NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – If you agonize over money, you’re not alone.

Research from John Hancock found nearly seven of 10 Americans say their finances are a “significant” source of stress.

CBS News business and financial analyst Jill Schlesinger visited the CBSN New York studio to share some solutions from her new book, “The Dumb Things Smart People Do with Their Money.”

Schlesinger identifies 13 common mistakes:

  1. Buying financial products that you don’t understand
  2. Taking financial advice from the wrong people
  3. Making money more important than it is
  4. Taking on too much college debt or risk
  5. Buying a house when you should rent
  6. Taking on too much risk
  7. Failing to protect your identity
  8. Indulging yourself in too much during your early retirement years
  9. Saddling your kids with your own money issues
  10. Not planning for the care of your aging parents
  11. Buying the wrong kinds of insurance or none at all
  12. Not having a will
  13. Trying to “time” the market

“We all do them because we are human beings and we’re mostly driven by emotions,” she said. “When it comes to money, there are two basic factors pulling and pushing us every single day: Fear – so market collapses, ‘I’m worried’ – and greed – the market’s up, ‘I wanna get in.’ And fear and greed can really bring you to a very bad place when it comes to your own decision making.”

When it comes to No. 5, she says sometimes it pays to rent, instead of buy.

“Before you start to make this decision about rent vs. buy, you want to run the numbers, you want to have a real conversation with yourself,” she said. “Because it’s not throwing money out the window to rent. It’s buying yourself opportunity.”

She also says it’s important to remember that properties don’t always appreciate.

“When you’re looking at buying, don’t buy and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to be a landlord.’ Because you don’t know what it’s like to be a landlord. If you’re really handy, maybe it works. But you’ve got to consider all the opportunities that are out there,” she said.

Schlesinger goes on to stress, “Be very clear: With real estate, especially in New York, this is a great renters’ market.”

“There are bargains to be had. You have to look and find a great place and you have to make it worth your while to plunge that 20 percent down to buy a house and lock yourself down for that period of time,” she added.

She also touches on the new tax laws and what you should know before you file.

“We now know that housing is particularly impacted in this area by the state and local tax deduction maxing out at $10,000. So it’s a good thing to think about – Yes, there are tax implications for owning a home, but they may not last forever, so be very careful,” she said.


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