Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When It Comes to Personal Financial Management, Don't Join the Crowd

Most Americans of all ages are doing a lousy job of planning and preparing for our financial needs in our retirement years.

Pension plans, especially in the private sector, are becoming a rarity and home equity values aren't exactly growing in leaps and bounds either. Pay increases are tough to come by, the economy is slow going, global competition is real, we're heavily indebted, and to top it all off, we're growing much older as a nation.

Yet we're ignoring these realities, saving less, acting financially irresponsibly and becoming less capable of caring for ourselves in old age. For most of us, those are just the cold hard facts.

70 million Americans teetering on edge of financial ruin delivers the sobering news:

"In the past few years, the job market has vastly improved and home prices have rebounded — yet Americans are becoming even more irresponsible when it comes to saving for emergencies.

According to a survey of 1,000 adults released by on Tuesday, nearly one in three (29%) American adults (that’s roughly 70 million) have no emergency savings at all — the highest percentage since Bankrate began doing this survey five years ago. What’s more, only 22% of Americans have at least six months of emergency savings (that’s what advisers recommend) — the lowest level since Bankrate began doing the survey.

These findings mirror others — all of which paint an abysmal picture of Americans’ ability to withstand an emergency. For example, a survey released in March by national nonprofit NeighborWorks America also found that roughly one third (34%) of Americans don’t have emergency savings. . . .

The problem with this lack of savings is that emergencies can and do happen, and when they do, you may be forced into an expensive solution like credit cards or personal loans — and in extreme cases having to declare bankruptcy.

Indeed, half of Americans had experienced an unforeseen expense in the past year, according to a 2014 survey by American Express; of those, 44% had a health care-related unforeseen expense and 46% had one related to their car — both of which tend to be things you can’t avoid paying.

Thus, advisers recommend that most Americans have at least six months worth of income in their emergency fund — and more if they have children or other dependents."

Summing Up 

We desperately need an attitude adjustment in America about the importance of providing for our old age.

To continue to rely unwisely on the Social Security promises of the political class while in essence hoping to pass along the unfunded liability for greater absolute numbers of retirees in relation to fewer future workers simply isn't fair. Nor is it a viable option.

The underfunded Social Security and Medicare/ObamaCare/Medicaid elephants in the
room are looking at all Americans. It's time for We the People to wake up and face the facts.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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