11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature

By Kentin Waits on 24 October 2017 0 comments

Our culture loves the tortured rebel — that character who flies in the face of convention and refuses to grow up. It's the stuff of great filmmaking. But when it comes to money matters, putting your inner child in charge carries some serious consequences (after all, debt, poverty, and a steady diet of Hot Pockets doesn't look so great on a 30-year-old). If you're ready to reinvent your financial life, stop acting like a kid. Here are the money habits that make you look financially immature. (See also: Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?)

1. Spending extravagantly

If you regularly blow your budget to keep up with Joneses, you probably view money as a game piece in a never-ending competition of conspicuous consumption. But while you're trying to amass more toys, your peers are gradually — and quite inconspicuously — building long-term financial security.

2. Buying on impulse

Impulse buys are forgivable if you're a kid surrounded by candy in the checkout lane. But for grown-ups, buying on impulse means you're easily manipulated by marketing tricks, have issues with self-control, or need to fill some sort of void. Whatever the reason, it's a habit that hints at deep financial immaturity. (See also: How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again)

3. Borrowing from friends and family

Constantly needing to borrow money from friends and family shows that you're unable to properly budget, manage your spending, or plan ahead. Oh, and it's probably the main reason people are less likely to take your calls at the end of every month.

4. Overdrawing accounts

Knowing exactly how much money you have to spend is the cornerstone of personal finance. Consistently overdrawing your bank account shows that you're operating on a bad guess and don't mind giving away $33.04 (the average overdraft free in the U.S. in 2016) for every infraction. (See also: 9 Common Mistakes You're Making With Your Checking Account)

5. Maxing out credit cards

There will always be people who confuse their credit limit with their spending limit. It's a behavior that shows a profound level of financial naiveté. Besides getting hit with interest and late fees, these folks live in a constant state of stress. Caught in an endless cycle of debt servitude, they can't save and are unable to cope with even a minor hiccup in income. (See also: Oops — I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What?)

6. Receiving calls from creditors

Does your heart skip a beat every time the phone rings? Well, you're either deeply in love or deeply in debt. If it's the latter, you have my sympathy. Creditors are tireless in their attempts to collect on debt. The older and wiser among us avoid being pulled into their exhausting web at all costs. (See also: 5 Things Debt Collectors Don't Want You to Know)

7. Paying late fees

A late fee is a tax you pay for not understanding how calendars work. Getting hit with late charges on credit cards, rent, and even library books shows that you and money have a youthful and complicated relationship. Even worse, all those fees can nickel and dime a budget to death. (See also: How Late Payments Affect Your Credit)

8. Having services shut off

Dining by candlelight can be romantic — when it's a choice. But it's hard to put a sexy spin on the electricity, water, or heat being shut off for nonpayment. If your utilities are constantly in question, it's time for some serious adulting.

9. Letting your parents pay your bills

Do your parents pick up the tab for your cellphone or car insurance? Could you make ends meet without their help? If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second, you're still a babe in the woods financially. Make a plan to pay your own way.

10. Dodging the landlord

Do you check the peephole before leaving your apartment? Keep the TV volume on low? Wear a wig to the laundry room? Well, Mrs. Doubtfire, it sounds like you're dodging the landlord. Not being able to come up with the rent month after month is a sure sign of money immaturity — and a big clue that it's time to get a roommate, move to cheaper digs, or find a way to boost your income.

11. Not saving

If you're not squirreling money away in a savings account or emergency fund, you're either a doe-eyed optimist or woefully uninformed. In today's economy, a financial cushion is essential for dealing with layoffs, unexpected household expenses, and every other "what-if" life throws your way. (See also: 4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund)

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