Five financial mistake that I have made, eek

Cara Brett 11 November 2013

I pride myself in practising what I preach when it comes to finances and financial planning. How much of an authority could I be on the subject if I didn’t? Prior to my financial planning career however, and maybe even in the early days I have made a few financial mistakes that I thought I would share with you, because hey, we have all been there.

So, this blog post is opening up my financial ‘embarrassing moments’ hopefully to show you that everybody does these things, and as long as we can all learn from them, we will be better in the long run. (Well hopefully!)

1. Not keeping accurate records for my tax – Yes I know, I should be better at this, and I must admit I am now, but I didn’t always have an epic financial spreadsheet and organised files. I have most definitely lost substantial tax deductions in the past that would have reduced the amount of tax I paid. Unless you have an accountant, you probably aren’t even aware of some of things you can actually claim on tax.

Lost Money: Approximately $1,000

2. Not asking for a discount – To be honest, I am not huge on confrontation, but you can negotiate just about anything, especially the big purchases. Jewelry, white goods, home and car insurance, electronics, cars and houses should all be negotiated. I am sure I could have saved thousands over the years if I had been more forward in my earlier days. Luckily for me, I now have a husband who prides himself on his negotiation skills so I don’t have to do as much of the heavy lifting in that department anymore.

The worst they can do is say no, so you may as well ask.

Lost Money: At a minimum: $5,000

3. Not rolling over my super sooner – It embarrasses me to say, that I too at one time, had several super funds burning through all my super on fees. I think I had 3 at one time, and obviously figured out that the longer I leave it, the more money I am giving away to these super funds. I was probably more interested in happy hour on a Friday night than amalgamating my super at that point. In fact it is probably still more appealing.

Lost Money: Approximately $500

4. Being too fair – I have previously asked for a pay rise based on what I thought was fair and I didn’t play the negotiation game. I should have gone in higher and eventually arrived at what my fair figure was.

Lost Money: Approximately $10,000

5. Rooky house purchasing – When buying our unit, we diligently checked our body corporate rates, the value of the sinking fund and the rates that were charged. One thing however we didn’t check or anticipate to be a problem was the water bill. For some reason, our water bill for our unit block is substantially higher than the Brisbane average. In fact, apparently my husband and I used more water than a family of 5. If I wasn’t so mad I would be impressed with myself.

Eventually after testing and several pluming visits the culprit was found and fixed but that is after 2 years of ridiculously high water bills.

When you are buying your home, units especially, ask to get the most recent copy of their water bill. It may seem a bit full on, but you need to know the consumption of the whole block. If your unit is not individually metered, you need to know that your neighbors aren’t keeping a live shark in their bathtub and racking up your bill.

Lost money: approximately $800 per year

So there you have it, based on the above I have potentially lost about $18,100 because I either didn’t know, didn’t ask, was lazy, wasn’t tough enough, or all of the above. We all have these situations, and probably will continue to, but knowledge is power, so the more you know, the better off you will be.

Have you got any financial blunders from your past?

– This post is from our resident senior financial planner, Cara Brett. Check out her details in our about us page.

Posted in: Financial Planning and Cara Brett

About the author: Cara Brett

Cara Brett proudly heads up Bounce Financial - founded in 2014 after a successful, decade-long career in the financial services industry. Cara’s experience encompasses both the financial product and financial advice sides. This gives her a comprehensive and holistic knowledge of all facets of financial planning.