A Cautionary Tale Beware of These 4 Financial Experts Who May Mislead You

financial experts, misleading advice

Be cautious about taking advice from sources who care more about their profits than your financial health.

Discover the essential reasons why you should be wary of trusting financial advice from certain individuals who may not prioritize your best interests. Explore the potential risks involved and gain valuable insights on how to effectively safeguard your financial well-being.

None of us knows everything we need to know about money, so we may turn to experts for help. But some money professionals who offer advice are not qualified to do so — nor are they required to put our interests ahead of theirs.

Be cautious when accepting advice from the following sources.

The dealership about how long your auto loan should be

The dealership wants to sell you a car. To make the payments more affordable, you may be offered a loan that lasts six, seven or even eight years.

Longer loans can get you smaller monthly payments, but they cost more overall, since youll pay more interest. Youll also likely spend several years “upside down,” or owing more than your vehicle is worth. As the car ages, you could easily face big repair bills while still making payments. If you needed to sell the car, you would have to come up with money to pay off the loan. Alternatively, you could roll the negative equity into your next car purchase, but that would make your next loan even more expensive.

A better approach: Limit your auto loans to a maximum of five years for new cars or three years for used cars. A 20% down payment can help you avoid negative equity, as well. Consider getting preapproved for a loan from your local credit union or bank or an online lender. That can help you withstand the dealership trying to pressure you into expensive financing.

Mortgage pros about how much house you can afford

Good mortgage brokers or loan officers can be invaluable in helping you navigate a complicated process and understand the guidelines that lenders use to determine how big of a loan you can qualify for. But they cant tell you how big of a loan you can comfortably afford. Neither can your real estate agent, for that matter.

True affordability will depend on a lot of factors that arent captured in your application, including when you want to retire and how much you want to save for other goals such as a childs education.

Theres also your comfort level. Some people are fine borrowing the maximum, because they believe their finances will only get better. Others prefer to borrow more conservatively.

A better approach: Use online calculators to estimate how much to save for retirement and other goals. Then include those figures in your monthly expenses when using a mortgage affordability calculator. Or consult a fiduciary advisor, such as a certified financial planner, accredited financial counselor or accredited financial coach. “Fiduciary” means obligated to put your best interests first. Most financial advisers arent fiduciaries, so make sure to ask.

Stockbrokers about whether to roll over your 401(k)

A stockbroker may tell you that rolling your old 401(k) account into an individual retirement account gives you many more investment options, and thats typically true. But IRAs can cost you more, and 401(k)s have better consumer protections.

Stockbrokers want to sell you investments that earn them commissions. Typically, they have no responsibility to make sure those investments are in your best interest. By contrast, a 401(k) administrator is a fiduciary, so its required to put your interests first and provide good investment options at a reasonable cost. Many 401(k)s offer access to ultra-low-cost institutional funds that arent available in an IRA.

In addition, your entire 401(k) balance is protected from creditors. By contrast, your protections with an IRA depend on state law. Many states exempt only an amount “reasonably necessary for support” — which means in some cases, creditors potentially could get it all.

A better approach: Leave the money where it is if you like the old 401(k)s investment options, or roll it into a new employers plan if thats allowed. Otherwise, roll the money into an IRA at a discount brokerage. If you need help with how to invest it, consult a fiduciary advisor.

Social Security about when to claim benefits

You can collect Social Security as early as age 62, but your monthly benefit increases the longer you delay applying until it maxes out at age 70. Multiple studies have shown that most people will collect more over their lifetimes if they delay filing. Its particularly important for the higher earner in a married couple to delay, because that benefit determines what the survivor will get once the first spouse dies.

Unfortunately, Social Security Administration employees sometimes advise people to start early — even though Social Security employees arent supposed to give advice.

Applicants have been told, for example, that it doesnt matter when they start benefits because the amounts paid out over their lifetimes will be the same. Thats a misinterpretation of Social Securitys attempt to be “actuarially neutral,” or have the system pay out the same amount in total regardless of when people claim benefits.

A better approach: A Social Security claiming calculator can help you figure out when to start benefits. AARP has a free one, while more sophisticated versions are available starting at $20 at Social Security Solutions or $40 at Maximize My Social Security.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by the Associated Press.

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financial experts

misleading advice

misleading advice

misleading advice