"It's a spooky time of year, but your finances shouldn't be scaring you. Most of us share concerns about our money and our financial futures. It's normal, and even healthy sometimes, to be on alert when it comes to your finances. But as with any fear, your financial terrors shouldn't rule your life. Here are some tips to deal with some of the most common worries so you can leave the scaring to the ghosts and the goblins.
Many fear that illness or medical emergency involving themselves or a loved one will leave them bankrupt. This is certainly a valid fear as medical catastrophes account for the highest number of bankruptcies. Keeping an emergency fund and being informed of what your health insurance covers are essential preemptive measures to take.
If the situation does unfortunately arise, ask the hospital for an itemized bill and review it carefully. Ensure that each item was actually provided during the hospital stay. If not, bring it to the attention of the hospital. Additionally, health insurance companies change their billing codes frequently. If you were charged for something that should've been covered by insurance, your doctor may have used an old code. Give your an insurance company a call to try to remedy the error.
Paying for retirement
Another of the most common financial fears is not saving enough money for retirement. Over the past several years; the pension changes, the outlook for social security, and the increase in lifespans have all caused heightened concern about retirement savings. Young people, in particular, are concerned about whether they'll be able to save enough. Thinking about retirement can certainly be stressful and scary. You may feel as though you'll have to work forever or that you'll be unable to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
The best way to ease your mind will be to start saving as early and as much as possible. By beginning your savings as a young adult, you'll create the habit. Then, you won't even notice the money coming out of your account. Research how much your employer will match. And remember that retirement funds use compound interest. The earlier you put money into a 401(k) or an IRA account, the more it will grow over time.
Affording your child's education
Tuition rates continue to rise every year. Therefore, being able to send your children to college has become a prominent financial fear. Young parents are especially concerned about saving for their children's future because they may still be paying their own student debt. But it's never too late to start saving. You can create a savings plan at any given point. Saving something is better than saving nothing.
Additionally, creating a cost analysis for what's needed to pay for your children's schooling is sensible. This process can start around the time your oldest child is 10 or 11. You'll then be able to use this to create a savings plan. Figure out how much will be reasonable to save each year, then break it down by month.
You may also wish to discuss the cost of college with your children with age-appropriate conversations. Help them understand the significance of the cost to ensure they take it seriously. As they get older, emphasize that hard work can help them earn scholarships, which can save money. Discuss other ways in which they may be able to contribute to their college fund, such as getting a part-time job.
Losing your job
Whether it's getting fired or laid off, losing your job can be a major blow to your financial situation. Once again, it's best to be proactive to prepare for the worst. Continuing your education or learning a new skill can help make you a more marketable job candidate in case you're let go. If you have an annual review with your current boss, use this as an opportunity to gauge your status. Get a feel for where you stand and what the future of the company may look like. Additionally, at any point during your career, having a few months of living expenses saved up is a wise move.
Being held back by debt
Many people have accumulated significant debt and may fear that their debt is insurmountable. They may also be afraid of how their debt will begin to creep into other parts of their lives. Debt can affect you in a vast number of ways. It can affect the types of loans you qualify for, your mental health and even your relationship.
You may be afraid your significant other will find out how much debt you have. You may wish to keep the information to yourself and work it out alone. To face this fear, the first step is, to be honest with yourself. From there, find out how much debt you have and make a plan to tackle it. Then sit down and have a frank discussion with your significant other. You may feel better after just having the conversation.
Facing your debt head-on, and being honest with yourself and your loved ones, will help prevent you from feeling as if you're drowning. This will help your overall financial situation. In turn, your relationship with money will improve.
Having fears about your finances is entirely normal. Many of us have worried about money and what might happen to our money in unfortunate situations. But, as with other fears in life, it's essential to manage your financial worries. By being proactive and honest with yourself, you can make your financial situation less intimidating and more manageable.
Being stared at by strangers is something I have become very accustomed to. Not because I am a beautiful, ethereal being that catches everyone's attention (but I will take it if that's what you're thinking), but in the way that I am a Black woman, a Black person, and people tend to notice my presence. I don't think there is a Black person out there that can deny knowing what it's like to be stared at by a random person.