How much attention do you pay to your finances? If you are like the vast majority of people, the chances are it is very little. You might read the occasional financial guide, and decide that taking any advice can wait until tomorrow. Or the next day - or perhaps next week?
The trouble is, you don’t have any time to waste. The right moment to start fixing your finances is straight away - right now. And if you can’t motivate yourself, then I guess we’ll have to do it for you. Here are six alarming financial statistics that, we hope, will sting you into action.
63% of you can’t deal with a $500 emergency
Emergencies happen all the time, regardless of how careful you are. But it isn’t the emergency you need to worry about; it’s how you deal with it. Over six out of ten Americans would be unable to settle a mere $500 car repair - and it could be leaving them on the cusp of disaster. We recently wrote about the many people who are only one paycheck from financial disaster, and there are millions of them. A sudden job loss, illness, a broken down car - there is so much that can stop you from earning money. Unless you have a robust emergency fund in place, the future will look bleak for you.
25% or wealthy Americans still live paycheck to paycheck
You might think living from paycheck to paycheck is only a problem for the poor. But, you would be wrong. In fact, one in four of every American earning more than $100,000 a year is still ending the month with zilch. Sure, when you don’t earn this amount of money, it can be hard to feel any sympathy. But the simple fact remains that it is remarkably easy to get through a lot of money if you don’t practice sound financial planning.
You contribute to $163 billion of food waste
We waste an astonishing amount of food in this country. And it’s nothing short of scandalous when you consider the millions of people who are struggling to survive with no food whatsoever. Hunger and starvation aren't just happening in other countries, either. It's going on here on our doorstep. In fact, one out of every six Americans deals with hunger issues on a daily basis. Meanwhile, billions of dollars worth of food is being thrown into garbage cans. Want to make a change? Start meal planning, buy more efficiently, and raise awareness in your community.
One consumer suffers identity theft every 3 seconds
According to identity theft statistics, nearly $21 billion was stolen during 2012. And since then, there is little sign of things slowing down. While we all hear about major companies being targeted by hackers, the truth is we are all objectives. And it only takes a failure to update your antivirus software for your finances to end up in the hands of criminals. Make yourself aware of how to keep your identity safe. Start shredding documents rather than putting them straight into the bin. Never click on suspicious-looking links in emails. And keep all your identification in a safe place - permanently.
One in five Americans enters retirement with a mortgage
The idea of a mortgage is to pay it off over 25 years or so, and enjoy your retirement living in the home you own. But for many people, it doesn’t happen like this. In fact, 25% of American retirees are still paying their mortgage off in their senior years. While home loans are thought of as a good debt, it’s walloping some seniors. And the older you get - past 70-75 - the worse your situation will become.
29% of you have less than $1,000 saved for retirement
Are you preparing for your retirement? If so, how seriously are you taking it? Because almost one in three Americans have less than $1,000 put aside for when they quit work. That’s an incredibly scary statistic, right? The earlier you start planning for your retirement, the easier it is. For example, start putting aside $250 a month when you are 25, and you can enjoy a tidy little nest egg. But wait until you are 35, and you will have to save double to achieve the same pension pot.
OK, so there you have it - some scary and worrying statistics, I’m sure you’ll agree. Do any of these ring a bell? Or have you already got iron-proof finances? Let us know your thoughts and tips by posting a comment below.