Here are a few of the things plaguing the finances of many people today and some tips on how to resolve them.
1. Credit Cards
The latest credit card statistics show the average American has an average of 3.1 credit cards with an average debt of $6,354. Collectively, there Americans hold about $815 billion in credit card debt.
Credit card debt is some of the worst kind of liability you can have. They tend to have high interest rates, some over 20% APR. That means if you have the average debt of $6,354 at 20%, you are paying the credit card company $1,270 just in interest every year. The high interest doesn't even include the annual and late fees most credit card companies charge.
Tips to Fix: The best way to get out from underneath these oppressive credit card debts with high interest is to cut them up and stop using them. Then start paying down your credit card debts, starting with the lowest balance card.
Why start with your lowest balance card vs the highest interest card? Because you need a quick win. You'll feel a lot better emotionally and will stay more motivated if you pay one off completely first.
2. Saving for Retirement
There was a time when most people worked for the same company for 30 years and retired with full pensions. That combined with social security took care of all their needs for the rest of their lives. Some even lived very comfortably into retirement, just on the pension.
That is no longer our current reality. Most people never stay longer than just a few years at any given company.
Most companies no longer offer pensions and those that due are increasingly in danger of bankruptcy or restructuring, putting pensions at risk. Some state and local governments are no longer able to fulfill their pension benefit obligations due to poor fiscal management.
Tips to Fix: The best way to start saving up a nest egg is the 401K. Most employers offer it, makes for a great legal tax shelter and you take it with you when you move on to another organization.
Another benefit is your company may match your contribution up to a certain amount, thereby increasing the contributions. It was a nice little way for employers to replace pensions.
3. Healthcare Costs
Healthcare didn't cost nearly as much as it does now. In 1960, total healthcare spending was at $23.3 billion. It has now ballooned to $2.8 trillion in 2016 and it's growing fast.
Most people can't afford to not work full time anymore, just for the health benefits. It's also another huge reason fewer and fewer people decide to go into business for themselves. They'd have to make an additional thousands of dollars a month in order to just pay for health insurance.
Tips to Fix: Unfortunately, there aren't a ton of things you can do other than take preventative measures. Eat healthy, exercise, don't smoke, sleep and don't stress out. If you can do those few things well, you'll limit those doctors visits and health complications.
4. Identity Theft
With the advancements in technology also comes advancements in theft. Identity theft has skyrocketed since our economy has moved into the digital era. Billions of dollars are being lost due to ID theft and it's not something we had to battle virtually at all even just a few decades ago.
Tips to Fix: Depending on what exactly was stolen, you'd have to shut down bank accounts, cancel credit cards and even hire an agency that specializes in ID theft. You can also now buy ID theft insurance and monitoring services to guard against attacks.
5. Budgeting Wasn't Optional
It was the case in the past that if you didn't have the cash, you couldn't purchase what you wanted. That's completely backwards now.
Today, most people determine affordability, not on how much cash they currently have in their wallets or checking accounts. They decide its affordable based on if they can afford the monthly payments.
Don't have $20,000 in cash for a brand new car? No problem because the payments are only $500 a month with 7%. That is the new mindset people live in.
The ease of credit these days has enabled an entire generation of irresponsible spenders who get themselves into bad debt. It's also created a generation of people who no longer know how to budget.
The mindset no longer living within your means. It's not about how much monthly payment can I afford.
Tips to Fix: Simple. Learn to do a budget. Live within your means. Easier said than done.
6. Cost of Living
The median home price in 1963 was $17,200. It is now up to $225,300 and rising in most states.
It's not just housing prices that have exploded over time. We've already talked about rising cost of healthcare, but we have also seen it in college tuition, food, transportation and other basic needs we have as a society.
Tips to Fix: Relocating to a lower cost of living index area could be an option. With many jobs have the option of working remote has allowed freedom to relocate without having to start over with a new job.
Life was a lot simpler in years past. With new advancements also comes new problems. But if you're resilient and intent on getting your financial house in order, there are ways to face these challenges and win in life and money.