Beyond Budgeting: 14 Overrated Financial Strategies That Need a Reality Check

December 7, 2023 by Tamila McDonald

1. Renting is A Waste of Time

While home ownership is the American dream, renting often gets a bad rap. However, the reality check is in—renting can offer financial flexibility, lower utility bills, and a landlord’s responsibility for repairs. With mortgage rates above 6.5%, the so-called “American dream” is unattainable for many and renting is the only way to go.

2. Follow Your Passions

Following your passion sounds dreamy, but let’s face it: passion doesn’t always pay the bills. Instead of blindly pursuing dreams, focus on building skills, maximizing potential, and creating a realistic plan B.

3. Your Credit Score Does Not Matter

Think your credit score is irrelevant? Think again. A good credit score opens doors to credit cards, mortgages, and better loan terms. Don’t underestimate the power of positive credit for financial opportunities. A credit score between 700 to 850 can also save you on insurance, interest rates, and business loans.

4. You Cannot Be Financially Successful with a 9-5 Job

Ditch the misconception that success only comes from dodging the 9-to-5 grind. Many individuals find financial success, stability, and valuable benefits through steady employment and employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. Although many people dream of owning their own business or working in unconventional ways, they often find difficulty starting and maintaining their business and a steady income.

5. Never Use a Credit Card

Contrary to popular belief, credit cards aren’t financial villains. When used responsibly, credit cards help build credit, offer emergency funds, and provide perks like cash-back rewards and airline miles.

6. You Don’t Have to Worry About Retirement Until Later

Delaying retirement savings is a common pitfall. Start early to leverage compounding interest and avoid stressful catch-up scenarios later in life. Your future self will thank you.

7. The Best Way to Save Is Through a Savings Account

Savings accounts are stable but offer minimal returns. Consider diversifying investments to include stocks for better long-term growth. Don’t let nostalgia guide your financial decisions.

8. YOLO (You Only Live Once)

Living in the moment is great, but reckless spending in the name of YOLO can lead to future financial regrets. Strike a balance between enjoying life now and securing a stable financial future.

9. College Is a Waste of Time

Contrary to some beliefs, a college degree significantly boosts job prospects and earning potential. Education not only imparts knowledge but also develops essential soft skills valued by employers.

10. You Only Have to Pay the Minimum Every Month

Paying only the minimum on credit cards traps you in a cycle of debt. Use online tools to create a payoff plan and tackle debt strategically to save money on interest in the long run. Unless you believe in being in credit card debt for life, pay off any credit cards as quickly as possible.

11. File for Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy should be a last resort. Explore alternatives like credit counseling, debt consolidation, and negotiations with creditors before considering the long-term consequences of declaring bankruptcy. The ten-year stain on your credit will keep you from making many of your financial dreams a  reality.

12. Invest in the “Best”

Personal finance is personal. Avoid one-size-fits-all investment advice claiming a universal “best.” Your financial strategy should align with your unique goals, risk tolerance, and lifestyle.

13. Everyone Should Have Life Insurance

Life insurance may or may not be a necessity. Assess your needs before investing in policies laden with fees. For those without dependents, life insurance might not be the financial safeguard it’s made out to be.

14. You Can Beat the Stock Market

Be wary of promises to beat the stock market with individual stock picks. Successful short-term trading is rare, and chasing after it can lead to financial losses. Stick to a diversified, long-term investment strategy.


Navigating personal finance requires discernment. Beyond the buzzworthy advice, it’s crucial to evaluate strategies based on individual circumstances. Let go of overrated notions, embrace financial realities, and build a money management plan that stands the test of time.

Read More:

12 Ways a Spending Plan Can Help You Deal With Debt

Going Back To School: One-Year Certificate Programs

Coping With the Lifestyle Adjustments of a New Spending Plan

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