All the things happening in 2020 have often made it difficult to look on the bright side. Even our humor has often been dark. Memes are floating around about trying to guess the next natural disaster to hit us. Whether it be “murder hornets,” dual hurricanes, or any number of the other history-making things that have happened this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get any positive out of all of this.
When you are living paycheck to paycheck, financial freedom and security can seem like an impossible cliff. How are you supposed to pay down debt when it seems like every time you turn around something is costing you yet more of your hard-earned cash?
While states continue to struggle with managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the majority of the US has begun to “re-open.” Many businesses and people are attempting to get back to whatever semblance of normalcy they can achieve while following state and local guidelines for social distancing, cleaning, and operations. And, despite signs of a recession, the stress of confinement and change up may lead some to overspend once they feel a modicum of “freedom.”
Financial inequality can strain any relationship. Whether it is your neighbors, your family, or your close friends, making more or less money than those around, you can cause discomfort and jealousy. These feelings often lead to spending patterns that are unhealthy and damage long-term goals. No one should sacrifice financial security to satisfy or match someone else’s lifestyle.
Children offer us an unfiltered look at how our brains react to sales and marketing. When they see something that strikes their fancy, they want it right then. Toddlers, especially, show little patience or consideration for the cost or longevity of the item they desire. Yet, should their whimsy be indulged, the thing they “needed” at the store often gets discarded in short order.
We’ve all spent at least a month in quarantine. Fairs, concerts, playgrounds, movies, and more have all been delayed or completely shut down. Schools have closed. We’ve all be forced to see things from a new perspective. Rather than a waypoint between activities and a place to rest our heads, home is now where we all have spent most of our time.
While we are all a bit relieved to see quarantines being eased, there are some lessons about life and frugality that we should take away from this experience.
Money management can be a foreign language for many. Net worth, assets, depreciation, interest rates, APR, and other financial terms mean little to those individuals not working within the financial and investment sectors.
Despite a penchant for continually monitoring their accounts, most Americans are still worried about their financial future. Nearly half of US consumers say a $400 emergency would put them in financial hardship. Even more report their savings is less than $1,000 (CNN Money).
Well over half of Americans (66%) check their bank account at least once per week. A similar majority (73%) also reported they carry two or fewer credit cards. (Lexington Law) Another 53% consider paying off debt a high priority. Surely, such signs are indicative of financial responsibility?
Today’s consumers admit to knowing very little about managing finances. But they want to learn. Even better, they want to learn from you. J.D. Power reports 78% of US retail banking customers would prefer to receive financial advice or guidance from their bank or credit union.