I was recently reading an article on Time that said nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. That means that almost 66% of people failed the test – I couldn’t believe it! Basic financial literacy? I have a little more faith in our intelligence than that, so I decided to find the actual test itself and take it myself. The test and corresponding survey were done by the FINRA Foundation which self regulates financial markets in the United States. There was some good news from the survey, showing that the amount of people having no difficulty covering their monthly expenses had increased as well as the amount of people who had emergency funds. It also showed that more than half of people who use credit cards pay the balance off each month – the highest percentage since the survey began!
Another campsite review coming your way! Late in June my girlfriend and I spent a week cabin camping at Letchworth State Park located in Castile, NY. The park is considered to be the “Grand Canyon of the East” and whether that title is self-claimed or by someone else, the gorge really is impressive and beautiful. Castile is located in Western New York, about an hour south of Rochester and an hour east of Buffalo, in the Genesee Region of New York. There are five separate cabin areas with about 10+ cabins in each area, and then a large campsite are with over 200 campsites. The park itself is 18 miles long running North to South, so there is considerable distance (and multiple entrances) between everything.
I hope that everyone is enjoying their Summer so far, I was able to take advantage of the warmer weather this past month, though it did come at a cost. I finally broke my streak of coming in under budget thanks to high travel expenses. Since I had built up such a large surplus (around $2500) from the previous months I was not worried at all, with my checking account plus my emergency fund probably even ending up a little higher than I wanted them to be. With the excess amount in my checking account, I don’t really have a cash flow problem at this point. So breaking the budget every so often doesn’t hurt as long as it does not become a pattern!
I recently read an article on CNN Money that pulled data from a Harvard University study on housing. It stated that 11 million Americans were now spending at least half of their income on rent, and 21.3 million were spending at least 30% of their income on rent. Most personal finance gurus believe that you should spend at most 30% of your income on rent, and the lower that number is the better off you are. While this may be possible in a lot of areas, it is becoming increasingly difficult around many major cities.
So now that I’ve completely paid off my student loans, what else is there to track other than my monthly budgets? Time to track my progress in the opposite direction of course! I’ve been excited to share this progress with everyone since I started this blog, but the student loans always seemed to take precedence over that at the time. Not to mention they were taking up a huge portion of my net worth anyways, so it didn’t really make sense to include this as a monthly post when I was already giving the monthly student loan updates. I posted the retirement account update in May, but I now plan on incorporating those accounts into a monthly update starting this month.