Nearly half of Americans say they expect to live paycheck to paycheck this year.
Here’s what you need to know.
A new survey shows that 49% of Americans expect to live paycheck to paycheck each month this year. More strikingly, 53% say that they don’t have an emergency fund that covers at least three months of expenses. At the same time, 91% say they want to develop better money habits this year.
So, what can you do?
Action Steps: What To Do Next
These are action steps that anyone can take to improve their financial situation. You won’t suddenly get rich tomorrow. Your debt won’t magically disappear. However, you can start changing habits and behaviors – and shifting your mindset – to approach money differently.
1. Make more money (not what you think)
Well obviously, right? Not necessarily. If you’re not making enough money to meet your living expenses, then you have two choices: make more money or cut your expenses. Let’s tackle the money side of the equation first. If you want more income, find the opportunities that can get you more money. Don’t stay in this current job if it’s not sustainable or doesn’t provide stable cash flow. If you’re freelancing or working part-time and want a consistent income, then you’re in the wrong job. This is not the time to escape the 9-5. It’s time to find the 9-5.
That may mean a different industry. It may mean moving to a new city. Too many people want to stay in the familiar. That’s understandable. However, you need to evaluate whether you live in an area that has jobs you want and living expenses you can manage. Your worldview can expand when you look beyond your immediate surroundings.
2. Cut your expenses (not what you think)
Everyone has heard about “cutting expenses.” It’s obvious advice. Instead of thinking about cutting your expenses, think about replacing your expenses. These expenses don’t have to disappear. They just need to be reallocated to more financially productive areas. For example, for every dollar you save, you can do so many more productive things: invest, save for retirement and save for your child’s education.