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Money Fears 2018 

Mike about Money | How to end your financial fear and worry!


Wallet Hub just completed its annual Halloween financial fears survey. What scares or stresses you out the most? In order of highest concern is Money (29%), Politics (25%), Health (17%), Terrorism (12%), Economy (9%) and Work (8%).

Interesting how the topics ended up in importance to us. I get Money being the top concern but I can’t understand why Health, work, and the economy aren’t much higher on the list. There is no reason to worry about politics. All you can really do is vote and encourage others to exercise their right to vote. In the end, all the rhetoric around politics is meaningless once you go into the voter booth. And, if you choose not to vote, then you have declined your basic right to have a say in the outcome, so, again, don’t worry about something you can’t control.

Terrorism? It is a scary thing but, given its random nature, all you can do is keep yourself and your family as safe as possible by avoiding known terrorist locations and countries and trust that our military and police are working 24/7 to keep us safe. Unless you work in the anti-terrorism industry, there is no reason to stay awake at night worrying about terrorism. Yes, it can happen and you could be involved in a random attack as we've seen lately. But, worrying about it won't protect you. Taking precautions, being aware and ready in case of an incident, including being in good physical shape so you can escape from danger if you need to are the best things you can do. Your control is limited.

I am much more concerned about my Health, the Economy and my Work, than Politics or Terrorism. Health has to be number one. If you lose your health, you are at risk of not being able to go to work and earn money. As a group, Americans can be, and should be, healthier. Work on keeping healthy. Living a healthy lifestyle is definitely within your control. Plus, you’ll be happier if you are healthier.

The economy is very important to our ability to earn money, have jobs, and afford things like food and our mortgage. The economy, as we learned in 2008-2010, can be manipulated and fall apart around us,  causing all sorts of chaos with home ownership, jobs, credit, and life in general. The economy plays a major role in your ability to have a job and earn money so, I definitely put the economy high up on my list of concerns. Keep an eye on the economy. Most people don’t pay attention to economic reports. They’d rather hear the latest from Hollywood. Your family’s future relies on the economy and your knowledge, at least at a basic level, of what is going on around you, and, how economic conditions will impact your income, savings, and ability to maintain and grow your lifestyle.   

The biggest financial fears that people in the survey reported were, in order:

  1. Unplanned emergencies
  2. Not having enough retirement savings,
  3. Fraud
  4. Job loss
  5. Loss of health insurance
  6. Poor Credit


Unplanned emergencies are bound to happen. The key to surviving an unplanned emergency is to save at least one thousand dollars (or an amount that makes you comfortable), in an easily accessible savings account to pay for emergencies. Once you've saved at lest $1,000, take this topic off of your worry list.

Not enough retirement savings is a major problem for most Americans. This is a savings problem. The sooner you start saving for retirement, like, in your 20’s, the better. This is also a spending problem. If you carry high amounts of expensive credit card and other debt, you will have less to save and invest for retirement. Get rid of the debt and then start working on saving for retirement.

In this digital world we are all at risk of fraud especially through the internet. Protect yourself using all the techniques available to you. Never give money to anyone for any investment or other project that you don’t fully understand and have done due diligence upon, and that is really, all you can do to avoid fraud. Don’t worry so much about it. Just protect your family and focus on more important things within your control like debt reduction and saving.

Job loss is scary but you can protect yourself in many ways. First, by appreciating the fact that you have a job. Don’t get complacent and forget that "first day" feeling when you got your job and were so happy about it. Be the best at your job. If you are the best person doing your job, not only at your company, but in your industry, chances are you will not lose your current job and, in fact, if you’re the best, you will likely be offered higher paying jobs at other companies. Insulate yourself from staff reductions by making yourself as valuable as possible to your current company. In the end, keep your resume up to date, grow and nurture your network of friends and colleagues, and be ready should you ever need to find a new job.  Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the worst happens to begin working on a resume or staying in touch with people you know at other companies.

Loss of health insurance is a legitimate concern. I think this one should be higher on the worry meter. As insurance costs go higher it becomes more difficult for employers and individuals to afford it.  This is usually connected to job loss so see the previous paragraph for instructions.

Poor credit is a symptom of other issues. Not something to worry about. On the contrary, it is definitely something you can have a direct impact upon starting today. You can boost poor credit almost immediately by paying down credit card balances. If you are using more than 30% of your available credit balance on any credit card or cards, those should be your first target. Once you get a balance below 30% of the available credit, you will see an increase in your credit score. Pay your credit bills on time, all the time, don’t cancel accounts you’ve had open for several years, and reduce your overall debt and your credit will improve drastically. This is one you control so stop worrying and start managing your credit higher. If you need help with that, we have several articles on mikeaboutmoney.com to help you.

54% of people think credit cards are a trick, not a treat and 40% of people are scared that they use Credit Cards too much. I’d say the percentage should be higher. If you use credit cards and do not pay off the balance at the end of the month, you should be very scared. Especially in this environment of increasing interest rates. The cost of carrying a credit card balance is expensive and getting more expensive. Credit Card average interest rates are at an all time high as of October 2018.

Don’t let anything keep you up all night. Worry will not get you anywhere. Thinking about the things you can control is very helpful. So, face your fears, prioritize your goals, create a plan or plans, and Take Action with some of these suggestions and others; then, rest easy knowing you are doing everything in your power to avoid trouble. Be in control of what you can control!

 

 

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