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FACTS VS FICTION

I'm too young for financial planning.

It's never too early to start forming good financial habits. Creating a budget, paying down your debt, saving for big events in your life, and balancing wants and needs are all things you should be thinking about in your younger years. Plus, the younger you are, the more time you have to take advantage of compound interest on your investments. It never hurts to develop a plan for the future, no matter your age.

Financial advisors only help people with investing.

Investing is an important part of a financial advisor's work, but an advisor can also help you manage other aspects of your financial life—including budgeting, insurance, estate planning, retirement planning, and more.

I can't become an entrepreneur at my age.

Over the past decade, Americans ages 55–64 have been at the head of the start-up pack, launching more businesses than any other demographic. Armed with knowledge, skills, and professional networks cultivated in their previous careers, this new wave of baby boomer entrepreneurs is showing that they have what it takes to launch successful businesses later in life. After working in more structured environments for years, some boomers are attracted to the flexible lifestyle and supplemental income that running their own businesses can provide. For many older entrepreneurs, retirement offers an opportunity to pursue lifelong passions and interests.

If I receive an inheritance, I can quit my job.

It's unwise to assume you can stop working without carefully evaluating your financial situation. You'll need enough money to replace your current income as well as see you through retirement. Also remember that, if you quit your job, you'll also stop earning income that contributes to social security and other retirement benefits.

My kids are too young to start learning about finances.

As with many financial matters, the best advice is to start early. The sooner children learn financial fundamentals, the more likely they are to become informed investors later in life. You may even benefit from learning alongside your child! If there are areas where you could use a refresher, take the time to review those topics with your son or daughter. Whether you’ve been meaning to work on your budget, organize your tax documents, or tackle another financial goal, there’s no better time than today to get your kids involved.

No one would want to steal my child's identity, so I don't have to worry about it.

Children are the fastest-growing targets for identity theft, with an estimated 500,000 new cases a year, according to Experian. Kids make attractive targets for identity thieves because they have no previous credit history. Moreover, the crime may go undetected for years because parents don't typically check to find out whether their children have credit records. And credit issuers often don't verify an applicant's age; information on the application is taken at face value, especially when submitted over the phone or online. Credit reporting agencies and the Social Security Administration don't share information, so agencies don't necessarily know that an applicant's social security number belongs to a minor. The damage can be devastating because of the length of time that may pass before the fraud is discovered.

I don't need to budget because it's just not necessary.

For many, budget is a dirty word—but it doesn't have to be. Done correctly, a budget does account for every dollar and cent you spend, but instead of considering this a tedious task, think about the real difference it can make in your financial health. In good times or bad, a budget can help you gain a true picture of your spending and where you may be able to save more to keep your other goals on track. One of the greatest insights a budget can provide is an understanding of essential versus nonessential expenses (e.g., housing, electricity, and heat versus that daily latte and dining out multiple times a week).