While the multitude of fiscal tools we now have at our disposal can be immensely beneficial, they are also able to make our own lives considerably more expensive when we make poor choices using them. And even sound financial decision-making can’t save you from all of the money problems that plague us nowadays.
Credit card debt
While specialty credit cards like the Diners Club card have been around for a while, general-purpose credit cards are a more recent addition to our wallets.
How to repair it: If you are stuck with a lot of credit card debt, getting it paid off can seem about as simple as eating an elephant. The solution for both problems is the same: stay calm and tackle the problem one bite at a time. Temporarily cutting back on nonessential expenses can help a lot, since the quicker you pay off that debt, the less interest you will pay and therefore the less money you’ll have to repay on the whole thing.
Saving for retirement
Once upon a time, people worked for the same company their entire working lives, and in the end of their career, they retired with a large pension. Today, only 32 percent of couples have some pension at all, and that number is trending steeply down as company pensions continue to evaporate. That means the responsibility for financing a worker’s retirement falls almost entirely on the worker. And given how bad Americans are at saving money, a lot of retirees encounter severe income shortages consequently.
How to fix it: The sooner you begin saving for retirement, the easier it will be: Cash which sits in your retirement account for decades has plenty of time to become fruitful and multiply. If you didn’t start saving immediately, however, your situation is definitely not hopeless. You’ll only need to work a little harder to squeeze more money out of your budget and be more educated about paying yourself first. Fortunately, employees now have access to powerful tax-advantaged retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, which can help optimize whatever savings they can accrue.
While identity theft in one type or another is most likely as old as humanity, it didn’t become a significant issue until quite recently. For instance, the development of credit cards supposed that fraudsters could simply steal somebody’s pocket and go on a spending spree with their cards rather than being restricted to whatever cash was in the victim’s possession. And computers and the internet provide fraudsters with unprecedented access to sensitive financial information. In 2016 alone, 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft.
How to fix it: the very first step in preventing identity theft is that it’s difficult for folks to get in your financial information. Even introducing something of a challenge which makes it likely that fraudsters will go elsewhere in search of easier prey. Checking your credit report on a regular basis may also help you catch any fraud early on, thus minimizing its size.
Ridiculously Higher health care costs
The healthcare market has made huge scientific advances from the past 50 years, but all of that work has arrived at a very literal cost. In 1967, Americans spent $43.5 billion on healthcare costs. That’s a great deal more of an increase than inflation alone can clarify — and far more than most people can manage.
How to repair it: medical insurance is a financial requirement nowadays; virtually no one can pay such high health care costs unassisted. You can save quite a bit on insurance premiums by choosing up a repayment plan paired with an HSA, then putting enough at the HSA to pay a minimum of one year’s deductible. This way, you will have enough saved up to cover for any health care expenses until the insurance plan kicks in and takes over for you.
Protect yourself from fiscal disasters
Prevention is generally the best cure, and among the simplest ways to keep yourself out of financial disasters is to get an emergency savings account. As an example, if you’ve got sufficient money to cope with financial crises and large expenses, you’re never going to have to run up a mountain of credit card debt in the first place. Think of your emergency savings as the lowest priced insurance plan you will ever purchase.