Troubling Signs

Jonathan Clements

WE TRY NOT TO BE too judgmental here at HumbleDollar. But if any of the items below apply to you, you might want to get yourself to the financial emergency room. Here are 33 signs you could be in trouble:

  1. You save on eating out by attending free financial seminars.
  2. You earn extra income by purchasing mutual funds just before they make their distributions.
  3. All your stocks are penny stocks, but they weren’t when you bought them.
  4. Your insurance agent is your best friend.
  5. You’re investing in real estate—by remodeling the kitchen.
  6. Your broker saves you money by only recommending funds with “no initial sales commission.”
  7. You have $1 million in life insurance and no financial dependents.
  8. Shopping is your favorite hobby.
  9. You deduct a staggering amount of mortgage interest each year.
  10. You’re confident you are well-diversified, because you have five different brokerage accounts.
  11. Your friends are envious of everything you own.
  12. You figure inflation is too low to worry about.
  13. Your accountant whistled when he saw the size of your capital loss carryover.
  14. You get your stock picks from your spam folder.
  15. You’re absolutely certain the market is headed higher.
  16. You just rented a second storage locker.
  17. Every fund you buy has great past performance.
  18. You had a will drawn up years ago, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
  19. Your kitchen looks like a showroom for “as seen on TV.”
  20. If others are selling, why would you buy? You weren’t born yesterday.
  21. You never fail to make the minimum credit card payment.
  22. You cosigned your son’s $80,000 college loan to study social work.
  23. You plan to claim Social Security early and use the money to buy income annuities.
  24. You would dearly love to invest in a hedge fund.
  25. You know your house has been a fabulous investment, because it’s worth so much more than your down payment.
  26. There’s an equity-indexed annuity in your IRA.
  27. You never understood why they call options trading a less-than-zero-sum game.
  28. Your financial advisor is a fiduciary, but only part of the time.
  29. You don’t bother funding your 401(k) with its matching employer contribution, because you have a cash-value life insurance policy.
  30. Your children want for nothing.
  31. Your employer offered a lump sum instead of paying you a pension, and it was obvious the lump sum was the better deal.
  32. You own a diversified portfolio of timeshares.
  33. You like to have a margin of safety, so you always buy the highest-yielding bonds.

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