code-redDana Anspach at MarketWatch wrote about 8 financially devastating mistakes (aka “Code Reds”) that must be avoided:

1. Believe in a stock
The company you work for is doing well. You understand the potential of the business. You should own a lot of company stock. After all, it shows your level of commitment, right? 
You can lock in lifestyle by taking risk off the table. If trusted advisers are telling you to reduce risk, listen. You can’t take your “belief” in your company stock to the bank. Owning a lot of company stock doesn’t demonstrate a commitment to your company; it demonstrates a lack of commitment to your own personal financial planning.

2. Get reeled into real estate
Rental real estate is a good way to build wealth with someone else’s money, isn’t it? I mean, that’s what the infomercials say.
Investing in real estate is a profession in and of itself. With real estate prices on the rise again, don’t get reeled in with the lure of easy passive income. It isn’t as easy as it looks.

3. Follow a Tip
An opportunity to double your money is an investment opportunity worth pursuing. It could change your life, right?
Tips are great for your waiter or waitress. But where you family’s future is concerned, avoid the tips, and stick with a disciplined and diversified approach.

4. Change lanes — every year
Smart investors watch the market and frequently move money into the latest high performing investment, right?
You’ve probably noticed if you constantly changes lanes on a backed up highway, always trying to inch ahead, you usually end up farther behind. Driving this way isn’t effective; investing this way isn’t effective either. Pick a disciplined strategy and stick to it. Jumping from investment to investment is only going to slow you down.

5. Play the currency cards
Experts can deliver higher returns, right? Find someone who knows how to trade, and you’ll be set.
If experts could generate such high returns, why would they need your business? Don’t play the currency cards, the expert cards, or fall for any kind of outlandish promises. I’ve yet to see one of these programs work the way it was marketed.

6. Follow your ego
Better investments are available to those with more money, right? If you get the opportunity to participate in something exclusive, it is likely to deliver better returns.
If someone appeals to your ego, walk away. When it comes to investing, the only thing I’ve seen egos do is help someone lose money.

7. Follow their ego
You can trust prestigious people in your community. That’s why you should do business with them, right?
Checks and balances are good in government and in investing. One way to make sure checks and balances are in place is to work with an investment adviser that uses a third party custodian. The third party custodian sends account statements directly to you. The investment adviser can make changes in your account, but the transactions are reported to you directly by the custodian, who isn’t and should not be affiliated with the investment adviser.

8. Leverage up
Borrowing at low interest rates and investing in high growth assets is an excellent way to accumulate wealth, isn’t it?
Think twice before borrowing to invest. It causes ruin more often than it causes riches.

Visit MarketWatch to read Anspach’s full article.