Let’s say that you are walking down the street and someone stops you, offering you three different options. They will either give you $50 today, $54 a year from now, or $60 two years from now – all on the same exact date. We will ignore the fact that you probably won’t ever see this person again and that it would probably just make more sense to take the money right now and move on. Let’s have a level of trust here! We will also assume you don’t have any outstanding debts or bills that need to be paid right now, and that you would be placing this money into savings. So which option would you choose? Do you take the money right now because you’ve heard money now is worth more than money later? Or do you just go with the most money and take the $60 two years from now?
How much money are you saving for retirement? Is it 5% of your income? 10% of your income? Or are you able to save 50% of your income? With so many different income levels and the cost of living in different areas, it can be hard to determine what exactly is a “good” savings rate for your situation. When referring to a savings rate, the most common way to calculate this is through calculating your disposable income. If you are making $100,000 and are paying 30% in taxes, your disposable income is $70,000. If you are saving $7,000 a year out of your disposable income, your savings rate is at 10%. I recently read an article that compared the savings rates across several developed countries, and not surprisingly, the United States ranks near the bottom when it comes to saving money. You may (or may not) be surprised at what country comes in dead last though, any ideas on what country that may be?
Do you ever feel that the price of goods you are buying keep rising while your income seems to remain the same? We can actively work to increase our income to fight this, but the price increase on many goods is beyond our control. That price increase is due to inflation, or “the sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services”. It is normally measured as a percentage and the amount is usually across an entire year. Every time inflation increases you get slightly less “goods” of whatever you are purchasing for the same amount of money. So if you were getting 8 of an item for $1.00 last year, now you may only be able to purchase 7.5 of that item for the same $1.00.
Many of us use credit cards on a daily basis and whether that is for the convenience of not always having to carry cash around, or maybe you are trying to rack up rewards and cash back. But have you ever thought about what exactly goes on behind the scenes when you swipe that credit card? Understanding the processors and banks behind the credit cards can help you understand where exactly your money is going after swiping that piece of plastic.
One of the most frustrating monthly expenses for me is car insurance. It’s a necessary expenses, but it never seems to make sense to me. I was constantly told that my rates would drop as I got older, especially as my car aged. This never seemed to be quite so true, and I never really saw the savings. Not to mention my insurance company is highly rated when it comes to actually making a claim and even personal references from everyone I know – nobody ever has a negative thing to say about them. It has led to be to afraid of switching to a huge company like Geico where you read a lot of negative stories about the claims process. I have reached out and gotten quotes from other highly rated insurers, but many times the rate was not that much different or was actually more expensive. You can always adjust your coverage to save some money, but in many cases that’s not worth it either.