If you want to climb out of debt and save for the future, you'll need to start honestly assessing your financial situation. Start today by owning up to these five common financial lies:
'I'll pay back the money I've taken out of savings.'
If you have to tap into your savings because you don't have the money to buy something outright, whether it's a new TV or a pair of shoes, then you can't afford it. Moreover, if you can't afford it now, then chances are you won't be able to replace the cash that you've taken out of savings.
'I have time to save for retirement.'
Time is key. If you're 30, for example, and save 10 percent of your $50,000 salary in a tax-deferred account, you'll have $1.1 million by age 67, assuming a 6 percent rate of return and salary growth of 1.5 percent and including Social Security. If you get a late start at age 35, however, you'll only have $717,021 by age 67.
'I don't need to worry about my credit score.'
While you don't need to check your credit score or credit report every week, you should at least review them annually. Look for suspicious accounts and inaccurate reports of late payments. Resolving errors in your report can boost your credit score in a short period and make a big difference in the interest rate you're offered.
'The bank is the best place to keep my money.'
Using a savings account for an emergency fund is a sound choice. Unfortunately, many people put far too much money into low-interest savings accounts. Taking into consideration inflation, you're pretty much losing money. Instead of using a savings account, consider alternatives like money market accounts that pay higher rates.
'I won't be able to pay off my debt.'
As you mull over your budget, try to put additional money toward paying down your loans and debts. Also consider alternatives like transferring your current credit card debt to a card with a 0 percent introductory interest rate. But watch out for the transfer fee — some charge 3 percent of the card balance.