15 Money Moves You Should Avoid in an Election Year

Don’t catch yourself making these financial errors ahead of the upcoming election.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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In the ever-changing landscape of personal finance, it's crucial to make decisions based on long-term financial principles rather than the ebb and flow of political cycles. This helps you build wealth on your own terms.

As election years bring a surge of economic discussions and predictions, it's essential to navigate through the noise and avoid making these financial choices influenced solely by political sentiments.

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Waiting to buy a house until after the election

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Deciding to buy a house shouldn't be contingent on the political climate. If you need a house and help with the mortgage, who occupies the White House shouldn't influence your decision.

Real estate markets are shaped by factors beyond political dynamics, such as local economic conditions and housing supply and demand. Waiting for a specific political outcome might lead to missed opportunities in the housing market.

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Not buying stocks due to uncertainty of the election

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Stock markets have historically demonstrated resilience and growth, regardless of the political party in control. Attempting to time the market based on election uncertainty can lead to missed investment opportunities.

Rather than focusing on short-term political fluctuations, adopt a long-term investment strategy aligned with your financial goals. Diversification and consistency tend to be more effective than trying to predict market movements based on election cycles.

Neglecting personal budgeting

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Political discussions can be distracting, but personal budgeting remains a cornerstone of financial stability. Neglecting budgeting due to political noise may lead to financial inefficiency and overspending.

Stay disciplined in managing your finances, regardless of external factors, and maintain a budget aligned with your financial goals to avoid throwing away money.

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Waiting for the next president to improve the job market

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Presidents have limited control over the job market, and waiting for political changes to enhance job opportunities might result in missed career growth.

If you need a job or aspire to switch careers, focus on your skills, networking, and professional development rather than waiting for political shifts. Proactive career decisions can significantly impact your professional trajectory more than relying on political changes.

Betting that the next president will "fix" the economy

Lumos sp/Adobe business conference microphones

Economies are complex systems influenced by numerous factors, and no president can guarantee a flawless economy.

Avoid making financial decisions based on the expectation that a particular political figure will magically resolve all economic challenges. Instead, focus on building a resilient financial portfolio and adapting to economic changes as they unfold.

Neglecting emergency savings due to economic uncertainty

Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe emergency fund savings note on page

Regardless of political shifts, having a robust emergency savings fund is a smart move. Economic uncertainties can arise anytime, making it crucial to be financially prepared for unexpected expenses.

Prioritize building an emergency fund based on your financial needs rather than letting political concerns hinder your financial security.

Avoiding retirement contributions

Cozine/stock.adobe.com retirement savings clock ticking

Retirement planning should be an ongoing effort unaffected by the political calendar. Waiting for election results or deciding based on short-term market fluctuations can hinder long-term retirement goals.

Continue contributing to retirement accounts, considering the power of compounding and the benefits of consistent, disciplined investing.

Ignoring health care planning

Chanakon/Adobe asian family discussing fertility

Health care policies may change, but personal health is a constant priority. Neglecting health care planning due to political uncertainties can have significant consequences.

Evaluate your health insurance coverage, understand policy changes, and make informed decisions that prioritize your well-being, irrespective of political developments.

Overlooking tax planning strategies

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While tax policies may experience shifts, overlooking essential tax planning strategies during an election year can result in missed opportunities.

Stay informed about potential tax law changes and consult with financial professionals to optimize your tax position. Strategic tax planning should be part of your overall financial strategy regardless of the political climate.

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Timing charitable contributions based on political events

seanlockephotography/Adobe taxes focus on charitable deduction section

Charitable giving should be driven by genuine philanthropic intentions rather than political motivations. Donating to charities based on political events may not align with your values or the causes you genuinely care about.

Establish a thoughtful charitable giving plan that reflects your passions and addresses the needs of your community.

Delaying estate planning due to political uncertainty

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Estate planning is a critical component of comprehensive financial management, and its importance transcends political shifts. Waiting for a particular political outcome to address estate planning can expose your assets to unnecessary risks.

Take proactive steps like speaking with an estate lawyer to protect your legacy and ensure your wishes are met, irrespective of political changes.

Neglecting education savings

wong yu liang/Adobe asian grandparents with granddaugther

Saving for your children's education is a long-term endeavor unaffected by short-term political fluctuations. Overlooking education savings due to election-year discussions can hinder your ability to meet future educational expenses.

Implement a disciplined savings plan for education, considering tax-advantaged accounts like 529 plans and investment strategies.

Overcommitting to major financial decisions

William W. Potter/Adobe financial risk assessment

Election years can be emotionally charged, and making financial decisions impulsively based on political events may lead to regret.

Avoid overcommitting to major financial choices, such as selling property or making large investments, solely due to election-related sentiments.

Ignoring market fundamentals

C Malambo/peopleimages.com/Adobe african american business woman at work

Market fundamentals play a more significant role in investment success than short-term political rhetoric. Relying on political narratives rather than sound investment principles can lead to misguided decisions.

Keep a long-term perspective, diversify your investments, and base your decisions on economic indicators and market trends rather than political discourse.

Waiting to open a high-yield savings account

Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe black piggy bank over banknotes

Presidents don't have direct control over interest rates, and waiting for a specific political climate to open a high-yield savings account may not be advantageous.

These accounts allow you to earn more on your savings, irrespective of the political landscape. Take advantage of the benefits of compounding interest and ensure your money is working.

Bottom line

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Reflect on these financial mistakes to avoid, considering the timeless principles that contribute to long-term financial success. 

Ask yourself: Are my financial decisions influenced by the election cycle, or am I staying true to my overarching financial goals and principles?

By maintaining a strategic and disciplined approach, you can prepare yourself financially for any political outcome.

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano

Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.