How prepared are you to weather a financial storm?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last week was Severe Weather Awareness Week, and we hope you thought about protecting yourself and your family in case a tornado or other destructive storm strikes.

You can even read about a business designed to help you out in that regard elsewhere in this issue.

But how about a rainy day?

According to WalletHub, Americans have racked up roughly $133 billion in new credit card debt since the beginning of 2012, and only two in five adults actually have a budget.

Read more here.

Twenty percent of Americans spend more than they make, and 60 percent of us don't have a rainy day fund.

According to a new Bankrate survey, we're not doing all that well.

Surveyors found that 37 percent of adults under 30 save less than 5 percent of what they make, and 18 percent nothing.

But don't be too judgmental on the young; only one in seven people overall save the recommended 15 percent or more.

Middle-income households do the best at taking money from daily expenses to put away for retirement or emergency savings; but that's only about a quarter of that group.

Of wealthier Americans, those making $75,000 and above, only 17 percent put away 15 percent of their income.

But how much money does one need to put away? Fidelity suggests saving eight times as much as your ending salary before retirement.

Like many things, the earlier you start, easier it gets. And, it doesn't take that much.

For instance, skip that daily premium coffee and put away $2,425 a year. Buy generic brands and save $161.20; clip coupons and add another $5,200.

Avoid carrying a credit-card balance at all costs, but if you can't, pay an extra $1 a day on your bill and save $203.25 a year.

Now that you've probably done your taxes for the year, reassess your financial situation and take steps to make look it look better next year.

The American Institute of CPAs offers advice at feedthepig.org

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