Americans have a lot in common beyond the love of our freedoms and family. We are optimistic and resilient people by nature, but we share common financial concerns. The rising cost of housing and healthcare, growing credit card debt, and prices at the pump and grocery store connect us all. Yet experts are saying the global economic outlook for 2024 is positive, so what can we do now to squash concerns over personal finances?
The first thing you can do to reduce monthly expenses and give yourself a little breathing room is tackle credit card debt. That may seem like an impossible feat depending on the number of cards you have and the sum of what you owe, but you can do it. Choose the card with the lowest balance and focus on getting it paid off first. Skip going to the movies or out for dinner for a month and put your “fun money” into credit card payments. Pay on time and pay more than the minimum amount owed because, typically, interest is compounded daily, and late fees make balances grow quickly. Once one card is paid off, use the same strategy to pay off the next card, and so on.
If you were planning to buy a home in 2024, you may want to hold off, depending on your situation. Housing predictions for the coming year show a challenging market with low inventory and high mortgage rates. For those who must relocate for work, consider renting vs buying to lower monthly expenses while saving towards the home of your dreams.
The high cost of healthcare is a complaint in most U.S. households but, for individuals who are not offered insurance through an employer, affordable insurance plans can be found in the Marketplace. These insurance plans are offered by the same insurance companies businesses offer to employees. You choose the company you prefer, the plan, the deductible, whether you want to add vision and dental, etc. Then the price of the coverage is based on what you earn per year.
Since the pandemic, it was predicted that the U.S. economy would fail and unemployment would increase, but economists have been proven wrong. Yes, prices are higher and our cost of living has increased, but because Americans are hard-working, our economy continues to be the largest and strongest in the world.