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Financial Insight, Financial Literacy

The Top Financial Issues U.S. Families are Facing Today

Brittney Monteith | March 7, 2018

Overcoming financial hardship is one of the underlying themes of the American dream. Many Americans are concerned with financial problems in their life. Today we’re looking at some of the most common causes of financial hardship and stress in the U.S. Plus, we’re giving some tips and resources to help overcome these hardships.

According to this June 2017 Gallup poll, these are the top 11 financial concerns families are currently facing in the U.S.

  • Healthcare costs – 17%
  • Too much debt/Not enough money to pay debts – 11%
  • Lack of money/Low wages – 10%
  • College expenses – 10%
  • Cost of owning/Renting a home – 9%
  • High cost of living/Inflation – 8%
  • Retirement savings – 6%
  • Taxes – 5%
  • Unemployment/Loss of job – 3%
  • Social Security – 3%
  • Lack of savings – 2%

Let’s address some of these concerns below. Make sure you check out the linked resources that could help you prevent and/or eliminate a specific financial stressor.

Too much debt/Not enough money to pay debts

new house savings

Debt can feel crippling. Your debt may be from student loans, it could be from past credit card spending, or even an unpaid medical bill. No matter the type of debt or the reason why you found yourself with it – there are solutions to alleviate the problem. If you can get out from under harmful debt, you’ll be able to better your financial situation and live a less stressful life.

Solutions range from consolidating high-interest debt to a lower-interest loan, to establishing a set repayment plan. Here are a few of our articles that could help you decrease your debt.

The Beginners Guide to Debt Consolidation

Debt Collection Basics: What to Do if Your Debt Goes to a Collector

How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

We also created a Debt Snowball Calculator. This method for eliminating debt works by concentrating your repayment efforts on the debt with the lowest balance. Once it’s paid off, you focus on the next highest amount. The money you put towards repayment every month snowballs as you eliminate multiple payments. Try the Debt Snowball Calculator for free!

Lack of money/Low wages

people

Do you already map out your finances with a monthly personal budget? Doing so will help you figure out why you feel like you have a lack of money. It will track and total your monthly expenses compared to your monthly income. Once you feel like you’ve cut back on your expenses as much as possible, the next option is to figure out how to get more income. Read 23 Ways to Make More Money & Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck. We include tips from side hustles to passive income streams.

College expenses

calendar with pay off debt date

Higher education costs in the U.S. have skyrocketed far past the usual inflation increases. It’s highly likely that you and/or your child have had to take out loans to afford tuition. Whether you’re feeling saddled with current student loan debt, or you’re worried about saving for your child’s future, there are ways you can alleviate this stress. With smart planning and utilizing resources available to you – you can reduce the financial stressors linked to college expenses.

Here are some of our past blog posts that cover college expenses.

Use these 3 Plans to Save for Your Child’s Future

How to Afford a College Degree in 3 Easy Steps

Top 9 Ways to Pay Off Student Loans in Less Time

Cost of owning/Renting a home

house and post it notes with question marks

Housing markets drastically differ depending on your location. If you compare home prices in Mechanicsburg, PA to home prices in San Jose, CA – you’re in for a shock. Living expenses eat up a large chunk of everyone’s monthly budget. However, since basic shelter is a necessity, make sure you’re doing all you can to reduce your living expenses and prepare for big ticket items like mortgages. These additional articles could provide more insight as well.

Buying vs. Renting: Are You Ready to Own a Home?

Unexpected Costs Every First Time Home Buyer Should Know About

How to Plan for Unexpected Home Repairs

High cost of living/Inflation

writing on dry erase board that says mortagage

If it seems like the cost of living is increasing every year, that’s because it is. Inflation is a natural part of an economy, but it’s definitely an understandable financial concern. The best way to prepare for future inflation is to make sure you’re in a financially solid place now. Read 10 Ways to Tell if You Have Good Finances to find out where you currently stand.

Retirement savings

folders for pension

Many adults are concerned with saving for retirement, and rightfully so. Social security may not be guaranteed in the future, and putting money in IRAs and 401Ks may be the first cut you make to your budget if you’re struggling. However, experts recommend you put at least a small amount away as early as you can to take advantage of compounding interest.

If you’re worried about how much you currently have saved, read Use these 7 Strategies to Catch Up on Your Retirement Savings.

Taxes

calculator and blocks that says taxes

The best way to alleviate stress surrounding taxes is to find a qualified professional that you trust. If you expect your taxes will be complicated, don’t hesitate to invest some money into a one-on-one session with a certified accountant! They can provide guidance on how to organize your finances to prep each year and find your deductions you didn’t know you could receive! Read the article below for additional tax information.

Where to File Your Taxes this Year [Simple Guide]

Unemployment/Loss of Job

person with box of stuff

Life often throws unexpected curve balls. If that curve ball happens to be the loss of a job, it’s natural to feel worried. Luckily, there are resources and strategies to help you survive in the interim. Here are a few tips.

  • Apply for unemployment right away
  • Reorganize your monthly budget to compensate
  • Prioritize the bills you need to pay
  • Practice preventative measures, like loan protection programs and emergency saving funds

Lack of savings

broken piggybank

A shocking number of American families lack any sort of emergency savings fund. What would you do if your car needed a $500 repair? Or you owe taxes you weren’t expecting while filing your return? If your answer wasn’t that you have savings to cover these unplanned expenses – then you definitely need to prioritize building up your savings. Here are a few articles that can help you get there.

The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Budget

11 Money Saving Life Hacks You Have to Try this Year

7 Fun Money Saving Challenges to Try in 2018

What financial concerns do you or your family have? Are there any specific topics you’d like us to cover in future blog posts? Let us know in the comments!

Additional Tip from the Experts

If you’re struggling with debt and don’t have any wiggle room in your monthly budget – look for a debt restructuring program at your local financial institution. These programs consolidate your debt at lower interest rates and help you save money. At AmeriChoice, our experts can determine if you’re a good candidate for the program with a FREE personal financial analysis. Discover how it works and sign up for your analysis now!