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Monday, February 6, 2012

Living on the Edge Financially in a Consumer Economy

        I recently blogged on an event for middle and high school students participating in an event that gave the students an experience in how to budget and develop a financial plan.  Last week at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon I had a chance to talk with some of the students who use this financial program.  The expense that surprised the students was the cost of food.

   Recently I also read a report that showed that many adults haven't learned the lessons of budgeting.  According to Bankrate:

"Bankrate's Financial Security Index poll for June found 24 percent of Americans have no emergency savings at all. Another 22 percent said their emergency savings would cover, at best, three months' worth of expenses. Only one in four said they have six months' worth of expenses for use in emergency, the minimum recommended by many financial planning experts."

    The average credit card debt is now over $15,000. The average student loan debt is now over $25,000.  Half of people at age 65 still have a mortgage.  About 25% of Americans have a net negative worth. Almost half of employees in their twenties fail to get their full employer match in their 401k accounts.

     All this indicates that financial planning is something that many adults should have had at a younger age.  Is it any surprise that we have a growing Federal budget deficit?  Apparently living within your means is something Federal legislators also get a failing grade.

   So what do you do?  What most financial counselors suggest is to "pay yourself first."  Have a deduction from your paycheck that goes into a savings account that is only used for emergencies.  When you pay off a car payment continue to pay the same amount into a "car savings account" that can be used to pay cash for your next car.  Interest on a 6 year car loan can easily add over 25% to what the new car costs. 

    A good local resource for financial literacy is makingChange

P.S.
       The American Association of University Women Howard County will sponsor a networking event called Cocktails and Convos on March 20, 2012 from 6:30 – 8 PM at Looney’s Pub in Maple Lawn.  If you want an opportunity to promote yourself, your business, your company, your organization, you are welcome to come.  If you just want to socialize and network, please come.  Pre-registration is required so we know how many to plan for.  Contact Jennifer Ingram at aauwhocomembers@gmail.com to register.  There is no charge and there will be a speaker on Successful Entrepreneurship.  Plenty of time for talking to each other and pass out business cards.  Order appetizers and beverages from the menu.

P.S. 2
The Savage Guilford Patch had a great story about how an employer, Coastal Sunbelt Produce, is teaming up with the Bollman Bridge Elementary School to tutor refugee families that have settled in the area from Burma.

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