April Fool's Day is a time for harmless practical jokes, laughing and light-hearted good fun, as long as it isn't at your financial expense.
This April Fool's Day is a time to consider what you base your financial decisions upon, according to M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. To that end, the company is busting five financial myths that will help you make better choices with your money.
"Making wise financial decisions is no joking matter," says Tim Massey, Indiana regional president, M&I. "We work with our customers to separate myth from reality when it comes to determining how to best handle your finances."
Massey recommends avoiding these common myths.
Myth 1: Cost of living will go down when you retire. There are many expenses after retirement age that people don't take into account when planning for the future. Mortgage payments, hospital visits, medical care for your parents, and even grandchildren can add significant expenses to your life. Plan ahead for retirement and meet with your financial advisor to get a better understanding of how much money you should be saving to enjoy your golden years.
Myth 2: Closing unused credit cards will help your credit score. It is a great idea to pay down credit card debt but closing unused credit cards may not be the solution. If you have unused credit cards in good standing, they can reflect positively on your credit history and could benefit you in the future.
Myth 3: Anticipating the next "big thing" is the key to earning high returns. Studies have shown that the right mix of investments, stocks, bonds and cash that fit your individual goals, time frame, risk tolerance, and risk capacity can lead to a more lucrative return.
Myth 4: Always get a fixed mortgage rate. There are many types of mortgages and a personal banker can help determine the right product for your situation. For a person planning to move before the rate is up, an adjustable rate mortgage can save money every month. Review all your mortgage options before making a decision.
Myth 5: Financial planning is for the wealthy. Financial planning is not just for people with large amounts of money to invest. A financial planner can help you create a budget for daily expenses, invest in retirement, or help prepare a family for educational expenses. A financial advisor will assist with all your planning needs.
Take charge of your financial future. Before making any major financial decisions, know all of the facts. Researching beforehand and asking for an expert's opinion can make your process that much easier.
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida.
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