7 Net-worth killers

Saving and spending aren't the only factors affecting your net worth. How you manage (or don't manage) your assets and liabilities can make a big difference, too.

3. Driving too much car
Certified financial planner Mari Adam has seen couples with car payments totaling $1,400 a month. Would it kill them, she wonders, to drive cars that combined would cost them closer to $800 or $900?

Another planner, Chris Cooper, has suggested as a rule of thumb that you don't spend more than 8 percent of your monthly gross income on a car payment, less if you have credit card debt.

Money Magazine has estimated that driving less expensive cars could yield an additional $180,000 over 30 years, assuming you invest your savings.

Remember, in addition to your monthly payments, you'll be paying for insurance, fuel, maintenance and repairs.

To find out a car's cost of ownership over five years, use Edmunds.com's True Cost to Own calculator or Intellichoice's Side-by-side Comparison.


Ignoring your money

Buying too much house

Driving too much car

Paying the IRS, not yourself

Always getting what you want

Letting your assets linger

Letting your debt lie
Save early. Save often. And don't make these gaffes. (more)
You don't have to spend a lot of time to put your financial house in order. (more)