips for 2011.

News alert Create a news alert for "debt"


Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Debt Adviser

Don't be seduced by this debt plan

Dear Debt Adviser, I have about $50,000 of debt on credit cards. My credit rating is still high. I am thinking about a debt consolidation loan. Will that adversely affect my credit rating? -- DT Dear DT, The cliche... Read more


Connect with us