A lot of financial guidance can improve your life -- boosting your savings, earning potential and investment gains. But just as easily, it seems, our trusted friends and advisors can lead us astray. How badly do they do so?
The answer becomes clear in a recent report from TIAA-CREF entitled "The 2015 Advice Matters Survey," in which Americans were given a chance to list the "worst financial advice they'd ever received"
At the top of the list were some real whoppers, like:
- "acquire lots of debt so you'll work harder"
- "don't save because you only live once"
- -don't save right now - you're young, so have fun."
"These money blunders show what happens when financial recommendations go bad, and reiterates the need for Americans to seek professional financial advice as they start building their nest egg and saving for retirement," the report states. "In fact, the same survey showed that those who have met with a financial advisor are significantly more confident in their retirement savings than those who haven't met with one (78% versus 43%)."
It's encouraging to see that Americans recognize the need for professional financial advice, especially when so many of them say they've routinely received some lousy financial advice from non-professionals.
How bad? TheStreet asked both average Americans and financial experts for the worst financial advice they'd every received, with some real doozies making that list, too.
"The worst advice I ever got was letting someone use my credit," says Harrine Freeman, a speaker, author and owner of Washington, D.C.-based H.E. Freeman Enterprises. "I have had several friends believe they were giving me great advice by telling me to go into business with someone I don't know and let them use my credit to purchase an investment property."
The deal didn't turn out well, and Freeman was stuck holding the debt. "It doesn't matter how good or loophole-free a contract is, if someone moves to another state or out of the country, it's be difficult to track them down," Freeman adds. "You are stuck with trying to sell a property in an ever-fluctuating housing market. And, you'll have to continue to pay the mortgage until the property is sold."
Others point to the stock market as a financial disaster area.