Tag Archives: savings
I don’t like talking about debt. But I spend a lot of time talking (and writing) about debt. Mainly because our nation is drowning in debt. From the recent college graduate with $80,000 in student loans, to the middle-aged working class adults that are still paying off student loans but have added a mortgage, car payments, credit car balances, and a home equity line; our nation has a serious debt crisis.
According to an article at Business Insider that published the results of a Trading Economics study, out of 30 countries, America ranks #10 for having the most debt. Americans have a collective $1.14 trillion in auto debt, $1.28 trillion in student loans, and $8.82 trillion in mortgage debt. The total household debt of Americans is up to $8.82 trillion (as of the third quarter of 2016).
These numbers give America a household-debt-to-GDP number of 78.8%; making us the country with the 10th highest debt.
Saving for retirement is not a static event. You can’t merely put a dollar amount into a 401k at age 25 and continue for the next 35 years. Retirement saving is an ever-changing event that will depend on your idea of retirement. For those that want a more quiet retirement at home, less might be needed. And for those that want to travel and buy new things regularly, more might be needed.
More money will be spent during this time of year than any other. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is a lot of money flying around. And, as people eagerly cross items off their Christmas shopping list, it causes many people to think about their financial position.
It might surprise you to know just how many people don’t have a budget. Or, maybe that won’t be surprising at all. As a financial professional, I regularly ask people about their budget only to have them look at me sheepishly and say they don’t have one. It’s a problem that spans generations. From people in their 20’s to people preparing to retire, there is a lot of people that don’t have a budget.
So you’ve decided you need to get your financial house in order. You see the need to save for emergencies, future purchases, and retirement. Now that you’re ready to take those important steps, you’re wondering where to start and what to do first. With such an important task before you it’s necessary to make sure you do it right.
I suggest starting with a budget. The foundation of any successful financial strategy is a budget. You can’t know how much to save or where to save if you don’t know how much money is coming in and how much is going out each month. A budget is nothing more than a detailed list of your income and your expenses. You can start by simply making a list on a piece of paper showing how much you bring home each month, and how you pay out for things like cable, cell phone, food, gas, and car insurance. It’s a simplified version of a budget, but it’s a great place to start on your journey to financial freedom.
The need for saving money is critical to everyone and yet it seems to be a constant struggle. Few people know about the options available to them for saving money. This is reflected in shocking statistics like 6 out of 10 Americans have less than $25,000 saved for retirement. Every person hopes to retire one day and still so many find it hard to save for that day.
Recent articles have reported that cash reserves are at all-time highs. People are keeping cash in bank accounts and other cash equivalents (CD’s and Money Market accounts) in an effort to be prepared if the economy crashes. While this might make us sleep better right now, it’s not the wisest way to plan for the future. Between taxes and inflation, keeping cash is a safe way to lose money each year. While it is highly advisable to keep some cash liquid for emergencies, keeping the majority of your assets in cash is not a good plan for preparing for, or living in retirement.
For those who are wondering where to start with investing, take a look at this article.