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3 Major Financial Worries And How To Survive Them

Can you afford to retire? Are you worried about sending your kids to college? Do you have medical bills that are stacking up? Is your personal debt mounting?

Are you prepared for a major financial issue? Here are some ideas and tips to be prepared.
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All of these are legitimate financial concerns, and are, unsurprisingly, common among people all around the world. All one needs is a bit of common sense to know that. But, as is often the case, there are several studies, polls and surveys to prove what everyone already knows.

Here’re three of the biggest worries and some tips to survive them

  • Retirement

A 2012 survey by LIMRA (Life Insurance and Market Research Association) found that 49% of Americans don’t have a retirement plan. It simply can’t compete with other, more immediate financial obligations, like mortgage payments and credit card debt. Unfortunately, debt has a way of mounting, which means that not only do you end up retired without any money, but you end up retired without any money and with no means to pay your creditors.

To avoid this situation you need to suck it up and start putting away some money every month. It doesn’t have to be an enormous amount, if all you can afford is $50, then start there, but try to build it up as much as possible. You need to stash it in a place where you won’t be able to access it easily. A 32-day savings account is ideal. Once you’ve saved a tidy sum, consult a financial advisor (banks usually offer free financial advice) and invest it.

  • Personal debt

We’ve come to rely on our credit cards, which are simultaneously financial lifesavers and deathtraps. They are often the only way to bridge the gap between our salaries running out and the end of the month. But, they come with high interest rates and temptation built in.

If you really can’t manage spending on your credit cards, cut them up. For the first month or two the shock will be tremendous and you might have to live on baked beans and rice for a few days, but it won’t take you long to adjust to a cash only way of life. What’s more, you’ll be able to pay off the debt you owe without accruing any more.

  • Rising cost of living

There is very little we can do about the rising cost of food, fuel and healthcare. What we can do is scoff at official government inflation statistics and then gird ourselves for a little self-sacrifice. For example, don’t eat out once a week or even once a fortnight. Cut it down to once every four or six weeks. When you do go out, take your own wine. Most restaurants offer corkage, so take advantage of it; and keep it down to two courses.

Cut down on your trips to the movies and when you do go, downsize your popcorn and soda. Join the library and take out books and DVDs instead of buying them. This is also cheaper than renting DVDs from the video shop.

Find your trainers, dust off your bike and get into the habit of leaving your car in the garage when you go out. You’ll probably find all the shops you need are within walking distance. This will also encourage you to shop only once a week and to buy more conservatively as you don’t want to lug too many heavy bags all the way home.

Consider starting a home business. Find your talent and make it work for you, literally. If you’re good at baking, start offering catering services for birthday parties. If you’re a keen photographer, start freelancing for … birthday parties. If you’re good at writing, start freelancing for … not birthday parties because very few people need help writing invitations. Instead, find magazines and newspapers that support freelancers and make enquiries. Many websites also use freelancers to manage their copy requirements.

Financially-speaking, life is hard. But, it can be manageable. You can find light at the end of the cold, dark tunnel. It takes sacrifice and it takes dedication and it means that you have to learn to say not to your kids every time they demand something new – which is perhaps the hardest thing of all.

Sandy Cosser writes for a financial services provider that offers personal loans, debt consolidation and vehicle insurance.

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