Your biggest money mistakes -- and how to avoid them

Avoiding risk

If the warning “Not FDIC-insured: Accounts could lose value” that comes with investment accounts like 401(k) plans, IRAs and mutual funds has you stashing money under the mattress, you could be hurting your financial future.

"To get greater returns, you have to take greater risks," says Mike Carpenter, author of The Risk-Wise Investor: How to Better Understand and Manage Risk. "Market drops are part of investing; rather than avoid it, come up with a plan to manage it."

Investment accounts are long-term savings vehicles. The value will fluctuate, but the returns — an average of 6.5% per year for a portfolio with 60% stocks and 40% bonds, according to USA Today — are still greater than any bank account. There are also tax advantages to contributing to a 401(k) or IRA.

Smart move: Consult with an adviser.

An adviser will assess your risk tolerance and create a portfolio that has the right balance of stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

A knowledgeable money management expert can "tilt the risk/reward balance in your favor" and "prevent emotion from overriding logic," Carpenter says.

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