A worldwide survey conducted by UK-based Nielsen Holdings plc in 2015 reveals some startling statistics: 11 percent of respondents in US and North America said, they have no spare cash at the end of a financial year.
About 23 percent respondents in the Middle East, 18 percent in Europe, 17 percent in South America and five percent in Asia also said they were unable to save anything significant during any year.
The ‘Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions,’ was done between November 2, 2015 and November 25, 2015.
Over 30,000 online consumers in 61 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa and North America were quizzed by the company as part of this survey.
Low Savings Causes
There are several reasons for people in the US and elsewhere having lower savings. The main culprit is prioritizing issues like buying or enhancing a home, entertainment, expenses on holidays and vacations, spending on new clothes and jewelry and investment in new technology such as latest smart-phones and electronics.
Unfortunately, the main culprit remains mistakes that laypersons make while investing their money.
As interest rates worldwide tend to slide downwards, we take a look at eight top money mistakes to avoid in 2018.
Mistake-1: Reckless Spending
Understandably, nobody wishes to waste money knowingly. However, we inadvertently end up spending recklessly directly or indirectly. Reckless spending occurs in various areas:
Unpaid amounts on credit cards attract extremely high interest rates. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid buying on credit cards. And if using one is inevitable, try settle to entire amount during at the earliest-preferably as soon as the statement arrives.
Every online store offers highly discounted stuff round the year. Additionally, they launch festive offers and promotions to entice buyers and encourage spending.
Often, you would end up buying stuff merely because it is available “cheap” as compared with the local market. Invariably, you may have limited uses for your purchases or end up hoarding products you seldom use.
They account for the highest spending. Before investing in the latest generation of smart-phones, study the various features and determine whether you actually require them. Usually, most consumers are unaware about the benefits of new technology.
Hence, they end up spending on newest smart-phones without being able to fully utilize the latest technology. The same holds true for other electronic gadgets and home appliances.
Mistake-2: Lacking Awareness of Financial Markets
Millions of people worldwide lack sufficient or sometimes basic knowledge about workings of the financial market. They end up investing money in traditional savings plans and schemes offered by banks and financial institutions, without knowing that better as well as safer options are available for earning higher returns.
Avoid this mistake and make your money work harder. You can invest safely in a variety of financial instruments.
These bonds are guaranteed by your government. Usually, they offer a much higher rate of interest when compared with traditional Term Deposits and regular saving schemes.
Invest part of your savings on government bonds. Look for the latest offerings, interest rates and other benefits they offer such as tax savings and hedging against economic downturns.
Buying a home is often a lifetime achievement, regardless of which part of the world you dwell. Understandably, owning a home means securing your future. However, most people ignore some basics while buying a house such as taxes n property, home insurance, mortgage rates, maintenance costs and transportation expenses. Look for these hidden expenses you will incur before you buy a house. Some of these costs can bleed your income.
Investing too much or too little in various kinds of insurance plans is a mistake you must avoid in 2018. Buying life, health and home insurance is fine. However, these policies come at premiums. Check whether the returns justify your investments. Also look for other plans that cover higher education of your kids.
Drawing a proper budget and some financial knowledge will help prevent over or under-investment in policies. Plan for your retirement and buy a good pension plan that can help you maintain your present lifestyle or upgrade it when regular income ceases.
Mistake-3: Making Late Investments
Most people falsely believe they can invest money in savings, stocks and other financial plans at later stage in life. This is a complete myth. Starting early is the master-key to save a great fortune that can help realize all your financial objectives. As soon as you begin earning, stash away a sizeable portion of your income and invest in various schemes.
This is a secure investment options where banks and financial institutions utilize your money to buy stocks. Depending upon your geographic location, mutual funds are available in three variants: High Risk, Medium Risk and Low Risk.
Generally, high risk MFs offer better returns since the fund managers will invest in new stocks and those whose rates swing wildly in the market.
You can make huge money if these stock prices rise and lose if there are downfalls. Low risk MFs are those where your money is invested in time tested and proven stocks, whose rates are somewhat stable. But profits can be low. Medium risk MFs are a blend of high and low risk stocks.
The earlier you subscribe to a pension plan, the lower your investment and higher the returns. Waiting to invest till you are 20 or lesser for buying a pension plan can cost your pocket dearly by taking away a sizeable chunk of your income.
When you buy a pension plan at younger age, your monthly contribution is fixed. It does not increase as you age. Hence, your outgoings will be minimal and will not have any impact on your wages or household income.
Building Financial Portfolio
The earlier in life you begin building your portfolio, better the chances of financial stability. A great financial portfolio consists of a number of options- Term Deposits, Pension Plans, Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds (Secure Investment Plans) and a variety of other investments.
Usually, your finances will witness a growth as you mature in age and career or business. This allows you to better service your financial portfolio by adding funds to investments that are making profits while procuring newer ones for personal enrichment.
Mistake-4: Avoiding Stocks, Other Markets
Most people are wary about investing on stocks, commodities and foreign currency markets. You can be justified to some extent for shunning these excellent modes of investing and making your money work to grow.
Stock markets are generally unpredictable and rank amongst the first casualties of any economic downturns. Despite, the biggest money mistake you can do in 2018 is avoiding stocks and other markets.
Depending upon your geographic location and local laws, you can invest in stock markets around the world. For example, American investors can easily put their money into stock exchanges in London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Hong Kong and a host of other countries.
The main reason for investing in foreign stock markets as well as those in your native land is hedging. Not every economy witnesses a sudden downturn. Hence, your stocks in a foreign land may fare better than those back home or the other way around. This way, your money remains protected against financial uncertainties that can rock the trade.
Commodity Exchanges worldwide deal in precious metal such as gold and silver, other elements such as copper and platinum as well as crude oil, food grain, oilseeds and loads of other stuff. Their prices fluctuate according to demand and supply principle that governs the market.
There are several commodity exchanges in the US as well as in countries in Europe, India and elsewhere. If permitted by local laws, you can safely invest in commodities exchange. Trading is not very dissimilar to that of stocks.
However, unlike stocks, commodities trade is more susceptible to other vagaries such as festive and wedding season, wars and conflicts, natural disasters and other elements, since price fluctuations are directly related to abundant or scarce supplies.
Since the last several years, online trading in foreign currencies is offered by very reputed financial institutions across the world. You can open an online account with any of these and trade.
Do not be wary of foreign currencies since they can help you make a financial killing with a small investment. You can begin with as low as US$ 100 or lesser in some countries. As rates of US Dollar, Japanese Yen, Euro and other currencies rise or fall, you can sell or buy.
Mistake-5: Not Diversifying Income
The year 2018 offers a lot of opportunities for diversifying income. Inflation rates around the world vary. However, they do take toll on a single income.
Hence, it makes great financial sense to avoid this money mistake in 2018. There are various ways to increase income or earn a livelihood, regardless whether you are employed or not. Here we explore some ways to get rich quickly in 2018.
Provides an excellent source of additional income. In 2018, you can shed inhibitions and enter network marketing. Utilize your social network, relatives and friends to promote and sell excellent products offered by leading companies around the world. This can be done in spare time and on weekends and holidays.
Network marketing, also called Multi Level Marketing (MLM) is a field open to all. The extra income you earn can be effectively utilized to build a financial portfolio for future of your family and self.
Another inhibition common to working class is starting a small business. Not venturing into a small business is yet another money mistake to avoid in 2018.
There are myriad choices of small businesses that can be started in any part of the world with little investment and your skills. Utilize your skills to the fullest to open a consultancy or offer products and services that are in demand in your area.
Surveys and Coupons:
Online surveys conducted by major organizations and free shopping vouchers are an excellent way to augment your income in 2018. It is myth that only economically weaker sections of the society patronize free shopping vouchers and indulge in online surveys.
Indeed, anyone with a decent income can also engage in these gainful activities in 2018. The money you earn or save by means of online surveys and free shopping vouchers can be diverted to high return investments.
Additionally, you can also get family members to take these surveys and avail free shopping vouchers or merchandise to save household expenses. This allows you to step up savings and divert surplus cash to investments.
Mistake-6: Overdependence on Office Jobs
Having a stable job and the accompanying income is fair enough. However, trends indicate that most organizations will reduce their dependence on office-based jobs.
The main reason for this is, higher cost of real estate required to open offices and expensive man-hours wasted on commutes. Depending on an office based job may be earning you lesser while costing you dearly. You can avoid this money mistake in 2018.
A survey by FlexJobs and figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate, between three and four percent of America’s labor force now works by telecommute. Meaning, they work from home or any other location of their choice. Additionally, projections are that telecommute jobs worldwide will increase by up to five percent by 2020.
There are several reasons for this: Companies are expanding into hitherto unexplored markets and opening offices is unfeasible. Secondly, employers in the US save on average US$ 11,000 by means of perks paid to telecommuters. Further, telecommuter staff saves average US$ 4,000 per year on transportation and vehicle maintenance, fuel and related expenses- that can be invested for future.
Also according to US government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of freelance workers in US stands between 55 and 60 million. This translates as one in every three employed American is a freelance worker. Sticking to an office job is fair enough.
However, a common mistake most skilled and qualified women and men make is, look down upon freelancing. Provided you possess certain skills, freelancing can prove a more viable and financially sound option as compared with a desk-bound job. Short, medium and long-term projects for work are available easily.
Millions of workers worldwide are scared of relocating to foreign countries or cities outside their native land. This is another money mistake to avoid in 2018. Understandably, some nationalities are at a higher risk of attacks by terrorists and other criminals.
However, working abroad has inherent benefits such as tax free salaries in some countries, relocation allowances, extra pay for working in distant lands and perks including free housing. Additionally, you can also stash away money legally in offshore bank accounts, if permitted by laws of your native land.
There are several benefits offered to overseas workers by your government for investment and repatriation of funds. You can utilize those to get rich fast.
Mistake-7: Household Waste
By household waste we do not imply that you are merely throwing away garbage or surplus stuff. Domestic or household waste occurs in various ways, which cost precious money.
As stuff gets pricier and salaries remain somewhat stagnant, here are ways to reduce various types of household wastes in 2018. Money you save will be considerable by the end of the year and can be utilized for expanding your financial portfolio.
All countries in the world, regardless of their stage of development, waste enormous amounts of electric power. For example, India accounts for wasting between three and four billion units of electricity in a year. The biggest culprits for wasting this precious resource are households.
One of the biggest money mistakes to avoid in 2018 is wasting hard earned money on electricity utilized at your homes. Power costs are indubitably on upward swing worldwide. Switching off electric bulbs, appliances and other electronics when not in use is one way to save large amounts for investment.
Whopping 1.3 billion tons of perfectly edible food- cooked and raw- is wasted worldwide even as millions of people worldwide starve or remain undernourished.
Global warming leading to unpredictable weather is expected to send food costs rising worldwide. You can begin saving on food waste from your household in 2018.
The advent of Pay-Per-View channels, Direct-To-Home satellite TV and cable networks has led to an inadvertent waste of money in recent years. It is best to avoid this money mistake in 2018. Cancel subscriptions to all channels that your family seldom views.
TV networks have a deft manner of weaving packages that contain popular channels alongside those that are largely unviewed. Opt for cable, DTH and PPV channels that you frequently watch in 2018 to save costs and invest the surplus money.
Mistake-8: Unwanted Travel Expenses
Nobody denies that your family and you require holidays or the need to travel for business. However, travel expenses worldwide is rising thanks to a plethora of taxes, surcharges and other esoteric levies that airlines and transportation providers weave into ticket prices. For travel, you can avoid money mistakes in 2018 by following some simple tips.
Nowadays, Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) also called budget airlines are available in almost every country on Planet Earth. These airlines charge you lower fares for booking early by offering something called ‘early-bird discounts’ or similar terms.
Though LCCs do not serve complimentary meals, alcohol and other beverages, they offer fares that are at least 50 percent lower than Full Service Carriers. The only flipsides are: You may be unable to change the dates of travel sans paying extra and provide limited baggage allowance.
Also, some LCCs land at airports a bit further than your destination, meaning you need road or rail transport to reach the place. Despite, they help you save considerably on travel expenses. The money mistake to avoid in 2018 is making last minute reservations, unless expressly demanded by a situation or work.
Great online deals are offered by online travel agencies since competition to grab customers has become hot over the last few years. Explore various packages and options for travel, sightseeing, accommodation and business services offered by various websites, before making a choice.
However, remember to read the fine print clearly since heavily discounted packages may not allow cancellations or rescheduling of travel dates.
Holiday Saving Schemes
For some reason, holiday savings schemes offered by leading travel companies around the world remain undersubscribed. In 2018, you can avoid this money mistake and avail of a holiday savings scheme. Usually, holiday savings scheme means, you book a package to a destination of your choice for a fixed price.
Once booked, you pay its price in equal installments to the bank or travel company for a period of 11 months to one year. At the end of the payment period, you get the holiday package of your choice or can avail of others. Your investment fetches you attractive interest. This translates at enjoying your holiday at a much lower cost.
Importance of Savings
Banks and financial institutions worldwide are reluctant to lend money nowadays, unless you can provide collateral guarantee. Regardless whether you wish to open a small business, buy a home, get married, plan a vacation or need cash for medical treatment, money can be fairly difficult to find.
Given this scenario, one needs savings. According to various statistics, on average, an American household saves just US$ 1,000 per month. The highest savers are people in Europe.
Thanks to large salaries and benefits paid in the Middle East, countries like Qatar and the UAE also rank among those where people have higher savings, according to data compiled by Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Humans, by nature are prone to mistakes and errors. Making mistakes in money is very common among all nationalities. Spending patterns differ according to culture.
While people from some countries believe in splurging money to buy goods aimed at impressing others, there are other nationalities who believe in thrift and leading humbler lifestyles. Yet others are more prudent with their spending.
In 2018, you can avoid a lot of money mistakes and by the end of the year, possess a great financial portfolio consisting of various investments that not only make your money work hard, but also enable it to grow.