Money management can be tricky. Even the smartest, most savvy individuals can potentially make a mistake that will undermine their returns. Here are some of the most common mistakes that even smart people have been known to make. Learn about what they are and how to avoid them.

Going without a budget

One of the most basic financial mistakes that people make is to believe that they can go without a budget or a plan for spending their money. Budgets aren’t just restrictive tools that can cause you to do less. They’re actually the opposite. They can free you up to help your money do more of what you need rather than spending it in less meaningful ways that can leave you wondering how all your hard earned wealth disappeared.

Budgets can help to reduce debt, allowing you to pay less in interest and fees and to free up capital for other uses. It can also help you to focus on funding goals including homeownership, second home ownership, education, and travel.

Insurance mistakes

It can be hard to imagine that there will be a time when you’ll be too injured or sick to work. Or that your life might end while other members of your family are still alive. However, these are very real possibilities. If you allow yourself to accept that they can happen, you can prepare for them. Ultimately this will allow you to preserve financial health for yourself and for your loved ones.

The right amount of disability insurance can offset the financial consequences of illness or injury.  When you’re covered, if you do become sick or injured you can worry less about money and more about getting better. Similarly, with the right amount of life insurance, if you’re no longer alive your surviving family members won’t be encumbered by finding a new way to meet the costs that your salary or other income provided for them. An insurance professional can help you to know what level of coverage is best for your circumstances.

Borrowing from retirement plans

Sometimes life can throw you a financial curveball. Unemployment, unexpected home repair bills, or medical costs are just a few of the kinds of things that can stress anyone’s budget. When these things happen, some people turn to a loan from their retirement plans to cover the expense. Typically, that’s a mistake.

When you borrow from your retirement plans it can seem like a good idea for the short term but it ultimately undermines your nest egg’s ability to grow and fund your golden years. Any borrowing from 401Ks or IRAs limits the benefits from compounding interest in those accounts. There are also added fees and interest charges that will be applied to the account and many plans won’t allow you to contribute further funds until you’ve paid off your loans. All of this means less money for you when you’re no longer working.

Attempting to time the stock market

People are emotional and sometimes it can be hard to keep feelings in check when managing investments. That’s a great reason to employ investment professionals who know the stock market but can keep a measured, emotional distance from your returns. If you have hired a financial expert and they suggest its time to sell one of your investments, do it.

Almost every investment pro can tell a story about a time when their clients couldn’t listen to their advice and suffered as a result. Sometimes clients are excited about investment gains and want to see just a bit more. It is heartbreaking to watch returns fall away once a stock which should have been sold starts to decline from its high point.

Avoiding financial mistakes

These four are just some of the financial mistakes that can happen to anyone. Others include retiring too heavily on credit, buying a house where mortgage payments take too much out of your budget and making rash, emotional spending decisions on investments. If you want to avoid these mistakes and save money, the right investment professional can help. They’ll ensure that you make the most out of any financial advantages you have.