#StayWoke: How to Keep Money Problems From Keeping You Awake at Night

BY: - 15 May '17 | Money

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Are you tossing and turning thinking about your bills? Losing sleep over mounting student loan or credit card debt? If so, you’re not alone.

According to a CreditCards.com national survey, sixty-five percent of respondents admitted to losing sleep over money problems, a level of financial insomnia not seen since the Great Recession.

At the the top of our financial worry list, – healthcare and insurance bills with 38% of us loosing sleep over this issue. Lack of retirement savings, paying for college, and dealing with credit card debt also ranked high as causes of sleepless nights.

Understand that elections have consequences

Worry over health care is at the top of the list for good reason. With the election of Donald Trump new emphasis was placed on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

The most recent repeal and replacement bill out of the House of Representatives would cause millions to lose health insurance coverage. While we don’t know exactly how many, previous estimates suggest nearly 24 million Americans could lose their coverage. Medicare stands to suffer a $880 billion cut and people with pre-existing conditions would become more vulnerable under the current proposed legislation.

Most of the changes would hit the African-American community especially hard. Yet, in the 2016 presidential election black voter turnout fell for the first time in 20 years.

Here’s what you can do: Politics matter. You can no longer afford to be an idle bystander. Become informed. Voice your concerns. Get involved by calling your Congressperson or Senator and attend their town hall meetings. But most importantly, get out and vote, because elections have consequences.

Save little by little

According to a GoBankingRates survey, one third of Americans have no retirement savings at all. That’s probably one of the reasons that 37% of us lose sleep over our retirement savings. No one wants to live their Golden Years in misery.

Here’s what you can do: Have a small portion of your paycheck directed to your company’s 401k or 403b plan. Many companies will match your contribution, providing you with essentially free money. If you must, start small. Contribute just 1% of your salary to your 401k or 403b. Then, at the start of each new year increase your contribution percentage. Remember: Start early and invest consistently so that you can begin to sleep more comfortably.

Avoid student loan debt

Americans owe over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. That’s why 34% of Americans are losing sleep because of educational expenses.

Here’s what you can do: If you’re about to enter college, pay special attention to the price tag of your education. You don’t want your education to become a wealth trap. The general rule of thumb is that your total student loan debt at graduation should be less than your annual starting salary. If you’re studying a major that pays well, you can afford to spend a little more, but if you’re in a field of study that generally doesn’t pay well you must tightly control your education costs, even if it means considering a different college or university.

If you’ve already graduated from college look into entering an income based repayment plan for your federal student loans or take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Consolidate or refinance your loans where appropriate.

Cut up your credit cards

It seems that nearly 21% of us lose sleep over credit card debt. It’s not too hard to realize why. Sky high interest rates combined with the power of compound interest cause balances to skyrocket in no time at all. That’s why the average US household with credit card debt owes more than $16,000 in credit card debt.

Here’s what you can do: In the the words of financial guru Dave Ramsey, if you can’t pay cash for something, don’t buy it. Question each and every purchase. Batten down the hatches and use the debt snowball method to pay off your credit cards.

With a little planning and discipline, money problems should not keep you awake at night.

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 298 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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How To Retire Comfortably Even If You Are Broke

BY: - 26 May '17 | Money

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By Douglas Barnes

Ok, so you’re at retirement age, and you’ve got no money, you’ve got no job, no marketable skills and your credit sucks eggs.  What options do you now have, and what are you supposed to do at retirement time.

You’ve begun to realize that your finances have never been this bad, and mentally, you are so depressed, that you are about three to four French fries short of a happy meal.

Alright…here’s the raw deal.

  • One option is you could go rob a bank.  Hey, isn’t that where all the money is.  However, I don’t advise that option.  Because you see, the chances of you getting caught are extremely high, and the penitentiary ain’t no joke.  Particularly if you are pretty.
  • You could sell drugs.  However, one of the problems with many of the dope dealers out there, is that they usually consume most of their own products.  Plus, there is a ton of heavily armed competition out in the streets. Therefore, the risks heavily outweigh the rewards.
  • You could start, or continue ‘milkin’ your parents if they are still around, particularly if you are residing at their home in their plush guest suite (namely the basement or the attic).  The problem with that is they may soon be graduating to the ancestors.  So, how are you planning on handling all the family, estate and property issues.

Alright, alright, alright, enough of the crap.…..now let’s start looking at some safe, honest and serious options.

  1. Start saving money.Let me say that again, start saving money.  Even if it’s only a dollar a day.  Make it a top priority.  Hey, I used to own a plastic jar that I used to place all of my loose change in, and I would drop at least a dollar into it every day.  Believe me, it starts to add up.  Once you have several hundred dollars in that jar, put those funds into a money market account or consider investing it in the stock market or mutual funds.
  2. Get you butt out of debt.  Cut up all those high balance and high interest rate credit cards, (it’s called plastic surgery).  Contact https://www.usa.gov/debtand make an appointment.  They offer tremendous help in clearing up your credit.  (Ask me how I know!)
  3. Develop some sort of a side hustle.  (I’m not talking about selling drugs)  Start out as a small business owner and master the techniques needed to build on it.  If you are good at computers, learn how to sell products online.  People good at sales, always find some way to locate a job or make some extra money.  Find saleable items that you can buy wholesale or at a discount, sell those items and then make a profit.
  4. Financial Assistance: If you know where to look, you can find financial assistance for food, housing, and utility bills.  Contact your local social services or Social Security Administration office to ask about any programs you may be eligible for due to your low income.

Click here to see the full list of options and more information on preparing for retirement at BlackandRetired.com.

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BMWK Staff wrote 1243 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

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