When it comes to personal finance, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. That’s why money misconceptions can be so d dangerous. Here are four common money myths you may have heard — and perhaps even believe — that need to be put to rest once and for all.

Myth #1: All Debt is Bad

Reality: Few people could afford to buy a home if they didn’t have a mortgage. You might not have gone to college without taking out a student loan. Instead of avoiding all debt, make sure you have a plan to pay it off by addressing high-interest loans first.

Myth #2: Avoid All Credit Cards

Reality: Credit cards offer flexibility that cash and debit cards can’t. Most credit card companies offer zero liability for fraudulent transactions, while most debit cards have little protections if you find the fraud after a certain date.

Plus, you can earn extras through your credit card rewards, such as airline miles for your retirement travel plans. Instead of nixing credit cards, plan to pay back the balance in full each month, avoiding the high interest charges.

Myth #3: You Can Time the Market

Reality: There are many factors that influence day-to-day stock moves — the unpredictable news cycle, the economy, business decisions, rates and regulation — just to name a few. This why timing the market is so challenging, even for professional traders. While someone might get it right once, in order to end up ahead, studies have found one would need to guess correctly more than 65 percent of the time.¹

While only a handful of professional investors manage peak stock performance each year, the average investor’s chances are nearly microscopic. Meanwhile, you lose out on gains if your money sits on the sidelines while you seek the perfect moment to play. Stock markets are notoriously unpredictable in the short term and they should not drive investment strategy for most investors.

Myth #4: Pay Off Your Debt Before Saving for Retirement

Reality: If the interest on a loan is 3.5 percent, but the expected return in the market is 5 percent, then consider adding funds to your retirement account, since you’re making more than the loan costs. You could lose out on opportunities, like the benefits of compound interest, if you’re only focused on debt repayment.

Myth #5: You Do Not Need a Financial Advisor

Reality: Many believe that a financial advisor’s only job is to beat the market. And you’re doing just fine.

To believe that would be to miss the main point of why it’s helpful to have a professional in your money corner. At its core, a financial advisor’s job is to keep you on track toward your financial goals. Whether it’s retirement planning, saving for college or meeting other goals, an advisor can help you determine how to approach some of life’s biggest financial decisions. With a trusted advisor, you can feel more confident regarding your financial future.

1585 Kapiolani Blvd., Ste. 1100, Honolulu, HI 96814
808-952-1222, ext. 1240 | michael.w.yee@ampf.com
Michael W. K. Yee, CFP®, CFS®, CLTC, CRPC ®, is a Private Wealth Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Honolulu, HI. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 35 years.
Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.

¹Morningstar Investment Workbook: “Waiting or Market Timing”

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