NEA Member Benefits, a wholly owned, self-supporting (no dues dollars are used) subsidiary of the National Education Association, has as one of its goals to help NEA members become better consumers of financial, investment, insurance, and other products.


One of the workshops they offer is called 23 Financial Mistakes You Cant Afford to Make Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me! Here are those 23 tips from NEA Member Benefits:


Mistake #1: Putting money into low-interest savings accounts instead of paying off high-interest debt.


Mistake #2: Carrying too much debt relative to your income. Excluding your mortgage, no more than 20% of your net income should be represented in other debt.


Mistake #3: Locking away all of your savings. You should have liquid funds to cover 3-6 months of expenses.


Mistake #4: Buying cash-value life insurance instead of term-life insurance. Term-life policies have low commissions and are relatively inexpensive. Life insurance policies should be to insure your life. They should not be used for investment purposes.


Mistake #5: Not having enough life insurance. The purpose of life insurance is to replace income for your family in the event of your death. You should carry 5-10 times your annual salary.


Mistake #6: Getting a balloon mortgage, interest-only mortgage, or other non-conventional mortgage without understanding the risks.


Mistake #7: Not taking into account points when figuring in mortgage costs. Points can substantially raise the actual interest rate on a mortgage.


Mistake #8: Taking out a reverse mortgage without fully understanding what a reverse mortgage does.


Mistake #9: Not having renters insurance if youre a renter.


Mistake #10: Not including the replacement cost in the amount of homeowners or renters insurance.


Mistake #11: Going into debt for lifestyle purchases, such as vacations and eating dinner out.


Mistake #12: Having too much money withheld from your paycheck in order to get a big tax refund in April.


Mistake #13: Taking a fast refund from a tax preparer. Youll likely pay a high interest rate. Its better to be patient and wait for the IRS to send you your refund.


Mistake #14: Investing in financial products that carry high sales commissions and/or management expenses.


Mistake #15: Not diversifying your investments.


Mistake #16: Not having long-term care insurance.


Mistake #17: Not having a durable power of attorney for medical care.


Mistake #18: Not having a durable power of attorney for financial matters.


Mistake #19: Not having a will.


Mistake #20: Not having those difficult conversations with loved ones. Someone should know where to find your important papers, insurance policies, investments, titles, and deeds. (You can download a Survivors Guide at


Mistake #21: Going into significant debt for a car.


Mistake #22: Not having gap coverage if you have a car loan or a leased vehicle. (Gap insurance covers the difference between what you owe and what the car is worth should your car be totaled in an accident.)


Mistake #23: Not taking advantage of the many programs available to you as an NEA member at!