5 unexpected money moves that pay off
Make the most of what you have with these unconventional tips.
While most good money advice — like living within your means and keeping low credit card balances — is intuitive, there are some unexpected or counterintuitive tips you might want to follow. Here are five surprising money moves that seem to go against the grain but can lead to more financial success.
1. Investing during market downturns is wise.
When the financial markets are down, it may seem unwise to invest. However, downturns are excellent opportunities to buy shares at much lower prices, like they’re on sale!
The best way to consistently invest, whether the markets are up or down, is by using a dollar-cost averaging strategy. You invest the same amount on a schedule, such as $100 weekly or $1,000 monthly. You’ll purchase more shares when prices are low and fewer when they’re high, smoothing out the impact of market volatility over time.
Whether investing through a workplace retirement account or a trading app, setting up automatic transfers is one of the best ways to build wealth. It ensures you consistently put money aside and leverage the power of dollar-cost averaging — even when the market dips.
2. Paying off your mortgage early isn’t always wise.
While it might seem like a great idea to be completely debt-free, investing extra money instead of accelerating mortgage payments could lead to more wealth in the long run, depending on your mortgage interest rate and potential investment returns.
For instance, if you have a low-rate mortgage, such as below 5%, it makes sense to invest your extra money where it could earn more than 5%. Plus, mortgage interest can be tax-deductible, allowing you to reduce your mortgage’s cost further. That makes it even more beneficial to pay on schedule and use your extra money to invest, build emergency savings or put toward higher-rate debt.
3. Renting may allow you to build wealth faster.
The conventional wisdom is that buying a home instead of renting is better because you build home equity. Homeownership can be an excellent long-term investment with potential price appreciation and tax benefits. However, becoming a homeowner isn’t the right move for everyone, depending on your goals and the housing market where you want to live.
In many cases, renting and investing the money you would have used for a down payment, closing costs, furnishings and home improvements is a wiser option. If you expect to move within a few years for work or other reasons, the costs of buying and selling a home typically outweigh the benefits of homeownership.
If you’re disciplined about investing, you might come out ahead by renting an affordable home and investing more than you would as a homeowner. Over the long term, your investment returns could outpace home appreciation.
4. Small savings can add up to massive results.
No matter if you can only save or invest small amounts, every little bit matters. Many people think they should wait until they earn more or have a windfall to start investing.
But little financial habits add up to significant results over time. So, the earlier you start saving and investing, the more time your money has to grow. Even if you can only save small amounts regularly, it can lead to significant long-term wealth.
5. Lazy investing is better than active trading.
Lazy or passive investing is a long-term, buy-and-hold strategy where investors purchase a diversified mix of assets and largely leave them alone. For instance, you could buy one or more index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track a broad market index, such as the S&P 500.
Lazy investing usually costs less because passive funds, which require less management or research and charge lower fees, improving net returns over the long term. It also requires less trading, resulting in fewer capital gains, especially in taxable brokerage accounts, increasing your net returns.
Building wealth takes effort and usually happens slowly over time. By following intuitive and some counterintuitive financial tips, you can put yourself on the path to financial success.
About the Author
Laura Adams is a money expert and spokesperson for Finder. She’s one of the nation’s leading personal finance and business authorities. As an award-winning author and host of the top-rated Money Girl podcast since 2008, millions of readers, listeners, and loyal fans benefit from her practical advice. Laura is a trusted source for media and has been featured on most major news outlets, including ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, Consumer Reports, Forbes, Fortune, FOX, Money, MSN, NBC, NPR, NY Times, USA Today, US News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more. She received an MBA from the University of Florida and lives in Vero Beach, Florida. Her mission is to empower consumers to live healthy and rich lives by making the most of what they have, planning for the future, and making smart money decisions every day.
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