Money is not exactly the root of all evil, but it can give a person a massive headache. 1 in 4 Americans say that money is something that is on their minds the most, daily. That’s a large number, by any standard, and one that was discovered in the Life + Money Survey conducted by the GOBankingRates 2015. While a quarter of people worry about money on a daily basis, over half of those are concerned about three or more financial problems at a time.
Naturally, one of the best ways to combat financial issues is to confront them – even if that means a temporary loan, to get rid of an emergency payment before it escalates (maybe your car broke down and you can’t get to work without it. If you can’t work, those debts will just get worse). You can apply for a prosper personal loan here, for example, to help you in a pinch.
The message is, however you decide to face these concerns, is to face them. You can declaw the fear of debt and money management by taking direct action, feeding the feelings of progress and accomplishment instead. It’s not as scary as it might seem, and as you will see there are things that can be done, depending on the concern.
For many people, the single biggest concern is just making ends meet. Budgets can be a struggle to stick with for many people, with a fifth of people saying that budgeting is their biggest financial concern. This isn’t all that surprising, however,since that the struggle of sticking to a budget, for around two thirds of people, comes from them not having that much of a budget to start with such is the cost of living in modern America.
How do you fix the problem of overspending and not being able to stick to a budget? The first step is to work out your income and expenses for the month. While doing this, look to see where you could save a couple of dollars – there is always something can be trimmed back. For instance, you could eat takeout less or switching your cable TV package for a cheaper one. Quitting smoking can save a lot of money too, and improve your overall health into the bargain.
Setting out a monthly plan in this way allows you to see your income vs expenses in a big-picture kind of a way, and helps you stick to budgets better.
If this is a concern of yours then you are not alone, not even close. Over half of the population of the United States have no retirement savings to speak of, and almost 30% of those don’t have savings or a pension plan either, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. With figures like that, is it any wonder that planning for retirement is one of the biggest concerns of Americans in 2017.
People that are approaching retirement age, unsurprisingly, have a more finely tuned sense of urgency about building up their savings. Those aged between 55 to 64 are among those most likely to say that retirement saving is their biggest financial worry.
Fixing this problem is a little trickier than simply ‘saving’ or budgeting. That said, it is still better to face these things head on rather than ignore it and hope it all works out. You should always aim to save the maximum amounts per year that you can, however. For example, employee contributions in 2015 for 401ks were $18k. People aged over 50 can also add an extra ‘top-up’ of $6k a year so that they can catch up.
Even if you are behind with contributions, hitting the maximums now will help you be better prepared. If you are not involved with a 401k, then that obviously has to be your first priority. Additionally, if you able to get professional help then you should probably do so in order to get your accounts in order.
Credit card and medical debts can be financially crippling, and sometimes impossible to avoid, at least in the case of medical debts. This very real struggle is highlighted in the GOBankingRates survey, linked to above. The survey mentions that credit card debt is a significant worry for roughly 12% of all Americans today.
Getting on top of credit card and medical debts and taking ownership of them is crucial and to achieve this you need to get a firm grip on your financial habits. If this means a lifestyle change so that money can be diverted from non essential items to pay off debts then so be it. Own that debt and do something about it. Living within your means, and even lower, does not mean that you have to live like you are penniless, it just means being smarter with your lifestyle / purchasing choices.
Lack of emergency funds
When wages don’t increase, there are several side effects that can be seen almost immediately. Savings rates don’t improve for a start, and saving for that rainy day just gets harder not to mention living expenses increasing which is an issue on its own when income stays the same. Finding that extra bit of cash to put away in case of emergency is a non-starter for many people.
Those people on lower incomes to begin with often say that the rainy day / emergency fund issue is one of their top concerns. Not having that buffer, in case something goes wrong, can leave people feeling exposed and vulnerable, sometimes being just one mishap away from total disaster. If your car dies on you for example, and there is no money saved away to fix it, then that could result in a lost job – making the situation far worse than it could have been.
Over half of Americans will experience this kind of stress at some stage, and it isn’t just the threat of losing a job. Medical expenses can be a massive problem too, as can issues around the home such as burst pipes or broken water heaters.
This problem can be addressed by stowing away just a few dollars a month. Even just $20 can have a profound effect later down the line should the unthinkable happen. This could be extra cash from anywhere. Small change from the store, refunds… Anything that can be deposited.
You are not alone if you are struggling with finances, and there are things that can be done to help yourself. Hopefully you will now have some idea on how to proceed.