6. “I’ll never be able to afford a house. I’ll be renting forever.”
First, know that you should only begin the process of buying real estate when your finances are in good shape already. And saving up a down payment takes time!
To get motivated, try prequalifying for a mortgage with a mortgage lender, even before you’re serious about buying. The lender will offer suggestions about how much you’ll need for a down payment and tell you how much money you’ll be able to borrow. That’ll give you some savings goals to work toward, says Blaylock. And be careful—you can often qualify for more loan than would be truly affordable for your budget, so it’s super important to look at what works for your monthly cash flow, but getting pre-qualified is a good place to start.
One of the best things that you can do to be able to buy a house in the future is to make sure that your debt is managed properly now, says Blaylock. For example, late credit card payments will hurt you, because those will negatively impact your credit score, and that could impact the interest rate you’ll get when buying a home. Another factor to consider is your debt-to-income ratio, which creditors will evaluate before deciding whether to give you a loan.
If buying a house is still a few years off, see where you can find room in your budget now for a down payment fund. But, keep in mind that flexing your savings muscle now, and having a goal to work toward, is one of the easiest paths to get where you want to go.
7. “There is no realistic way to pay for my kid’s college tuition.”
Don’t beat yourself up. “It shouldn’t be all up to the parents,” says Dr. Walfish. “Young adults should be expected to chip in.” Walfish says she worked with a 19-year-old client who earned an athletic scholarship, took public transportation everywhere instead of buying a car and got three jobs.
“You can also take out student loans and apply for financial aid,” says Blaylock. “Just because you can’t pay for all four years of college doesn’t make you a bad parent.” And having your own financial situation in check is actually a higher priority: Remember, you can’t borrow for retirement but you can borrow for college, so talk to your child’s guidance counselor about all possible resources.
Besides, some research shows that paying the whole price tag for college (as opposed to covering, say, just tuition) can actually make students less motivated.
8. “I don’t have time to budget.”
“This isn’t about time. We all have time. This is about your not wanting to face something that’s scary or complicated,” says Dr. Walfish. “It’s a matter of will.” In other words, quit lying to yourself and step up to the plate. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself later.
Whether you’re saving for retirement, saving for an emergency fund, saving for your kid’s college tuition, saving for a down payment on a house—or all of the above—everything starts with budgeting. “You can’t do any of that until you know your cash flow,” says Blaylock. The good news is that there are plenty of free, digital budgeting tools, such as the LearnVest app, so creating a budget has never been easier.
9. “I can’t help impulse-buying.”
Some people who make an extreme amount of impulse purchases have a serious mental disorder, says Dr. Walfish. “I had one patient who charged over $100,000 of stuff on her credit card one weekend. This can be a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder, for example.”
But in less extreme cases, shopping can be an antidote for feeling depressed. Maybe you lost your job or broke up with a partner, so you go to the mall to temporarily perk yourself up. Either way, “it’s not a healthy way to cope,” says Dr. Walfish.
One helpful tactic is to replace your shopping habit with something else that makes you feel good but doesn’t require you to spend money. Maybe try going for a run, reading a book or watching a movie. Also, avoid your spending triggers as much as possible, says Blaylock.
“If you’re trying to save and buying electronics is your weakness, don’t walk into a Best Buy, because you know you’ll be tempted.” If you have to go into a store that you love, create a rule. “A colleague of mine won’t get a cart when she goes to Target. She’ll buy only what she can carry in her hands,” says Blaylock.
LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. Unless specifically identified as such, the people interviewed in this piece are neither clients, employees nor affiliates of LearnVest Planning Services. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.