Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a libertarian point of view.Full Bio


Money Monday




TOPIC 1: Retirement

It's pretty much impossible to get to retirement with zero financial regrets. There are plenty pitfalls you can avoid if you plan right. Here are Simply Money's top financial regrets to let others have: 

1) Not starting an emergency fund: An emergency fund is like oxygen-- you don't realize how much you need it until you realize it's not there. You need 3-6 months saved for the unexpected-- in cash. This is money you want the ability to access quickly

40% of people do not have enough cash on-hand to cover a $400 unexpected expense.

2) Getting too much house: We've long called the 30-year mortgage one of the reasons for the retirment crisis we are currently in. Right now, the housing market in Cincinnati is red hot, so it is tempting to bid higher than you can afford. Just because you CAN take out a big loan doesn't mean you SHOULD take out a big loan.

3) Letting credit card debt follow you: Americans hold $1 trillion in credit card debt and 25% of Americans have more credit card debt than savings. We are starting to see credit card debt follow people into retirement, too.

4) Using your 401(k) as a piggy bank: We have a simple rule about borrowing from your 401(k)-- don't do it! 11% of 401(k) participants borrow from their retirement savings each year, and 20% of you have a loan outstanding to your account.

5) Flying blind into retirement: Over half of nonretirees worry they do not have enough for retirement. The only way to really know is to sit down with a Chartered Financial Consultant or a Certified Financial Planner 

A financial plan helps with other regrets like "Not having enough savings" because with a plan, you know how much "enough is." You're working with someone who's done it before so you know how to draw down from your accounts and save on taxes.


The key ways to avoid financial regrets are simple: save aggressively and get help. 



#2: Enquirer

Every Sunday, Simply Money is answering your money questions in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Grace from Batavia: My nephew is physically disabled. Is there something (or some way) we can help him save for some of the healthcare expenses he’ll face for the rest of his life?



#3: Credit

Despite the importance of financial literacy, many adults lack an understanding of basic financial concepts, which can lead to bad credit. You can help your kids avoid poor credit by teaching them how to avoid mistakes.

Ignoring their credit: It’s easy to ignore your credit when you don’t understand how it works or why it’s important. But monitoring your credit can be viewed as part of being a healthy, productive adult, just like getting an annual physical exam. And if you ignore your credit, you could miss out on getting a credit card, owning a car, homeownership, and more.

Luckily, paying attention to your credit and credit score is fairly easy. You’re entitled to a free annual copy of your credit reports at To check your credit report for free, use or

Making late payments: If your kids understand one credit mistake to avoid, let it be making late payments. Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, and one late payment can cause your score to plummet. Most creditors won’t report a late payment until you’re at last 30 days past due, but it’s risky just to get to that point. Instill the importance of timely payments in your kids.

Maxing out credit cards: A higher minimum payment isn’t the only consequence of maxing out your credit cards. You should be using no more than 30% of your available credit at one time. So, if you have $10,000 in credit, you should be using no more than $3,000 a month. If you go above that threshold, you could be damaging your credit with a high credit utilization ratio. Your kids should keep their credit card balances low - the ultimate goal should be less than 10%

Not paying in full every month: Credit card companies would LOVE it if your kids didn't pay in full every month. Why? The companies make money off of all those interest payments! Tell your kids their goal should be to be the WORST credit card customer, meaning the company doesn't make any money off them in the form of interest payments and/or late fees.

A balance of $1000 at 15% APR paying just $25 a month would take almost 5 years to pay off! And you'll pay about $400 extra in interest!


Educate your kids about credit cards! One miststep could haunt them for YEARS! 



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