The Top 5 Worst Possible Things You Can Do With Your Savings

You’ve scrimped and sacrificed and stretched every dollar to put some of your hard-earned money aside in a savings account. That’s a huge accomplishment! You should be commended for doing what many people only dream about — having a pile of money in savings.

However, don’t get too comfortable or you could find yourself blowing it all. Here are five of the worst possible things you can do with your savings.

1. Play the Lottery

Okay, this one was easy. But many people spend the money they could be putting into savings on lottery tickets. Let’s pretend you have $10,000 in savings and caught the $640,000,000 MegaMillions lottery bug. The chances of hitting the big one were 1 in 175,711,536. Buying 10,000 tickets brings your odds of winning down to 1 in 17,571, but it also greatly increased your chances of losing it all! Ouch!

Related: How Lottery Savings Accounts Fool You Into Saving More

2. Buy a Viatical Settlement

Purchasing the beneficiary position of someone else’s life insurance policy is called a viatical. No income or interest comes from an investment like this and you only receive a payoff when the insured passes away.

This is similar to buying a zero coupon bond with an uncertain maturity date, not to mention it’s a bit on the sleazy side. You could probably do better buying some more traditional investments rather than wringing your hands, hoping to get paid sooner than later in order to make the purchase profitable. Yuck.

3. Purchase a Timeshare

Timeshares are great, but they are horribly expensive! Taking money away from a savings account to purchase a timeshare is like paying a high price to reserve a really nice hotel room and pray that you are able to use it when you’re ready to go on vacation. There are also annual maintenance fees that you are responsible for paying (whether you use the timeshare or not) and there’s no refund if your trip is cancelled due to bad weather, like a hurricane in Vero Beach.

Keep reading: How to Save Money During the Peak Travel Season

4. Pay Off Your Partner’s Debts

Helping your boyfriend out with his debt problems might sound like a great idea initially. However, you change the structure of the relationship when the person you are dating becomes your debtor.

How would you feel about going on an extravagant trip with your boyfriend after loaning him money to pay off his truck? During the lobster dinner you are thinking “This bum couldn’t afford to pay off his truck, so how is he paying for the caviar?”

Also, studies have shown that asking for a signed agreement stating that he will pay you back is tacky. That study was conducted by me and an old girlfriend. Bye bye, money.

5. Help a Nigerian Prince Out

How great would it be to receive a letter from an overseas dignitary that is too embarrassed or has a legal problem where he needs your help to get a huge sum of money out of the country? Promises of sharing a few million dollars with you by allowing him to transfer the funds into your bank account sounds too good to be true. But all it takes is for you to wire him a few thousand dollars to get the process started. Oh, you’ve received a Nigerian letter too? How long have been waiting for the deposit? Patience, Steve, patience.

Don’t Have Savings Without Having a Savings Goal

Seriously, having money in savings is a responsibility. Every dollar should have a mission, something that it is sitting there for like emergencies, a down payment on a house or maybe a vacation to your favorite timeshare location. If savings has no goal, then one day you might find that it has been spent on the worst possible thing.

Photo credit: Mike Poresky

  • Sharky

    I save up for hookers and pot.

  • Andrei Petrovic

    These tips are really interesting and possibly helpful in the future. I’m glad you posted this one out. I could be doing one thing and lose my cash in the same way.

  • Deen Law

    Well who ever wrote this article is an ignorant racist with a very myopic knowledge of the world. No. 5 ” Help a Nigerian” is an insult to many educated Nigerians who are very successful in their fields, who are not scam artists, and most importantly an idiotic characterization of a whole country by the activities of a few miscreants.
    If I may educate you, Bernie Madoff pulled the largest Ponzi scam in the US, swindling even some other people in the financial industry. Wall street unbridled sale of toxic financial instruments almost collapsed the whole world economy, may I then ask you Steve Stewart, if that makes Americans ( a country I’m mightily proud of ) to be portrayed as a country of swindlers? Can you ever imagine the amount of spam mails I get in this country from people trying to steal my financial information. I guess a point in example is the fraud at target? Some of us Nigerians take exception to small minded educated ignorant people parading themselves as experts.

    • onitis

      Lighten up Francis.The author is only recalling the frequent scam that many receive via email regarding a Nigerian Prince.I thought his article was very good and also humorous and not at all racist.People like you however,using the race card at every little chance are the problem.Bernie Madoff was a jew ,so if i use your own reasoning then you are anti-semetic in your post.Of course its silly,so lighten up and take that stick out of wherever it is.

    • liberty619

      chill out bro.

    • jerry bouchet

      Let’s face reality Deen blacks don’t trust blacks so what does that tell you?

      • Deondre Patrick

        There are also many whites that don’t trust other whites, which would be considered character, not race, issues please refrain from fueling this man’s fire. He clearly thought too much into passage No. 5

  • Asif

    Wow this article is racist!!! The journalist should be fired or needs some serious diversity training

    • truthteller2000

      How is this racist? Very common scam coming out of Nigeria. I have also received a similar letter as described above. I also received a letter saying I won a European lottery . If the author said that would it still be racist? ……. No it wouldn’t so stop bitching ya bitch

  • Shiela

    Calm down people… the writer is clearly identifying a common scenario used by email scammers. people on the web need to stop being so sensitive.

  • Dan Macleod

    Wow….doesn’t take much to be deemed a racist these days. Crazy!

  • Jonathon W

    Tough day when people can’t laugh at advice mixed with humor. Thanks for the tips and the chuckle