Most personal finance bloggers like to tell you what you should do with our finances, whether it’s spending less, earning more, investing wisely, or saving for a rainy day. While these methods are tried and true, they usually only help yourself and your family. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, a lot of people don’t realize personal finance can also affect the public or other people around them. For this reason, you should be very careful about what type of personal finance practices you’re involved in. You can potentially hurt yourself and others if you’re not wise about how you use money, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. Here are seven personal finance practices that bring bad karma and hurt others:
- Dining and dashing: I have never and will never do this. Dining and dashing is when someone goes out to eat, and instead of paying their bill, they leave, having had a free meal. I’ve seen in movies they make people who don’t have enough money wash the dishes. I don’t know if restaurants still do this, but I think it would be a totally acceptable consequence, don’t you? When you dine and dash, you give customers a bad reputation, you shortchange the waiter or waitress, the cook, and the restaurant owner. Meals have prices for a reason. If you can’t afford to eat at a certain restaurant, look for cheaper options.
- Borrow and default: Some people have bad credit because they borrow money and then don’t pay it back. Therefore, their loan defaults and goes into collections. Sure, it may be your credit that you’re messing up, but you’re also not paying back the lender. No matter how “rich” you may assume the person or institution is, invested money that doesn’t yield a return is still a loss. Be sure to work out a payment plan that works for everyone involved.
- Taking a job you got by lying: I’ve never done this either – lying on my resume. Have I thought about it? Sure. But it’s never happened. I’ve always feared being found out, and for good reason. Nowadays, there is an average of 7 people competing for every 1 job opening. That’s a lot of people! Many of those people are unemployed or underemployed. If you accept a job offer you got based on falsified information on your resume or during your interview, it will catch up to you. Maybe not immediately, but it will one day.
- Insurance fraud: Lying about something being stolen, broken, or non-functional then collecting benefits from an insurance company is known as insurance fraud. This happens more often than you think. People pretending to be disabled, people who intentionally get into car accidents, and people who claim they lost something in a natural disaster when in fact they didn’t have it are just a few of the scenarios. Don’t be greedy; be honest. If something truly did happen, provide accurate paperwork.
- Squatting: I’ve heard from a few people that rent is just as high as a mortgage, and I believe them. However, that is absolutely no excuse to be a squatter. A squatter is someone who stays somewhere rent free when they should definitely be paying rent. If you can’t afford a place to stay, see if you can work something out with the landlord, a family member or friend. People fail to realize that while rent may be additional income to some people, it is also an investment strategy or even sole income for others.
- Identity Theft: It’s October, meaning we’re getting closer to the holidays. Identity theft seems to spike around the holidays, as people are on the prowl to open up false accounts and charge up someone else’s credit cards, all in the name of gift giving. It’s not right! Even if you find someone’s credit card or debit card, do the right thing and return it to them or to their banking institution. Identity theft is a crime, and you won’t get far.
- Stealing: Probably one of the most obvious personal finance no-no’s, thou shalt not steal. While it’s one of the Ten Commandments, it’s also something you should avoid like the plague. Stealing, whether it’s money, information, or items, will bring you some of the worst karma. Yes, things may be bad, but it’s never bad enough to steal.
What are some other personal finance practices people should avoid?