Why are there so many books written on "getting out of debt" and "saving for retirement"? Why do so many people study these subjects or subscribe to newsletters that address these issues?
One of man's biggest fears is running out of money at retirement. With statistics such as below, it is no wonder:
"Household borrowing has risen almost 60% to $6.5 trillion in the past five years." The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2000
"Despite an unprecedented economic boom, more than half of Americans are worried about having enough money for retirement." USA Today, April 27, 2000
"Families across America have accumulated $505 billion in credit card debt, averaging a balance of nearly $8,000 per household." USA Today, January 5, 2001
"The total number of bankruptcies filed during the 1999 calendar year totaled $1.31 million." American Bankruptcy Institute, January 22, 2001
"One half of American households have accumulated less than $1,000 in net financial assets." Report by Capital Research Associates, 1999
"Almost 1 in 5 households with income over $50,000 has no savings." Smart Money, November, 1999
"The average U.S. household has 13 credit or charge cards, and carries $7,500 in credit card balances, up from $3,000 in 1990." The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2000
The most important step to a secure retirement and a debt free life is to create a plan. You must identify specific goals and give yourself time frames. Without this, you will more than likely end up in one of the statistics mentioned above.
Not having a plan is a plan in and of itself to be poor and financially unprepared. But before you create your plan, define why you want a plan. Do you want a comfortable retirement? Do you want to live on a very small income? Do you want to be worried about your mortgage payment when you are old? Do you want to live in fear of having a home repossessed or sold out from under you?
WHY, WHY WHY do you want to change your ways and get out of debt, become rich or attain financial freedom? Answer this question for yourself. It is what will give you the POWER to follow your plan. Then create a plan. How much debt do you want to pay off each year? How much money do you want to save each year? How much money do you want to have at retirement? Start with your end goals and work backwards. Divide them into annual and even monthly goals. Then find a way to make them happen and get started.
If you find you are arguing with yourself, saying "I can't do that" or "We don't have any money" or "I'll get to that after..." stop immediately. You are closing your mind to the possibility of achieving your goals and it serves no purpose. If you are looking for reasons not to achieve your goals, you will most certainly find them.
It is up to you to create a plan and then open your mind to the possibilities of achieving everything you desire. You must clearly understand why you want this for yourself. Where there is a will, there is a way. You must define your will, create a plan and then take action.
Beat the odds. Your future can be anything you want it to be. You determine it; you control it. Take that first step now.
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We've always lived within my means and sleep well at nights knowing we are not in debt. If we charge something I know that we have to pay it off when the bill comes. We have often wonder how people can live really lavishly and not feel guilty or worry. In our household we never agrue about money because we have budget for the last 25 years of our marriage. We don't worry about Social Security because we have never depended on it for there to be for us. It would just be icing on the cake for our retirement. We have set aside 401-K for our future. I know that we are unusal couple but I hoping there is a lot more people out there like us.
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