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7 Causes People Get Into Debt

7 Causes People Get Into Debt
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    Have you ever thought of why you are in debt? Have you ever scrutinized the reasons behind your debt problems? We know that debt can lead us to disastrous consequences in our lives. It can consume our assets, bring on mental stress and even hurt our relationships. There are multiple factors that compel people into debt, this is because many are not aware of the causes behind it. Although there are effective debt elimination programs like debt consolidation, debt settlement etc, we must be aware of the causes that leads to great financial errors  so we can avoid be consumed by debt.

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    Understand the causes of debt below to make sure that it doesn’t take over your life in the future.

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    1. Reduced Income: Often your expenses exceed your income. If you delay in taking care of handling your life with a lower income then you are sure to start to take on debt. Make sure that you understand your changed income and create a budget and a plan as soon as possible.
    2. Divorce: More than half of American marriages end up in divorce and with it comes strain on personal finances. The laws in America govern what should be done with a couple’s money during a divorce settlement. When one party demands too much, the other will be forced to go into debt to pay for attorneys as well as what their partner deems necessary as part of the settlement.
    3. Poor Money Management: Most of the time, poor budgeting invokes debt. You must have a monthly budget. Without a proper budget, you will not be able to track your expenses. If you write down your spending for an entire month you can see exactly where you money ends up. This is the best way to learn where you can cut some unnecessary expenses and help yourself avoid debt.
    4. Underemployment: People often feel that underemployment is temporary, but it can have a lasting effect on your life, especially if you have to go into debt to make ends meet. If you are underemployed, calculate your expenses and start looking for a second job. This might eliminate your chances of falling in debt.
    5. Gambling: Is one of the most beloved forms of entertainment for Americans. However in reality, it is just a guaranteed exchange of money from you to “the house”. As loans are easily available today, one becomes easily addicted to the idea of “winning big” and striking it rich. In fact, gambling can easily lead to you effortlessly mortgaging your future to “the house” as you try to win back what you have lost.
    6. Medical Expenses: Lapsed policies and expensive medical treatments make this one of the easiest ways to fall into debt. Everything to do in the medical realm costs money and usually a lot of it. On top of that doctors and hospitals are becoming more and more impatient with people that don’t pay their bills on time. Because of this they tend to turn in patients that don’t have the money to collection agencies. When you don’t have the money to pay for your doctor visit it can be easy to put the bill on a credit card or even to take a loan out to avoid collections.
    7. Little Savings: If you want to avoid unwanted debt, try to be prepared for unexpected expenditures by saving some money. If you have decent savings in place you can use it for emergencies like severe illness, a job-loss or divorce without increasing your debt. Believe me, no one ever regrets saving money for emergencies.

    The above mentioned causes of debt are very common for Americans and can be easy to fall into. However, if you develop good money management and budgeting skills, you can avoid them. Another thing to remember is that it is important to spend within your means, which will further prevent the reduction of your wealth. By taking prudent steps toward financial responsibility you will can greatly reduce the probability of sinking into and accruing more and more debt.

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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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