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worst financial mistakesAnyone can make a mistake. They're part of everyday life. Financial mistakes, however, can lead to problems for years to come if not corrected soon.

After talking to financial experts and others who have either experienced or seen other people make the worst financial mistakes of their lives, we compiled the following list of 25 of them. Many are common after graduating from college and starting a financial life on your own, but they can still happen to anyone at any age.

We should also note that these worst financial mistakes aren't listed in any order. We'll leave measuring their importance to you:

25 Worst Financial Mistakes

1. Not going to college

The average starting salary for a high school graduate is about $28,000. That figure almost doubles to $48,127 for college graduates in the class of 2014 with bachelor's degrees, according to a salary survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers. Starting your working life by being that far behind in pay is one of the worst financial mistakes you can make.

2. Not paying off student loans fast

The average student loan debt for a college graduate is $28,400, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

For a college grad who is earning some real money after four or more years of living like a student, it can be tempting to spend much of their new income before paying off debt. That's one of the worst financial mistakes a graduate can make, says Alfred Poor, a college speaker and author of books about problems young people are having in the workplace.

"If college graduates tighten their belts and lower their expectations, and live like they only have the high school diploma, they will rapidly pay off their average $27,000 in student loans," Poor says. "If they spend their whole salary on a more comfortable lifestyle, they could be struggling to pay off that debt for decades, and end up paying much more in interest."

3. Paying off student loans too quickly

Paying off student loans quickly can also have a downside, says Steven Fox, a financial planner in San Diego with NextGenFinancialPlanning.com. If they use all of their extra income paying off student loans, they could be in financial trouble if they don't put some in an emergency fund and lose their job or get in a car accident and have unexpected medical expenses, Fox says.

"They should really think about whether they should pay off their student loans as fast as they possibly can once they get their first job if it means that they're doing so at the expense of not saving or investing anything," he says. "Ending up with zero debt is good, but ending up with zero savings is very bad."

An emergency could lead to borrowing money at a higher rate than what they were paying on student loans, says Fox, who reminds graduates that student loan interest is tax deductible for up to $2,500 for individuals making $80,000 or less without having to itemize.

4. Using max credit card limit

"Just because a bank offers you a credit card that allows you to spend money doesn't mean you should," Fox says.

This goes for all debt, he says. Being approved for a $20,000 auto loan doesn't mean your budget for a car is $20,000. ...continue reading

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tutorWhen I attended college from 2009-2012, I was kind of a rarity, at least among my friends and classmates, because I worked my way through school. I've always had a job, ever since I turned 15, and when I was in college it was no different.

My first year I worked at the front desk in my dorm building, and after that I worked as a paid intern at a government office across town. Additionally, I held down a weekend job in a retail store to give me a little more spending money and to help pay my rent and other living expenses.

I considered myself lucky that my parents were able to help me pay my tuition for my first two years of college. But before my final year of college, the savings they had set aside for my education had run out and I was forced to take on a student loan to cover my tuition.

As I worked my way through school, I encountered people with lots of different opinions about whether or not college students should work during school. Today, I want to share those opinions and reasons with you and then I'd love to hear your opinion on the topic in the comment section too.

College Students Should NOT Work During School

Although I worked nearly full-time while also taking a full class load, I heard from a lot of people that college students should not work their way through school. One reason given to me was because college students should be focused on their education, not on working a job un-related to their future career.

On one hand I agree with this reasoning. I do think that many jobs are not worth the focus of a student if it means their grades will slip and they risk not finishing their education. However, there are students who would not be able to financially afford going to school without working during college. If they don't have financial support from their family or are not able to attain financial aid, working may be the only way they can continue attending college. ...continue reading

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There seems to be a new movement on the internet that focuses in on the nine to five being evil and something to shy away from, and entrepreneurship is being held on a pedestal.

In decades past, our parents were happy to work 9-5 jobs. In fact, they would hold on to one 9-5 for their entire careers. It was common to see somebody graduate from high school, get a job with a local company, and stay there until retirement. When they retired, they'd have a cushy company pension and would be making the maximum amount in their salary range.

Whether or not they were content or just stagnant is up for debate, but the nine to five was a societal norm; part of the North American dream, along with white picket fences and 2.5 children. Entrepreneurship had no place in the North American dream.

Times are changing, and entrepreneurship is now the American dream. Society has shifted views, and while the 2.5 children and white picket fence is still an ideal, the parents of those 2.5 children dream of working at home in their pajamas.

There is still something to be said for the nine to five, though.

Nine to Fivers Can Leave Work at Work

I hold down a day job, in an office. I am also a side entrepreneur.

If I start a project on my own, I have a hard time letting it go. I live and breath the project. This is true even for this blog; when I decided to start getting serious about developing it, I could never mentally shut my brain off. I come home and work on the blog, or blog related activities, until something pulls me away.

There is something to be said for being able to log off your office computer, ride the elevator downstairs, and forget about the papers that are piled up on your desk until Monday when you have to face them again.

A common complaint of entrepreneurs is the sheer volume of work that they do. When you are in it for yourself, you are much more consumed by the work.

Vacation Time

Desk jockeys have one huge advantage over people who work for themselves: they get paid vacation time. Even on vacation, entrepreneurs will often work (I know I do). Having stress free vacation time when you don't have to worry about any work at all is a benefit that not many people who work for themselves can enjoy.

My dad has owned his own company for my whole life, and we were never able to take a true vacation. Even when we'd go away, he would always have to answer his phone when it rang because it could be a potential client. He couldn't just log off his email, because what if somebody needed to contact him?

Working With People

Working with people is, frankly, impossible to avoid, even if you work for yourself.

However, working with co-workers and being part of a team is another benefit of the company workers.Building relationships with a set of humans that you likely would never have gotten to know had it not been for your workplace is powerful.

Working in a company can (if you work for the right company) foster a sense of community and a feeling that you are part of something.

Stability (of course)

Nothing is ever guaranteed, and any one of us could lose our jobs tomorrow. It is great to have the stability of a regular job, however. Every two weeks, the paycheck is deposited in the account, CPP already deducted off of the total; the Employment Insurance as a backup that we're so lucky to have in North America.

This isn't a reality for many people starting their own companies, at least at first. After awhile, when it has grown and had a chance to be built up, there may be more stability.

 

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and not everyone who wants to venture out on their own is going to be successful at it. It takes a certain amount of grit, determination, and the ability to form habits that propel you in the right direction to become a successful entrepreneur. It's rewarding as heck if you can swing it.

I'm a terrible example, because I do both. I have side businesses and I freelance, but I am also a desk jockey during the day.

If you are miserable in your nine to five and desperate to get out? Make a change. Start a side business. Start building it up before you give your notice.

Are you burning to start working for yourself? Or are you content with your employment?