While most of us are celebrating longer days and warmer months, Tax Day is just around the corner. One silver lining? It gets you thinking about your financial future.
Consider the following…
- Few Americans believe they can retire with only the support of their savings
- 20 percent of Americans don’t save any of their annual income and those who do save aren’t putting away much
- The average household debt in America is an estimated $130,000 per capita
- Credit card debt is growing, and last year totaled over 1 trillion dollars
- The average college graduate racks up $28,400 while earning a four-year degree
What can “i” do about it?
A-Loan No More
Practically speaking, you can improve your long-term financial picture by instituting healthier habits for debt-free living, such as:
- Avoiding late fees and overages
- Paying your bills on time
- Automating your savings
- Being careful with subscriptions
- Reading the fine print – you may be unaware of escalating interest rates
Most importantly, don’t add to your debt by continuing to spend on credit cards. Limiting your spending to only what you have is obvious, but the tools to do it are not. Commercials, mailings, mobile advertisements and social pressures/”norms” are all delivering a message to encourage us to spend! In doing so we may get cash back rewards or airline miles. In all actuality, all we get is debt. Take a step back, and see debt for what it is. You don’t own you; somebody else does! So, what options are out there that provide the same (or better) services as the corporate giants? Think “i”! Think prepaid deb”i”t. Debit means you own you.
Prepaid debit cards have advanced beyond the grocery store gift card rack, and have become full-feature financial platforms that provide services that rival major banking institutions. The big difference is, you are your own bank!
Prepaid debit cards are a great alternative to high annual percentage rate credit cards. Your available spending power is limited to your money only, available via direct deposit, person to person transfers (in some cases), or cash loading. With the power of a physical Visa or Mastercard debit card, managing your money is simple.
It’s a little like weight loss. If you’ve sworn off sugar (borrowing), you’re better off if you don’t keep cookies (available credit) in the house. But, it’s not really the card that’s the problem – it’s being aware of your spending, or shall we say borrowing. To truly lose the weight, you must have a goal and take the steps to not only lose the weight, but to change a lifetime of bad habits. The same is true in finances. Start simple. Make your monthly payments on your debts. Pay them off, and stop creating new ones. Begin saving. Set aside a little extra to be able to spend, not borrow, and explore a full-service debit solution like prepaid cards.