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25 Shocking Statistics About Personal Finance in the US
Posted By Ron On September 19, 2012 @ 7:29 AM In Personal Finance | Comments Disabled
I was recently able to take part in a personal financial seminar where the speaker informed us of some shocking statistics about personal finance in the United States. I’m not sure where he got all these numbers on the state of personal finance but they aren’t unreasonable and they point to the fact that we as a nation have a long way to go before any “recovery” can actually take place in our own finances. Certain businesses or industries may be seeing a little bit of a recovery, but for the most part, individuals are not taking part in it.
Personally, I was shocked that things were STILL this bad but several searches on the Internet confirmed that his statistics were relatively accurate. In some cases, the numbers were even worse than his.
Recognize yourself in any of those statistics? If you do, what can you do to reverse the trend?
First, we have to take responsibility. Realize that the reason we’re in the shape we’re in is because of choices we’ve made in the past. Only when we take responsibility for our actions can we begin to recognize destructive behaviors, stop them, and begin again in a new direction.
Second, we have to decide to become financial independent. We cannot depend on government or the generosity of others when we’re fully capable of setting our own course and working to get there. You may have to take on a second job to make extra money  or sell some items to generate cash to pay off debt.
Third, we have to establish and live by a budget (try the Mint.com budget  – it’s FREE). We have to recognize the difference between needs and wants and we have to stop indulging ourselves in every luxury that comes down the pike because “a luxury once sampled becomes a necessity .”
Fourth, we have to pay off our beloved credit cards each and every month. Having one isn’t bad … it isn’t wrong … it isn’t Satan in the form of plastic. But it could be your downfall if you let it get out of control. Running a balance = out of control. But if you cannot handle credit, move your bank account  to a PerkStreet checking account  – get debit card rewards and a MasterCard debit card for those times you have to use plastic.
Fifth, we have to save 15% of each and every paycheck. Put those funds into a savings account  and when the balance reaches $5,000, move half of it into an Roth IRA investment account at Scottrade , Vangard, or some other online brokerage. Invest  those funds into broad based index funds and stay away from individual stocks unless you’re SURE you know what you’re doing. IF YOU DON’T work with an investment advisor .
Monitor and track your progress, both with getting your expenses and debt under control and with how well your cash reserves and investments are growing. Make adjustments and revise your strategy along the way. TAKE control, don’t just let things happen.
If your employer offers a 401k , particularly one with matching funds, dive in and take advantage of it.
Make sure YOU are not just another statistic.
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