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Avoid These Mistakes When You Are Under A Debt Burden

Avoid These Mistakes When You Are Under A Debt Burden

We live in a debt-ridden world where credit cards and bank loans are the new norm and the fact that they provide us with a much needed financial impetus in times of need adds to the increased inclination to opt for them. They provide us with financial semblance and help us to cover those purchases that we don’t have the money for right now, but we can certainly cough up in instalments over a longer period of time.

But, sometimes we do find ourselves under a debt burden as we skip on one or two of our payments and that added debt just continues to keep piling on and on, making our financial position highly vulnerable. We find ourselves under intense pressure due to the constant phone calls and notices to settle our outstanding debt, and in that very time we often commit mistakes that prove very costly in the long run. When we find ourselves under a debt burden, we should think with a steady mind and take note of tricks to get out of debt without haphazardness. These are the decisions you need to absolutely avoid when you are in debt:

1. Mortgaging Your Home

Real estate always has a considerable value and is one of those commodities that is zipped up fast in the financial world due to the demand supply gap in housing markets. But your home is the place you stay in and you bought it for that very purpose – you should never mortgage it to get a loan to pay your outstanding debts.

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This is the biggest mistake that people stuck in debt usually make. Leveraging your home to pay up your debts is never a good idea because that money will be given towards your creditors and you will end up creating another debt to settle the previous one and this time round, your house will be at stake. Even the slightest mistake here will deprive you of your precious house and render you homeless to bear the brunt of rentals and save again to get a new one for you and your family.

2. Borrowing Money From Your Acquaintances

We often look towards our friends and family for support in times of need and it’s a great feeling to know that someone has got your back, but having to borrow money to settle your debt burden from your close ones should be your last resort as this is a dangerous position to be in.

You borrowed money from your friend and there is no interest involved. You settled your loan but now if you don’t pay your friend on time and it gets late, you will end up compromising a precious relationship just for the sake of money and will still be left with a loan to pay to him or her. Never indulge in such practices as relationships are precarious and can be affected quite easily by disagreements on the pretext of the slightest of grievances.

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3. Opting for a One-Time Loan Settlement

Most of the financial institutions today keep the option of a loan settlement open for all defaulted loan payers so that they can get most of the money out of this transaction and close the account which keeps troubling them. It’s a great proposition for the loan houses but not so much for you as all of your credit and debt details land up on your credit report, which is a sort of financial resume for your future loan applications.

Getting a loan settlement will not only make your credit score drop down but will also highly affect your credit report. The transaction you just made to settle that loan will remain there for the next seven years and will render you unable to get another loan for yourself in the future, no matter how severe your need is that time.

4. Using your retirement savings

Most of us are of the perception that retirement is a far off thing and we have enough time on our hands to take care of how we end up after we are no longer suitably aged for the jobs that we hold. Hence, we think of using our retirement savings to settle our debts and this idea is also propelled by the fact that this is our money anyway.

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What we don’t realize here is that, our future selves are dependent on the actions we take today and that money takes a lot of time to compound. Taking money out of our retirement savings and then starting again from scratch will considerably lessen our money’s compounding power and we will be left with a lower amount than we require once our retirement becomes a reality.

When you get credit on a regular basis to fuel your lifestyle, debt accumulation becomes a high possibility but you are not alone. There are millions of people out there who default on their payments. It’s not good to do that but it does happen and people do get out of it without damaging their personal financial buffers.

Debt burdens definitely put us under a lot of pressure and anxiety, but things that took time to go wrong, will take time to come back in order as well. Discipline is the key here, keep maintaining a budgeted lifestyle, utilize discount offers, try earning more money through freelancing and don’t indulge in impulsive buying. Keep doing these things for a few months and the debt will take care of itself, leaving you with a high degree of experience and a sense of pride over how you handled the situation.

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Featured photo credit: Empty Pockets/Dan Moyle via flickr.com

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Muhammad Bilal Shahid

SEO Consutant and Marketing Manager at Dream Products Creation

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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