Welcome to the Stilwell Financial Inc. website. Stilwell was a diversified, global financial services company with operations through its subsidiaries and affiliates in North America, Europe and Asia. The primary entities comprising Stilwell were Janus Capital Corporation, an approximately 91.6% owned subsidiary; Berger LLC, of which Stilwell owns 100% of the preferred limited liability company interests and approximately 87% of the regular limited liability company interests; Nelson Money Managers Plc, an 80% owned subsidiary; and DST Systems, Inc., an equity investment in which Stilwell holds an approximate 34% interest. Stilwell was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “SV”.
Stilwell’s businesses offered a variety of asset management, shareowner servicing, software solutions and related financial services to registered investment companies, retail investors, institutions and individuals. Visit our site regularly for relevant, timely updates on Stilwell and its subsidiaries.
Top 10 Financial Mistakes
Financial Mistake #1 – Overspending
When most of us think of the term “overspending,” we have spoiled teenagers in mind, or adults who already have so much money that they don’t even know what to do with it. Unfortunately, overspending is often much closer to home. According to statistics, the average household spent just over $71,000 in 2009. Most of us have even asked ourselves, where did all my money go?
While most of us don’t make too many expensive purchases, we make far too many inexpensive purchases which ultimately add up. Getting that daily breakfast at your favourite place, or even going to a fast food place a few times a week because you forgot to pack your lunch really does make a difference in your financial statement at the end of the month. The key here is to watch what you buy and only buy what is absolutely necessary. Keep a notebook with you and jot down everything you purchase if that makes it easier to keep you on track.
Financial Mistake #2 – Buying New Cars
One of the biggest wastes of money is buying a new car each year. Many individuals feel they need the most up-to-date vehicle around with all the new bells and whistles and spend even more money getting expensive new chrome rims and added features to have the “hottest new ride.” The truth is that while getting a brand new car is acceptable from time to time, unless you have lots of money to spare (and even then you should think about investing it properly instead), getting a new car so often will drain your wallet faster than almost anything else.
Plus, since new cars depreciate in value so quickly, you are practically paying hundreds of dollars a month in car payments just for the privilege of driving that car for that month since you will probably only be able to sell it for half or even a quarter of what you originally bought it for. Consider getting a used car to take you from point A to point B, or holding onto the new car you bought until it doesn’t run anymore.
Financial Mistake #3 – Living Pay Check to Pay Check
About 60% of Americans live pay check to pay check and would be unable to keep up with their bills if their pay check is delayed by even a week or two. A large part of this may be the fact that many Americans have little, if any, savings put away, but it is mostly because some individuals don’t know how to handle their pay checks properly and how to set aside money from them. Many people have a burning desire to spend any leftover money from their pay after they’ve taken care of their bills and end up living pay check to pay check.
Financial Mistake #4 – Not Having Enough Savings
Another mistake many people make is not having a “rainy day” fund. You never know when your income will disappear or when your car will need fixing and it’s good to be prepared for these types of things. Having savings won’t hurt and they can definitely help when the time comes and you need it. And it doesn’t have to be drastic; even just putting aside your spare change with $25 or $30 a week can add up to a decent savings amount over the course of a year.
Financial Mistake #5 – Having Too Much Bad Debt
Right after not having enough savings is having too much bad debt. I’d like to specify bad debt: this is debt that is from your doodads, your car, your everyday expenses and your more luxurious expenses. This is the type of debt that most people are in and having too much of this debt can eat away at your pay check and leave you with very little at the end of the month.
Good debt, on the other hand, is debt you have used to either further your education or debt you have used to make proper investments. This debt can easily be paid off in the future because of what you have used it for in the now so don’t concern yourself too much with that. Instead, focus your efforts on paying down (or paying off completely) your bad debts which rob you of your money due to the interest rates. For more information, check out 10 Steps to Paying Off Credit Card Debt and The Easiest Way to Get Out of Debt Fast.
Financial Mistake #6 – Getting More Mortgage Than You Can Afford
When buying a house, many people end up getting more than they can afford and end up being “house poor” as a result. It is important to get what you can comfortably afford so you don’t end up neglecting your other bills. True, you might have more money in the future due to raises and promotions, but it’s better to not gamble on that with the place you live in. If you end up having more money down the road, you can always sell your house and buy a bigger one, or just buy an additional house to add to your financial portfolio. For more information, check out How Much Mortgage Can You Afford?
Financial Mistake #7 – Putting Off Financial Planning
Without a plan, there can be no movement and little progress. Many people make financial plans for a little bit, but just like New Years’ resolutions they are soon forgotten and neglected. Financial planning is so important to increase your future wealth. If you want to save more money, make more money, pay off your debts, buy a house, or invest wisely, the first thing to do is to plan out how this will be done. Make it as specific as possible and set financial goals for yourself on a weekly basis until you eventually reach them. If you take little steps every week to achieve your financial goals, by the end of the year you will be able to see your progress.
Financial Mistake #8 – Not Bothering to Invest
You may have your basics down pat such as having some money saved up, having your debt paid down and even having a retirement account set up, but your financial portfolio will never be complete without some investments (For more information, please see our 10 Steps to Building a Financial Portfolio feature). By having these basics, you will be “safe,” but by having the right investments, you can make some serious profits. Not all investments are right for everyone and you have to take a good look around, educate yourself and decide which ones you want to deal with. You can invest in real estate, businesses, paper assets such as stocks and bonds as well as commodities such as land, oil and gold. The more you know about these particular investments and what to expect, the more you will benefit down the road. For more information about choosing the right investments, check out High Return Investments.
Financial Mistake #9 – Not Thinking About Retirement
One of the biggest financial mistakes individuals make is that they don’t even start thinking about retirement until it’s too late. People like to believe the government will always take care of them, but pension plans are running short due to the mass amount of baby boomers retiring and who knows if there will be anything left over in that fund by the time it’s your turn. It’s better to take matters into your own hands and think about when you want to retire and how you will go about reaching that goal. Keep in mind also that the earlier you start, the better chance you have of retiring with enough money to keep you and your bill collectors happy. For more information, check out What is an RRSP?
Financial Mistake #10 – Not Getting a Financial Education
I absolutely cannot stress this enough: getting a proper financial education is the most important thing you can do for your money. After all, how will you know what to do with it if you have no background knowledge? Relying on advice from others may work for you for now, but if you are serious about making money and investing it properly, you must spend some serious time and effort building up your financial know-how. Also consider advice from a qualified financial advisor like those at Asset Oversight.