Effective personal finance, credit improvement, savings strategies. Americans need a deeper understanding in these areas. Who doesn’t want a better chance to be successful and wealthy? The truth is every year Americans are struggling more and more to attain their financial goals.
Dean Myerow Finance: A Personal Finance Blog
I have recently started my very own personal finance blog: Dean Myerow Finance. This is my response to the financial struggles I read and hear about every day. For instance, the average credit card debt per household in 2016 was $8,377. That’s a 6% increase in average credit card debt from 2015 which was at $7,893. This recent trend in increased debt is bound to continue this year. With consumer confidence hitting its highest all time level this year and the stock market also seeing record highs, we are heading towards volatility.
To ensure you and your family are covered in an emergency, you need a solid financial foundation. This was my motivation in starting the blog. The opportunity to learn basic personal finance is not given to the average person these days.
Learning basic personal finance is imperative for financial success. Making money is half the battle; knowing what to do with that money is the important half.
In a 2016 study by the Council for Economic Education found that only 17 states require high school students to take courses in personal finance. In the area of personal finance, High school students today are left to their own devices. These students are left at a great financial disadvantage. In fact, the difference has been measured: Students who have taken these courses in rudimentary personal finance outperform those who did not in the areas of credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates.
Our public schools’ lack of engaging students in these areas is partly responsible for the increase in overall consumer debt in this country. Dean Myerow Finance’s goal is to provide direction and instruction to those who need it most. I hope to reach people who have a true thirst for knowledge in personal finance. I hope that people with a real motivation to improve their earnings, savings and overall wealth will find my blog and capitalize on all it has to offer.
You’re bound to come across some rotten apples among the many fruits of our society. Where there is hardship and struggle there are those who will take advantage. I’m referring specifically to debt relief programs and scams.
There are many different avenues to navigate on the journey of financial freedom. Some roads are laid out in righteousness and others are set up to fail. I see more of these “get out of debt” programs popping up every day and it is not always easy to spot the good ones. These programs include “flavor of the week” terms like consolidation, settlement, forgiveness and dismissal. All of these are realistic approaches to debt relief. The problem is the solicitation of these programs can be seedy at best.
My hope is to research these programs to lay out some good rules of thumb when considering one. In my experience I have known settlement, dismissal and consolidation to be viable programs. I intend to research the companies who claim to perform these methods. As I stumble upon these companies and programs I will report my findings to you. Together we can pick through the bad seeds and leave the good ones out on the table. The best people can find their selves in crippling debt. I will know I have succeeded in my mission if I am able to point hard working American in the right direction.
Credit Vs. Debt
With credit offers flowing in and out of mailboxes all over the country, debt is increasing just as quickly as credit is increasing. Debt-to-credit ratios (credit limit vs. total balance) are becoming more unbalanced for millions of Americans. In my opinion, lack of knowledge is a big part of the problem. A lot of the financial burdens that the average American faces is due to a misunderstanding of credit terms.
For disadvantaged people, a chance to keep the lights on in hard times may appear a god-send. Without an understanding of the terms the agree to, they are setting their selves up to fail. These credit programs have high interest rates and hidden fees. With Dean Myerow Finance, I intend to provide guidance in the area of credit agreements. Providing an education on the terms included in these areas is part of the mission.
A Looming Concern
Getting a leg up on finance is not only for the spry young youth among us. The current condition of Social Security should have anyone who has not retired yet on their toes.
As reported by USA Today: According to current Social Security trustees Social Security is already spending more than it takes in. At this rate, by 2020, its trust funds will start depleting and by 2034, those trust funds will be empty. This will leave benefits cut by 21%. What does this mean? This means to ensure a comfortable retirement you must be vigilant in your efforts to save. The way things are going, receiving maximum Social Security benefits could mean you will not receive as much as you should.
Young People: Take Notice
The younger you are, the less you can count on Social Security as the main source for your retirement. According to a Social Security sample statement “By 2034, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay about 79% of scheduled benefits.” Imagine what this will mean for someone graduating from high school this year? An 18 year old collecting Social Security at age 62 (the most common age for people collecting their Social Security benefits) will be in year 2061. According to Fox Business: Mark VandeVelde, a financial advisor at Hefty Wealth Partners, said, “Social Security will be around in some form, but there is either going to be higher Social Security taxes or a reduction in benefits, or probably a combination of both.”
One thing is certain for young Americans and Social Security: Nothing is certain. This is why it is exceptionally important to increase the tools in your financial arsenal. No longer will Social Security alone be a certain, viable or reliable source for retirement income. You need to have a solid and fact-based source of retirement. Speculation can not be part of your retirement plan.
Another epidemic of sorts in our great country is the rise of student loans. By “rise” I’m referring to not only the sheer amount of them, but the individual dollar amounts as well. The student loan industry is thriving, bustling and more lucrative than ever. On the other hand, students are feeling the pain. In 2016 1.1 million people defaulted (refused or failed to make payments for an extended period of time) on their student loans. That’s 3,000 defaults per day.
Student loans with their ever-rising interest rates are dolled out like hotcakes. On their way out of high school, students are feeling they will not succeed without a degree. As a result, we have a rise in the amount of student loan debt with a low amount of people honoring their payments. This system can not sustain itself for very long. It is not as though the former students refuse to pay. Most simply can not.
Through federal and some private programs student loan debt assistance is possible. There are a slew of programs listed on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This resource is chock-full of useful information. Visit the site and you can find information about different types of loans and programs to help pay them off. Common programs include deferment or forbearance and consolidation.
Savings and Investing
As a result of the issues surrounding Social Security saving a portion of income should be a main focus. Saving money, especially on a budget, can be a truly difficult task. If you are one of the many Americans struggling to pay your bills from month to month it may even seem impossible. For those who are working paycheck to paycheck there are way to reduce spending in order to save. The truth is, there is usually a way for everyone to save. You just have to know how to accomplish it and where to start.
On Dean Myerow Finance I intend to share with you the tips and tricks I have learned over the years. Not everyone has the time to scour the web for financial advice. That is why it is important for me to cover all of these areas and make them accessible in one place.
If you are able to save, say, 10% of your income per month you are in decent shape. Having that income tucked away will prove beneficial in the long run. But, is merely pushing money aside enough to prepare for your retirement or, maybe, your child’s college tuition? How far will that 10% take you and you family? Investing is a big part of saving and preparing for you and your family’s future. At DeanMyerowFinance.com I will help you know your options and how to execute a solid savings and investment plan.
Another misstep Americans commit is improper budget management. The absence of proper budgeting is responsible for many of the financial struggles Americans face. When money goes as it comes along, it is difficult to be prepared for the future. In my experience, I have found, using a simple budgeting calculator could make a huge difference. I have shared one on the blog.
In many cases an individual’s income (or lack there-of) is not the problem. Americans can be impulsive spenders almost by nature. We are subjected to a non-stop stream of commercialism from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep. It’s natural. We are human after all. The psychology of marketing is a deep, almost scary business.
Necessity Vs. Material
Basic commercialism aside, some of us are compelled to purchase items with the intention to flaunt them as to solidify their status in society. When we aren’t explicitly being told what items we need celebrities and other prominent personalities are doing it subliminally. The impulse to buy in order to make oneself whole needs to be squashed immediately. Healthy spending habits start with the abandonment of unnecessary material purchases.
I’m in no way saying the occasional shopping spree should be frowned upon. Instead, we must set limits for ourselves financially. For instance, if you regularly buy material items, party on the weekends and find yourself overdrawing your checking account weekly you need a simple adjustment. This adjustment is not just of habit, but perception. Instead of thinking of $0 as being broke, think of $200 as being broke. By telling yourself you have no money before you literally have no money, your impulse to spend will disappear in a short period.
You can find all these and more tips for budgeting featured on Dean Myerow Finance.
Making a Difference
The main goal for this new blog is to make a difference by conducting research every day and sharing it in the form of a simple blog post. I intend to comb the web on a regular basis to find new and old ways of improving personal finance. We are human, not perfect. I’m no stranger to the frivolous purchase. As earners and as consumers we need to stick together and focus on what matters most.
Our own and our families’ stability depends on healthy money management and personal finance. Whether you are young and dealing with student loans, or well seasoned and looking toward retirement, every little tips helps. We all have goals and aspirations in life. If we spend all of our time worrying about our pocket book, we leave little time to achieve them.
Tune in and buckle up for our ride. We are in this thing together. I’m learning new things every day and I will do my best to bring helpful, quality content to you readers. So, add Dean Myerow Finance to your bookmarks and check out the existing and future content.