Nobody wants to be poor yet, somehow, it always seems like you can never achieve financial freedom. No matter how hard you budget or plan, the savings never grow. Take a deep breath and take a step back. Maybe it’s the people around you thwarting your financial potential.
Kids are expensive, costing the average person around $245,000 for 18 years of support. On top of this, over half of the population’s pregnancies are accidental, forcing many to simply stumble through their financial life, hoping they stay employed long enough to rear their child or children. The best thing to do is simply plan for a child. Make sure you are in a good financial place with a clearly laid out plan before taking any chances. If that doesn’t work, no one said you had to keep the child.
People all come with their own issues in regards to money. Some are draconic, hoarding everything they make for fear of not having enough to stave away the apocalypse. Others, however, are spenders, choosing to seize the day at face value no matter how much debt it will put them into. When these two personalities combine, as they often do in marriages, the results can be disastrous. The husband who believes he deserves toys every week for working his full time job or the wife who will settle only for the name brand stuff can quickly run any savings into the ground. In addition, when you do marry, their bad financial set up is now your bad financial set up, resulting in bad loan rates or debt.
Aside from that, if both spouses work full time jobs, you can unintentionally but easily shoot up into the next financial bracket where taxes are doubled and the cost of living is much more expensive. Honestly look to see if this is happening. If so, it’s time the lower paid spouse quits their job and takes on an active at home role. While it may be a kick to the ego, it makes for a much more comfortable financial situation, affording you the ability to enjoy what you are making.
Though not as expensive as children, pets are nonetheless an investment, totaling in at an average of $15,000 per pet per lifetime. This includes their food, their toys and any vet visits they have to endure. Even smaller pets like hamsters or snakes end up costing a pretty penny in the end. Figure out how much it will cost you and work that into your budget. Also, make some changes to keep your pets healthier. For instance, making outdoor cats permanently indoor cats can greatly reduce how much they cost if only because you don’t have to make monthly vet calls.
Not all parents are financially responsible. Some are leeches just waiting to suck out whatever support they can get from their adult children. On the bright side, many are just victims of the recession that hit, wiping out many people’s retirement funds just as they hit retirement age. No matter the situation, parents are a little worse that children because children at least have a cutoff age. Parents, however, can go on living well beyond 18 years while still needing full financial support. Trying to care for both is a drain on all resources, both mentally and financially.
Now that you are an adult, it’s time to lay down the rules with your parents on what they can expect from you. They might have made poor choices in the past, prompting you to learn better habits, but they will never improve if you keep enabling the abuse. Openly set down your guidelines. If they need the help, they will take it. Also, reach out to a counselor who can help them get back on their own feet, freeing you from the fiscal responsibility you, arguably, should never have had in the first place.
Know your value. Too many of us work underpaid jobs under the guise that we’re lucky to even be working. This is a lie to keep you in check. You would be surprised how much you can make for what you do if you only go out and look. Ask your boss for a raise. Track what your market value is. If your boss is unwilling to match or even consider paying you more, it’s time to start looking for another position. When you go in to hire, know what salary you will work for and what you won’t. In the corporate world, it’s up to you to make your own financial progress.
If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it. It is not shameful to admit your budget doesn’t cover the new flat screen TV all of your friends are raving about. Peer pressure drives people to do a lot of crazy things they wouldn’t normally do on their own. In its own right, it is a healthy practice but only if it helps you grow as a person. Giving in to the request of friends making more than you will only set you back from your dreams of saving for retirement and otherwise improving your standard of living. In these cases, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to say “no”. It doesn’t have to be mean, but it does have to be firm. Also, you can be the one to suggest outings that fit your budget. This way, you can all still enjoy time together without breaking the bank.
Cleaning ladies, gardeners, babysitters and pet sitters are all under this “other” category. They are extra expenses that save you time for a price. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you just don’t have the means to keep them paid. Think of it in hourly pay. If you make $10 per hour of an eight hour day and a cleaning lady once a week costs $60, you just spent six hours of your day working to pay for her to tidy up your house or apartment in maybe an hour to two hours. Is it that worth it? You could probably take care of all of that stuff on your own in less time and save yourself $60.
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