Statistics can always be manipulated, at least that’s what I’ve always been told when it comes to numbers specifically.
Whether it was a baseball player batting .500 with only so many plate appearances or leaving out a few on the top or bottom of the average median to “manipulate” the numbers to make them look perfect for a report you’re working on in the office, you can’t always count on statistics to give you a clear cut answer.
And then, you have statistics that are so plain as day, you can’t ignore them, and the financial situation of the average person or family is one of those.
When you consider that saving money generally speaking is something we struggle to do, it’s not that shocking when you consider two very alarming dollar figures as it relates to saving money, debt and what we do (or don’t do) with our income.
The average household family savings account balance is just a shade over $5,000. Conversely, the average amount of unsecured debt (in this case credit cards) is roughly $16,000. That isn’t including the average student loan debt, either: a whopping $40,000. That puts you at about $60,000 in debt with only $5,000 set aside for emergencies.
Looking at those numbers, you don’t have to think too long and hard about why we aren’t saving, but rather spending freely and not thinking much about it.
The biggest culprit by far is the inability to budget, when you think about what a budget is at the heart of the matter. A budget is your game plan; it tells you exactly what you can afford to spend, save and looks at income versus expenses and gives you an idea of what type of house you can buy, car you can lease or buy or just how much you can spend on anything and everything.
If the credit card to savings account numbers are a clear cut three to one, chances are things spiraled out of control due to living beyond your means at some point in your life, and thus it has forced you to play catch up. You can never get ahead on the credit cards because you’re in the negative every month when you match up income versus expenses.
That formula is so easy to say that you can’t argue statistics on this one. This is out and out bad decision-making and financial planning.
The budget has to be a must, rule number one or whatever other hyperbole you want to use. At the end of the day, money can only be saved if there is money leftover. And without a gauge of what you are spending and making, you’ll continue to be just another statistic.
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