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She says that it makes her laugh to listen to herself speak that way, since it's not her at all, but she gets results. I'll be thinking something but won't say it for fear of sounding stupid, and then someone else goes on to say the exact same thing and get praised for brilliance. And if only I had spoken up This is so easy to put into practice. The more space you take up, the more confident you appear. In elevators, now, I try to stop cowering in the corner to make room for others. Obviously, don't hog all the space, but that space is yours.

You're entitled to it! Take it! I honestly have no idea what this means. I'm trying to picture this in my head, but I can't imagine what this means. Is this tucking a foot under the other under your chair?

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Or is this actually sitting on your foot IN your chair? If it's the latter, that's just wildly unprofessional and nobody should ever do that, but if it's the former, I'm a little confused as to how I should actually sit, then. Apparently, it means that I'm uncomfortable usually true in social situations anyway and unsure of myself. But I need to get out of that habit. Women are not taught to defend ourselves or get angry when someone is disrespectful to us, teaching us to be tolerant of people who treat us like crap.

I wonder if this is why I have such a horrible case of 'Impostor Syndrome. If you don't ask, it might not happen: promotions, etc. If told that you're being impatient, ask when a good time would be to revisit the issue. If asked to wait a long time, ask WHY such a long time is needed. I tell my sister this all the time, but the only person looking out for you is YOU. Easier said than internalized. It is NOT selfish to have your needs met.

Have a life outside of work, especially. I've added to issues above where topics discussed in this section relate. These action items are harder to put into practice than others, since these are about changing your worldview completely. Overall, I was really impacted by this book. It has given me some great tips on how to act professionally and what all I need to do to help make a successful career. I took off one star for the chapter on "How You Look," since to me, it seemed ridiculous and dated. Source: Reddit posting on women in business View all 7 comments.

Sep 13, Wallace rated it it was amazing Shelves: self-improvement. Frankel is a book that all women should receive upon graduation from college. It is amazing what we, the female gender, do to undermine ourselves without realizing it. Many of us, who come from homes that were supportive and definitely didn't pigeonhold us into the subservient female role, would never imagine how much we have picked up from the social cues and trends around us.

Though, until recently, I would have not realized that I suffered from "nice girl syndrome", nor would I have connected it to ill health in my professional or personal life for that matter, I have now received a shocking education. Like jumping into a lake much colder than the tepid waters you were expecting, Nice Girls startles you with realization, while you emerge more refreshed because of it. If Nice Girls was a friend, it would be the one who says, "yes, you really do look fat in that outfit, but here's another that will accentuate what a wonderful body you actually have.

Frankel does not leave you hanging; she will tell you outright how you are shooting yourself in the foot, but then she will remove the gun from your hand and replace it with bandages and antiseptic. I have borrowed this one from the public library, but will be adding it my personal library. This is too valuable of a resource to not own and be able to refer back to until these life changing tips become healthy habits. As we change and grow our areas that we reference to in this book will also change, and I would like to have the ability to take and retake the questionnaire, that guides you through the book, as often as I like.

Frankly, I'm not sure I know more than three or four women who don't need to read this book. View 1 comment. Apr 12, Vivian rated it it was ok Shelves: self-help , read-in-vietnamese. This book was exciting at first, but then turn to uncomfortable. First, It made me feel that being a Girl itself is a guilt, acting like a girl, thinking like a girl is not recommended in work place.

So basically this book tell people "how to act like a man" because high positions are mostly held by man. If you "don't see a man do this, you should not do this"!!!?! Second, it provide too many no right- no wrong recommend for both gender, but still emphasize only female worker often do this This book was exciting at first, but then turn to uncomfortable.

Second, it provide too many no right- no wrong recommend for both gender, but still emphasize only female worker often do this and that, but male co worker don't. Reading the examples I feel that all the male's thinking, behavior are perfect? This book is not show girls how to find their deserve equality in work place but tell them to follow a man model role, to copy those successful male's behavior and thinking. However, there are some good tips in this book that I will keep in mind such as stop being a nice, cute girl I didn't read the English version of this book , the rest is just so so and you can find those in any self-help book.

View 2 comments. I must confess that I started this book with a lot of skepticism. I am a feminist and I do not like to be told what I need to change in order to fit to a men's world. I would always prefer to change the world. It is direct yes, but also pretty arrogant. Those two points aside, I would recommend every woman to read this book. Not only girl I must confess that I started this book with a lot of skepticism.

Not only girls, not only business woman, not only carrier woman. Every woman. I have a rule of thumb or three : If a book makes me wonder and take breaks while reading it to let my thoughts wander, if a book helps me get to to know myself better, and if a book makes a change in my life: It was a book worth reading. And this was a book worth reading. Many pages felt like slaps on my face. Many "mistakes" were things I do. Will I necessarily change all of them to get where I want? But now I am aware of them and their impact. Now I have control over my "flaws".

Some of the "mistakes" I will change, because they were never actions I consciously decided to do. They were more instilled messages from society, culture and family, that I carry around with me. Apr 27, Kressel Housman rated it really liked it Shelves: psychology , non-fiction , career-development , self-help , business. The author's main theme is, "Quit being a girl," by which she means to toot your own horn and stand up for yourself because high quality work alone won't get you noticed and promoted.

The corporate world is prejudiced against girls and can't envision them beyond the secretarial pool. Women, in contrast, get ahead with the right efforts. Each category has its own chapter, so the author recommends that you read the chapters corresponding to the areas in which you scored lowest. My lowest scores were in act, play, and market, but I think my worst drawback is my soft soprano voice. Other than taking voice lessons, which I can't afford anyway, there's not much I can do about it. Interestingly, my best score was in look, which just goes to show that modesty in dress enhances a woman's respectability.

But this self-promoting stuff. According to the book, though, there's plenty else I can do, and while I was reading it, I definitely applied some of its advice, like insisting that my boss stop sending me out to Starbucks and engaging in more office chit-chat because relationships matter. But it's been a few weeks since then, and I've fallen back into my old passive ways.

Still, it was good advice, and I intend to read more from this author and the books she cites. I wish I'd learned these lessons long ago! View all 4 comments. I just finished reading this book in an effort to teach myself how to stop doing all of those little things that sabotage the advancement of my career. I'm not currently looking for a new job even though I should be but I'd still like to work on improving my skills and stop downplaying my abilities. Things I already know: I act nice to get people on my side, meanwhile, forgetting about my own needs because I want everyone to like me.

I also say "I'm sorry" a lot and don't know how to toot my ow I just finished reading this book in an effort to teach myself how to stop doing all of those little things that sabotage the advancement of my career. I also say "I'm sorry" a lot and don't know how to toot my own horn. What I need to do instead: make decisions without polling others for opinions and deliver direction without wavering.

I need to let my confidence come across so that the people I am speaking with know I mean what I say and they'll stop questioning or undermining me. As a woman in the workplace, it can be difficult to overcome the pressures and teachings of society, parents and peers to be a "good girl" by going with the flow and not being assertive to get needs met.

Personality Attributes and Behaviors – Psychology Blog

I believe women need to learn how to be empowered on their own because they certainly aren't getting it from others. Empowerment for women doesn't mean you have to be a over-controlling bitch or a whining nag. We certainly cannot act like men because we aren't men but we can find that balance that I find myself craving. With this book as a guide, I hope to learn where to go from here. The title contains a clue that mistakes cannot be fixed within one book so the author wisely points them out and then refers the reader to another more specific book to help with a particular or group of particular mistakes.

Not only am I going to use what I learn to help myself but I'm going to use it to teach my four year old daughter the same. It is important to me that she knows she is smart and that her ideas and thoughts matter just as much as the next person's. Dec 22, MB What she read rated it liked it Shelves: occasional-non-fiction. Easy to read and some quite useful tips. It would be nice if someday, we, as a society, ever get to a time when men aren't advantaged in business by their sex and women didn't have to make themselves over just to get ahead.

May 10, Marie-Lise Theys rated it did not like it. I did not like it, I felt like you have to fake it to make it. What about we change the corner office rather than changing women to fit in. Sep 12, Meg rated it it was amazing. I had an epiphany-like moment over and over again when Frankel points out that when people shame a woman for unladylike behavior, it's not because there is such a shameful thing as unladylike behavior, it's because it's the easiest and most effective means of getting whatever it is they want out of you. Because we've been so conditioned to be pleasing to others, accusing a woman of behaving in an unpleasing manner is like an automatic shut off button that manipulative people use against us.

Accu I had an epiphany-like moment over and over again when Frankel points out that when people shame a woman for unladylike behavior, it's not because there is such a shameful thing as unladylike behavior, it's because it's the easiest and most effective means of getting whatever it is they want out of you. Accusations and implications of this manner have no basis in reality, it's just a means of shutting us up and keeping us out.

I'd downloaded several other career advice audiobooks before this one, as I was looking for career advice because I'm a new grad starting my first corporate job. I found the other new grad career advice books rather trite and unhelpful. I was hesitant about this purchase because I wasn't worried about snagging the "corner office," so much as just getting started, but I am so glad I found this gem as I begin my journey through the corporate world.

I'm so impressed with the book I intend on buying copies for female friends as graduation presents. I also loved that Frankel recommends a plethora of other resources and career coaching books throughout. She is a generous author who never fails to cite and recommend her influences, a rare skill in a world of self-promotional and narcissistic branding. I know a lot of women will bristle at Frankel's direct advice that hacks away at traditional femininity - in a perfect world, we should be able to be ourselves at work and get ahead - but we don't live in that world, and a more subtle idea in this book is that perhaps many of the soft-fuzzy-nice-girl characteristics women have aren't inherent, so much as conditioned, and in the process of unconditioning ourselves, we find out how human we really are.

Frankel doesn't waste time pining for an idealistic world - this book isn't for idealistic women, it's for ambitious women who want to succeed and thrive in the world that exists. Success in the corporate world, like it or not, entails conformity. Frankel points out the mistakes women are making in regards to that expectation of conformity in terms of how we prioritize performing gender over performing our jobs.

And at times it's a bitter pill to swallow. Nearly all the advice comes back to: stop acting like a coy little girl; put on your big girl panties and step up to the plate. It's hard because it forced me to confront how infantalized some of my behaviors are. As girls there are many emotional developmental areas where we're not encouraged to grow.

Girls are protected from overcoming many barriers, like failure, and consequently there is a kind of emotional stunting that we turn a blind eye to and justify through the idea of inherent gender characteristics. And our society will let us tread water here in that emotional retardation for the rest of our lives, but if you want to get ahead, you have to get over it. Frankel's book is the first step on that path because she simply made me aware of what was in my blind spot. The book holds up a mirror - if you don't like what you see, it's on you to change it.

Feb 10, Joanna rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , library-books. Another book with a tacky title that I have bypassed every time I've seen it. But browsing in the library one day I decided to give it a try and I'm glad I did. I always knew that I was a typical girl in finding it difficult to negotiate money, but I thought that was it. After reading through this book which doesn't take long as you can easily skip over irrelevant sections , I have realized that I actually am making a bunch of 'mistakes' at work that are not benefiting my career.

This book help Another book with a tacky title that I have bypassed every time I've seen it. This book helped me take conscious stock of what I need to change if I want to improve my performance and I have come up with a list of specific points to focus on for my personal career development.

May 07, LuAnne Alexander rated it it was ok. I felt that most of this book was a how-to for those who want to be a closed-minded corporate robot.

Understanding & Dealing with Manipulative People - Dr. George Simon Interview

Don't bring food to share at work? Don't have long hair? Well, men don't do it, so you shouldn't do it either. Speak at meetings the way men do: loud, confident and don't forget to be the first to speak and never the last. Respond to emails the way men do. Dress the way men do. Use social media the way men do which means hardly ever. Try not to smile so much because men don't smile that much.

I I felt that most of this book was a how-to for those who want to be a closed-minded corporate robot. I think that whether you're a man or a woman, you will get mad when you read this book. Oops, I just started a sentence with "I think There are a lot of contradictions in this book too. I don't have an example off the top of my head, but there were many times where I thought, "Didn't she say previously not to do this?

You MUST wear makeup, but not too much makeup, and cut your hair short to be respected and ultimately promoted at work Don't forget your suit. I do not have visible tattoos and agree that you should try and hide them to be professional But I did not like her statement that if people accidentally get a peek of your tattoos, they will see you as someone who makes poor judgments That's really unfair.

It was a bit eye-opening on female behaviors that I've always known, but never really put in the forefront of my subconscious. I still don't agree that much of it as harmful to anyone's career. However, there IS one takeaway from this book that have begun applying to my professional life. Women tend to apologize a lot when it's not necessary. Since reading this book, I've stopped starting sentences with "I feel bad, but Too female. I don't want to be seen as a nurturer and not upper-management material. I loved this and I hated this.

Lois P. Frankel is a total pragmatist, which can be tough for an idealist like me to swallow. Throughout "Nice Girls" she argues that women who want to get ahead in business have to learn to play by the rules created by white men in corporate America. We have to learn to live and play within that structure.

Yet I've always held onto this starry-eyed idea that we should be able to create lives for ourselves that honor who we are and what we value. And this is probabl I loved this and I hated this. And this is probably why I stand to learn a LOT from Frankel, even while screaming and kicking my heels. Things I loved: all the lessons about how to be assertive, negotiate, and be decisive. Her case for why it's a bad idea to volunteer for secretarial duties and bring baked goods to work.

Her insistence that being a whistle blower or holding management to its policies or legal obligations won't get you anywhere. Overall, a recommended read for the assertiveness training alone. Just take everything else with a grain of salt. Jan 29, Fiona Heath added it. Loved some of the advice. Some was cliche, some was quite old fashioned. Overall, I'm going to stop saying sorry, or offering to do menial tasks. Jan 04, Stephanie rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , psychology.

Reading "Nice Girls" back in was a bit of a shock to me - an unpleasant one. So many of the negative behaviors Lois Frankel describes were things I did in the office on a regular basis. These behaviors were so ingrained in me: don't be too aggressive, apologize profusely for any misdeed, be grateful for any crumb tossed my way, and I sat with my foot folded under me ALL the time. I do agree with Frankel that it's difficult for women to get ahead by always being a "nice girl.

It's been nearly ten years since I first read this book, and no, I'm not in the corner office. But Frankel's advice has helped me to at least be perceived as more confident and assertive, even when I don't always feel it. This book provides some very helpful advice and insights for women of all ages and at all stages of their careers. Self-help books aren't really my thing and the tone in this book is often condescending, like she's talking to people who are emotionally adolescents.

That said, some of her points are great and no matter how much education in women's studies you or I or anyone has, the socialization we received as girls continues to cripple us in adult life. It's inescapable. I'm not exactly a shrinking violet but I recognized myself in some of her examples. Recommended for women in industries dominated by men a Self-help books aren't really my thing and the tone in this book is often condescending, like she's talking to people who are emotionally adolescents. Feb 06, Selena Stan rated it did not like it.

I could not identify any real added value in this book. There are some common sense ideas, while other points are simply soaked with feminism. I went through the book in hope of finding some rational advice to improve my business attitude. After around 10 randomly-chosen chapters I gave up Maybe the book would get a higher grade from less experienced readers in their early twenties, for example. For seasoned business women, it's a waste of time. This was awesome. I wish I had read it years ago. It helps with every day life as well.

I suggest this for all women. Sep 11, Alanoud rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Lois Frankel addresses in this amazing book, Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office, unconscious mistakes working women do that sabotage their careers. All of these mistakes are results of being socialized with stereotypical norms and roles.

Lois's main argument is that women themselves are the ones who carry out the whole responsibility.

Steal Something from Work Day

If they happen to be treated un respectfully or unfairly or even if they were perceived as weak and unprofessional workers, they are the ones to be blamed first. Through this book, the author provides many tactics and techniques in which women can be more aware of all the subtle massages they receive every day from society and how to deal with them correctly and efficiently.

By getting out of the girls ghetto, a woman can manage what she seeks out from her career. Moving from girlhood to womanhood is the aim of this book and NOT jumping to the men ghetto acting like if you are one of the dudes! In fact, that was what I liked the most about this book.

Honestly, I was shocked how very little unconsciously made up behaviors or words can negatively make a huge difference. This was an interesting read and while I don't agree to all the points the author made I still have the impression of getting some valuable insights. However, since I don't work in a big company I believe that some parts of the book just didn't address me.

There was definitely a point when I felt like 'I've heard that one before' but the author remained a little vague on what to do. But then, I don't expect someone to provide me all the answers. The book was a good place to start and I'll most l This was an interesting read and while I don't agree to all the points the author made I still have the impression of getting some valuable insights.

The book was a good place to start and I'll most likely pick it up later again to read some of the coaching techniques as well look up other essays and books. Jun 18, Marcella rated it it was ok. I need to clear out my library of unread books and am doing so by reading them. This one was given to me at a woman's leadership conference and so far falling short of the other book "Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman. Wouldn't recommend as there are definitely better books out there, but she said some true things and has some okay tips.

I probably make the majority of the mistakes, but am not as bothered. The alternative feels unaccessable and not someone I'd like to work for I need to clear out my library of unread books and am doing so by reading them.

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The alternative feels unaccessable and not someone I'd like to work for, man or woman. If you have a lot of assets, you might also look into setting up a trust. Keep your listed beneficiaries up to date for all your financial accounts, too. You surely know that the lower fees you pay for various financial services and accounts, the better. But you may not appreciate just how destructive unnecessarily high fees can be. The group paying the lowest fee, 0. One way to keep fees low is to favor index funds when you invest the money in your account, but even some index funds charge too much.

If you love your job, you may want to stay with it for many years. If you want to earn as much money as possible, though, it might be best to only stay at a job for a few years, before moving on. Another massive financial mistake is getting deeply mired in high-interest-rate debt, such as via credit cards. In such a situation, instead of being able to save and invest and grow your net worth, you'll be forking over gobs of money for interest alone, while trying to pay down your debts. It's hard to get ahead in such situations. Fortunately, debts can be paid off -- even seemingly huge ones.

Sometimes it's necessary to take on some debt in order to get through college. But be careful: It's easy for these debts to grow over time -- to levels that make life very hard. Balances also grow when recent graduates can't make the necessary monthly payments on the salaries they're earning. Perhaps go through college on a part-time basis, while working. Or make a stronger effort to get financial aid or scholarships. If you're deep in debt, it can be tempting to just make minimum payments.

That's not a smart move, though, as it just drags things out longer and costs you much more in interest. Your best move is never to get deep in debt in the first place. But if it happens, do whatever you need to do to pay it off as soon as possible. One good strategy is to pay off your high-interest-rate debt first.

Be sure that you're using the cards that serve your needs best. If you're in debt, for example, find the best balance transfer card for yourself or a good low-interest-rate card. If you're not in debt, consider cash-back cards or rewards cards. Think about where you do much of your spending, too. If it's often with one or two retailers, look for cards that give you discounts there. If you travel a lot, choose a good travel credit card. There's a good chance that you wish you'd learned more about money and investing when you were young, so that you would have started saving and investing long ago.

Well, don't let that happen to your kids or any children you care about. Teach your kids about money by sharing how you manage your own financial affairs. Let them see you paying bills and balancing checkbooks. Let them review credit card statements, learning what things cost.

Broken promises

Let them help you find bargains by using coupons or looking for sales and discounts. Raising financially savvy kids will not only make their futures more secure, but it can also make your own financial future stronger, as your kids will be less likely to need financial support from you. When investing in the stock market, you not only have to learn enough to make good decisions regarding which stocks to buy and when to do so -- but you also have to make sensible decisions about when to sell stocks. Don't sell any stocks you own for bad reasons, such as because of a rumor that may not be true, because it hasn't performed as expected over a very short period, or because the stock has fallen for what is likely a short-term reason.

On the other hand, good reasons to consider selling a stock are because you need the money now or within a few years, because you no longer have faith in the company's future, or because it seems to be very overvalued. The stock market will crash every few years -- it always has.

And it has always recovered, too, and gone on to hit new highs. Don't do that. Read up on investing enough to understand and expect volatility. The best thing to do when the stock market crashes is actually to go shopping -- for more shares of stock. After all, that's when lots of great companies will have depressed share prices. Better still, stocks that have fallen in price will have dividend yields that have risen proportionately. Be a rational, not emotional, investor. Whether you're trading stocks frequently or very frequently, you're probably doing yourself a disservice.

A good way to build great wealth with stocks is to buy into strong and growing companies and then to hold on to those shares for years, if not decades, through ups and downs. In the past 20 years, it has averaged annual gains of When you trade frequently, you don't give great stocks the time they need to grow powerfully, and you can be racking up trading commission costs, too, while ending up with your gains taxed at your ordinary income tax rate instead of the lower rate for long-term capital gains.

If you trade so frequently that you're a " day trader ," then you're even more likely to lose money instead of making it. Day traders typically suffer severe financial losses in their first months of trading, and many never graduate to profit-making status. Another investing blunder is buying into companies you really don't understand -- for example, you don't know exactly how they make their money.

Many Enron investors got burned by this -- even stock analysts were flummoxed by the company's complicated structure. Solid, non-scandal-ridden companies can still be dangerous, though, if you don't really understand them because that means you won't have a good handle on what might go wrong, how competitively strong they are, and how rosy their prospects are. Biotechnology companies, for example, can be very hard to understand, if you're not a scientist. Retail companies and delivery companies and food companies are examples of easier-to-understand businesses. You're probably leaving a lot of money on the table -- potentially several hundred dollars each year -- if you're not regularly shopping around for the best deals on insurance.

You might have the best auto insurance policy you could get right now, but next year another company's policy-pricing algorithms might offer you a better deal. This money-saving strategy just takes a few hours a year, and can pay off handsomely. Sit with your phone and call a host of insurance companies to get quotes for car insurance, home insurance, renters insurance, umbrella insurance -- and even health insurance. The case for buying renter's insurance if you rent your home is strong, but few people know it.

Know that your landlord isn't going to reimburse you if your television is stolen or if your computer is ruined by water damage.

Some renter's insurance policies even pay toward hotel and meal expenses if you end up out of your home due to some covered event. Call a few home insurers and see what they will charge you for renter's insurance. A big mistake you might be making that's sabotaging your financial future is if you're living beyond your means. Think about it: Do you spend all of every paycheck -- and then some? Are you in debt and is your balance growing instead of shrinking? Are you buying things you can't really afford? The best money managers live below their means. They may not even have a budget, but they have money left over after each pay period, and their bank accounts and brokerage accounts are slowly or not so slowly growing.

When they are faced with an unexpected expense, such as a car repair, they have the money. And when the time comes to retire, they're often in good shape then, too, thanks to having spent years living below their means. After all, debt means interest payments. Fortunately, there are lots of ways that you can save money on weddings , such as having it during an off-season or on a weeknight or a weekend afternoon.

You might also opt for a buffet meal instead of a served meal, and you might have the reception at a public park or in your church's reception hall instead of at a swanky venue. Make a few big purchases that you end up regretting and it can make a big dent in your future financial security. Fight this problem by giving yourself some rules.

Make yourself wait at least overnight, or ideally a few days before buying, to make sure you still want to buy. Try thinking about how much that money would grow to over 10 or 20 years. At the very least, you might end up talking yourself into a less costly purchase, such as a smaller TV or a less fancy car. As you go through your life, occasionally shopping, you're hurting your financial future if you're not seeking out discounts and using coupon or promo codes when shopping online. Some prominent coupon sites are retailmenot.

There are even some browser extensions -- such as Honey, Camelizer, or Cently -- you can use that will automatically alert you when there's a lower price to be found somewhere. Budgets can seem very boring, but they can help you reach exciting goals. If you find that you're not able to save as much as you'd like for your future, make a budget and make saving a priority in it. Approach the task like this: Figure out all your income sources and how much income you receive each month or so.

Then make a list of all your monthly expenses, converting annual, biannual, or quarterly expenses such as car insurance or property taxes to monthly amounts. Be comprehensive, including everything from food and clothing to entertainment, transportation, utilities, gifts, travel, and so on. A review of credit card statements and bank statements can help you figure out where you dollars go. Finally, decide how much money you want to be allocating to various categories, such as retirement savings, and if your spending goals are higher than your income, find places to trim.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to spend less. Here's a relatively simple way to improve your financial health: Pay your bills on time. If you don't do so, you run the risk of being slapped with penalty fees and hurting your credit score, too. Many cards don't have this feature, so ideally, only sign up for ones that don't, or at least favor and only use ones that don't. Speaking of credit scores, don't underestimate the power of a good credit score -- or a bad one -- when it comes time for you to borrow some money.

Check out the table below, which shows what kind of difference a strong score can make. The good news is that there are a bunch of ways to increase your credit score. If you've been maxing out your credit lines -- such as by borrowing as much as you can on each of your credit cards -- you're not only hurting yourself by accumulating a lot of costly debt, but you're also depressing your credit score.

When it comes to buying a home, a common mistake people make is buying more house than they can really afford. Mortgage lenders and real estate agents may even be directly or indirectly nudging you to do so, by approving you to buy a home with a steep maximum price or by showing you more costly homes than you should really be looking at. That will leave you with a bigger margin of safety, or cushion, in case unexpected expenses crop up, or in case someone in your household is out of work for a while. Remember that a costlier home will likely also come with costlier property taxes, insurance, utility expenses, maintenance, and repairs.

Remember that it's best to live below your means than to live above them. Another home-buying blunder is getting a mortgage that isn't best suited to your needs. Remember that you can get a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage ARM , and that you can get a loan that's set to last 15 years or 30 -- or even somewhere in between. If you know you're not going to be living in the home for more than, say, three to 10 years, you might opt for an ARM, as they tend to have lower interest rates. An ARM will offer a low introductory rate that will remain fixed for about three to seven years, generally, after which it will start being adjusted upward or downward every year, to more closely reflect prevailing rates.

If you are hoping to be in the home for decades, a fixed-rate mortgage will be your best bet, at least in a low interest-rate environment. If interest rates are high, give ARMs more consideration. When it comes to the length of your loan, know that a year mortgage will cost you much less in interest over the long run, but the monthly payments will be higher. Instead of committing yourself to higher payments, consider getting a year loan that has no prepayment penalty and making extra payments against principal regularly.

That will have the effect of shortening the life of the loan and shrinking your total interest paid. If you ever end up financially strapped, you can just make the regular, lower, payment. The lesson: If there's a k plan that you can participate in at your workplace, do it. Your company may have automatically enrolled you in its plan, which is good, but if so, look into exactly how your money in being invested.

1. Not asking for a raise

By default, it may be in some too-conservative choices that won't grow very quickly, and that can really hurt the future of young employees in particular. The younger you are, the more you should have in the stock market as opposed to bonds and other "safer," slower-growing alternatives. You may also be auto-enrolled at a low contribution rate. Increase that as much as you can, within reason. Even if you don't want to make full use of a workplace k , if your employer is offering any matching funds, as is typically done, be sure to at least contribute enough to get the maximum available matching funds.

Because it's free money. If you're looking for some extra money, you may be tempted to borrow from the stash that has accumulated in your k account. That's not a good idea, though, unless it's an emergency and you really have no better option. That's because you'll be removing dollars that could be working and growing for you -- dollars that may never be repaid if you run into more trouble.

Not repaying a k loan can result in penalties and taxes, too. Many people these days routinely cash out their k accounts when they change jobs. It can seem harmless enough, especially if you're only staying at each job for a few years and not accumulating a huge sum in any account. But each time you cash out, you're short-changing your retirement. So instead of cashing out, consider rolling over funds in your k into an IRA, where fees might be lower and investment options broader.

You might also roll it over into a k account with your new employer. Another option is to convert that money into an annuity that will pay regular sums monthly in retirement. Just be sure it's a fixed annuity and not a variable or indexed one, as those are more problematic. A good way to sabotage your financial future is to fall for scams -- and there are gobs of different scams out there, and lots of con artists hoping to hoodwink you. They often need to persuade you to give them personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account number, credit card number, address, birthday, and so on, and they will use that to try to get your tax refund sent to them, or to start collecting your Social Security checks, or to get money from your bank account -- sometimes by convincing you to send it to them!

Other scams involve sales people trying to get you to invest in terrible "opportunities" that sound terrific but that will likely leave you high and dry. They can be penny stocks, for example, that you read about online, or they might be exciting companies about to strike gold or cure cancer that someone cold calls you to buy.

You can protect yourself by trusting your gut if anything seems a bit too good to be true and by not considering opportunities that come to you. Instead, seek out great investment ideas on your own. If you're in need of a cash infusion, avoid payday loans at all costs -- because they are designed to cost a lot. Many of us have money leaking out of our bank accounts without our even noticing it -- via recurring expenses. Think, for example, of a gym you joined years ago that you no longer work out at. You might also have subscribed to some services or products that you no longer use, such as magazines, product protection or insurance plans for products you no longer own or use, and so on.

Even your cable TV is a recurring expense that you might not really use much these days if you're mostly streaming your nightly videos. Go through your credit card statements carefully and look for recurring bills you don't need to pay any more. There's a good chance you'll find at least one.

This is a financial blunder you may not realize you've committed until it's too late: Having too little insurance. That might mean not having any coverage at all -- perhaps life insurance or health insurance -- or having too little coverage, such as with a home insurance policy.