How Riots Affect the Economy

How Riots Affect the Economy

Image courtesy of WND

When news came in last night about the rioting happening in Charlotte, N.C. I was astounded. The place I was born and call home was being torn down by looters and fires being set. It was heart-wrenching to watch and terrifying to see people becoming violent in the streets of a city I have grown to love.

This posting doesn’t aim to incite some kind of comment war, nor is it aiming to make any political point. The fact of the matter is when people riot it affects everyone in ways that are both seen and unseen. The visible ways are along the lines of the damages being caused by riots as well as the general rise in angst between people. What many people don’t see, or think about, are the long lasting effects that rioting has, especially on the economy.

How Riots Affect the Economy

Sometimes riots happen. While many people believe that there are better ways to deal with certain problems there are times where political and racial tensions climb so high that people lash out violently. Until recent years, rioting was not an issue in the United States, however, with political and racial issues escalating more riots have been incited. These riots affect the cities they happen in and the economy as a whole. Here’s how:

People will stop visiting your city for a while. There are studies that suggest the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 cost the city nearly $4 billion in taxable sales and more than $125 million in direct sales tax revenue. Not to mention there was about $1 billion in property damage and lives lost.

Somebody has to pay for it. If you aren’t paying for it immediately, you will be paying for it eventually. When the Los Angeles riots happened in 1992 and the city lost all of that revenue and accrued damages at the same time, taxes went up for citizens of LA. However, Los Angeles hasn’t been the only large-scale riot that has happened.

Other Historical Riots and Costs

There have been numerous other large-scale riots in the United States that have cost the U.S. dearly. According to CNBC, the blackout in New York City in July 1977 was another huge riot that cost the city and the country millions. The blackout occurred and was followed by a riot, mass arson and looting. It cost the city close to $300 million in damage and loss.

In 2001, there was a huge riot in Cincinnati. It was the largest riot since the 1992 LA riots. It was a reaction to the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas. After three nights, the rioting ceased. The damages totaled to about $3.6 million.

Even more recently, in 2015, rioting in Baltimore cost the city $20 million. Baltimore citizens were rioting in reaction to the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. The $20 million it cost for the city to restore itself did not include any damages to private businesses.

The Aftermath of a Riot

When discussing the aftermath of a riot you can’t skip talking about the sense of calm that is restored after a riot. Although the problem isn’t likely solved, people feel a little better for the time being. Many people talk about the physical damages but they skip the economical damages of a riot.

There are damages to property and damages made to the economy when a riot is incited. Damages must be paid for and fixed. Many small business owners who are looted must pay for their own repairs or pay a higher insurance premium because of the riots. Some small business owners are forced to close their doors because they are unable to pay for the repairs and lost product that the riot caused.

Rioting causes nervous investors and tourists. If a company is looking to come to your city they may change their mind due to rioting. Likewise, tourists will stop visiting your city if a riot is started there. People don’t want to invest time or money in a place that does not seem consistent or safe.

How Charlotte Will Be Affected

The bad news for Charlotte is that the city has already lost a significant amount of revenue due to the HB2 bill. Many businesses have pulled out of Charlotte or decided not to open up in Charlotte due to that bill. Now, because of the riots occurring in the city, Charlotte will likely see even more decline in revenue for the city.

Local businesses opened up this morning and cleaned up any damages made by rioters last night and were able to recover. If the riots continue, however, Charlotte’s economy could take YEARS to recover.

What do you think about the rioting in Charlotte and the affects it will have? 

3 Household Items You Can Probably Cut Out (or Easily Substitute)

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

Running a house is certainly expensive and there are many products out there trying to prove their necessity for you running your home efficiently but the reality is that you probably don’t need them.

Disposable Paper Products

When I’m shopping at Costco and see carts full of paper towel and napkins I have to wonder what family could possibly need that much disposable paper product. I admit that I used to use paper towel for everything, and growing up, our house always had napkins on the table but when I started buying my own household goods I realized not only how expensive it was, but also how wasteful. I think it started more out of necessity (trying to save money) than being conservative, but after a few weeks of not buying paper towels with our grocery order I realized how unnecessary they were.

I dedicated a few old kitchen towels to use while cleaning and we started using reusable napkins while eating. I noticed that there were very few times I missed using disposable paper. I keep a roll of paper towel on hand mostly for cat messes, when my cat has an accident or vomits, I prefer to use paper towel to clean up and throw in garbage rather than rinsing out and washing a reusable cloth. As well, if we have a large function (like my sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding) we’ll buy disposable products but for day-to-day usage it’s an easy item to swap out.

Disposable Diapers

Obviously this only applies to homes with young infants but needs to be mentioned. This is also something I admit to being guilty for (using disposable) but am in complete favor of cloth diapering. Though the initial cost can be quite high, in the end cloth diapers are significantly cheaper and hold a decent resale value (look around for used first, if considering). With our daughter we received enough disposable diapers as gifts though that I didn’t buy a pack of diapers for a full 12 months, it was kind of glorious. The other reason we opted not to cloth diaper was that when calling around to various daycare places before we had her placed somewhere, a lot of places preferred to not use the cloth and asked if while the child was there, they could be sent with disposables so it didn’t make sense for us however I still think cloth diapering trumps disposable in both cost and, certainly, waste.

Household Cleaners

Though my husband hates when I clean with vinegar (a smell he cannot stand) it’s too cheap and effective not to use. There are very few areas in my house that I can’t clean with some combination of vinegar, water, basic dishsoap or baking soda (here’s a good list of DIY cleaners). I do admit that I usually do have Windex on hand as well for windows and glass tables (the vinegar and water just won’t get streak-free to my satisfaction with greasy toddler fingerprints) but a regular sized bottle of such will last me seemingly forever.

Given that there are entire sections in grocery stores dedicated to nothing but cleaning products you don’t need basically any of it. When we first bought our house I remember going out and spending close to $10 for a cleaner that was dedicated to nothing but cleaning the top of our glass stove. I used it once, realized it was nothing but an abrasive scrub (food loves to stick to glass stoves) and that a water and baking soda paste worked just as good. Though I’m not a super health nut or anything, using a bunch of chemicals around surfaces my family lives and eats (especially things like highchairs) simply doesn’t appeal to me, nor does paying premium prices for pre-made, pre-packed, chemical free goods from the stores.

What a family will need varies between each house, but I do think in general we’re too quick to do the easiest thing possible- like buy special cleaner for your table to point, spray and wipe with paper towel, rather than wiping it off with a disposable cloth with warm soap and water which then may mean an extra laundry item- but honesty it takes no extra effort, and can make a huge difference in both finances and overall waste, so try it!

What household items do you commonly save on?

Times When You Shouldn’t Make Any Financial Decisions

Last Friday was an honest-to-God awful day for me. It started with a totally unnecessarily long wait at the local women’s hospital for one of my pregnancy bloodwork tests which caused me to be late for work, annoying enough when your day is scheduled with booked patients. Me being 30 minutes late doesn’t affect just me, it can affect my entire patient load for the day so it’s a huge annoyance. I did manage to park in the parkade by work for free though (normally a cost of $18 for the day) thanks to a pass given by another employee. Just as my day was turning around, it went even worse. As I was pulling into the underground parkade, another dumb driver wasn’t paying attention and almost went ‘’out’’ the ‘’in’’ causing me to swerve (my car is basically in park that’s how slow I was moving) but I was forced to move the wheels enough that my mirror hit the card pass meter and break off the whole back-end of my mirror. To make matters worse, before I even realized what happened, he had left the parkade.

My day just kept going like that. Patients not showing up. One who did show up had to be cut short because she was clearly under the influence of something, construction not allowing me to leave after work…you get my drift. Bad. Day.

I’m pretty good at not letting things get to me. I’m good at finding positives and moving on but I couldn’t concentrate at work and quite honestly for the first time in a long time wanted to leave work and get away from basically all of humanity. I was in a serious funk.

On my drive home I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time. The feeling of not caring. Not giving a crap and acting on my impulses. This leads me to my first point of when you should never make a financial decision.

During an Emotional High or Low

As I was driving home I was thinking about my sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding and things that need to be done. The night before I had done a quick search about finding maternity pantyhose for my dress. I wasn’t surprised to find out the cheapest I could buy locally were $17 plus tax, per pair. A cost I couldn’t justify when I’ll wear them literally one day and normal pantyhose can be purchased at basically any drug store for like $5.00. I was annoyed at the cost but accepted no one would care if my pale bare legs were on display.

However on my drive home I had a ‘’screw it’’ moment. I actually changed lanes and almost drove to the mall to spend the cash on the pantyhose. Not because I now wanted them or had changed my mind but because part of me wanted to satisfy that ‘’I don’t care anymore’’ feeling. I had one full red light to realize I was just being irrational and opted to buy a $2.00 ice cream instead, still an emotional purchase but less damaging.

When you’re going through an emotional high or low, anything from a simple bad day to an exciting new marriage, do not make any immediate financial decisions. Some decisions may be permanent and much more damaging than an ice cream. Take time to sort through all emotion before deciding anything.

When Money Is New

Some of you will be fortunate enough to come into a sum of money. Gifts, inheritances, whatever. If you do, even if you have thought and dreamt about what you’d do with it- wait. Give yourself some time to really think about things and get advice. Talk to trustworthy friends, family and ideally professionals about how to best execute your plan. If we came into money my quick response would be ‘pay off debt’ but upon talking to someone else they may point out reasons why investing might be a better option. Get good advice, then decide.

When You’re Distracted

There are many, many distractions in life. Everything from technology, to our jobs, to family, if you don’t have time set aside time to think about your financial decision, wait until you do. It’s only fair to you and your money that you make all decisions with a clear mind and away from all other noise.

Money can be a stressful thought, even a good kind of stress, and I think some people are quick to make decisions so they no longer have to think about it but there are definitely times when taking a pause is always a good idea.

Have you ever experienced a regret in a financial decision because of one of these reasons?

How to Successfully Buy a Used Car

How to Successfully Buy a Used Car

I have never bought a brand new car nor have I ever taken a loan out on a car. I have always bought used vehicles from private sellers. There is an art to this though. While I’ve had great experiences with both cars I’ve purchased this way, not everyone has had luck with buying used cars or purchasing vehicles from private sellers.

Purchasing from a private seller can be a bit unnerving, just like buying a used car instead of a brand new car can be a bit worrisome. However, you don’t have to worry about buying a used car from a private seller if you keep these simple tips in mind:

  1. It helps if you know the seller beforehand. The first car that I bought from a private seller was a car I purchased from a family friend. We weren’t very close but I knew her enough to know that she wouldn’t sell me a lemon. She was up front with the problems that the car had. It needed new tires, new brakes and rotors and the trunk didn’t always open. I purchased the car for $1,000 and had the car for four more years.
  2. Have the car checked by your mechanic. If you have a trusted mechanic, you should get the car checked by YOUR mechanic before you make the purchase. Ask the seller if you can take the car on a test drive, drive the vehicle to your mechanic and have them do a quick look. Even if the private seller says that they just had the car looked at, you should have it checked by someone you know and trust.
  3. Check the Kelly Blue Book price. This is important when you are purchasing any car. Check the KBB listing for the car. You can look up the year, make and model, factor in mileage and other damage to get the suggested selling price of the car. You want to pay at or below the KBB price. You can use this information to haggle with the seller. KBB also offers reviews of the car from consumers so you can get a good idea of how the car will run.
  4. Be knowledgeable about the vehicle. Do your research and make sure you know what you need to know about the car prior to arriving to see it/buy it. Have a list of questions ready for the seller about the car. If you are not sure if you will be able to come up with a good list of questions yourself or know the right questions to ask, bring someone along who can help you become more knowledgeable about the vehicle.
  5. Don’t be pressured into buying. Many private sellers as well as dealers on car lots will try and pressure you into buying a vehicle. Private sellers will oftentimes tell you that there is more than one person interested in the vehicle and that you’ll have to make a decision quickly in order to still get the car. Don’t be pressured or threatened by these statements. Tell them that you are going to continue to think about it and shop around.

Have you purchased a used car from a private seller? Did you have any luck? 

Photo: Flickr: refreshment_66

How Amateur Investors Can Become Great Money Managers

Invest Without a lot of MoneyFor the investors who are just starting out in the investment world, the process can be quite intimidating and you might think – if the pros can’t beat the market, how can a small-time investor like you have any hope?

Most of the competition out there could probably wipe you out on a daily basis, however if you learn to play up your strength and consider these investing ideas, there’s a fairly good chance you can keep up.

These investing ideas may prove profitable to some fortunate investors however keep in mind that some techniques may be contradictory – you just have to find out what works best for you. This is just a guideline to get you started.

[Read more…]

Building An Affordable Maternity Wardrobe

maternity shirtWhat to know what’s criminal? The cost of maternity clothes. Stick the word ‘’baby’’, ‘’maternity’’, ‘’breastfeeding/nursing’’ or ‘’pregnancy’’ in front of any regular item of clothing and suddenly the price is increased significantly. Most pregnant women will need some form of maternity wear throughout their almost 10 month gestational period so, unfortunately a lot of these maternity specialty stores have a monopoly on the niche population (though there are many tricks out there to getting the most out of your pre-pregnancy wardrobe). Add in the fact that some people, like me, live in an area with very slim pickings in terms of where to shop for such items and suddenly I’m looking at a pair of pants with a price tag of $80.00 and I’ll wear for less than five months.

My first pregnancy was over four years ago and was in opposite season. I was biggest/really only needed maternity clothes in the late spring/early summer with my first, where this time I’m not only showing much earlier, I will be my biggest in the late summer all the way into winter. I also didn’t buy much of anything during my first pregnancy that I could keep for this one. In total I carried over two shirts (one quite dressy), two scrub tops and a pair of smaller jeans. I was determined to squeeze myself into ‘’regular’’ clothes as long as I could because, as mentioned maternity clothes as so, so expensive.

Target doesn’t exist in Canada, my local Walmart doesn’t carry maternity wear and neither does my local Old Navy (nor does online have an option)…the top three affordable choices for moms around North American don’t exist for me so I had to look into alternative options since I was quickly popping out of all regular clothes.

Here are a few ways to build a maternity wardrobe without breaking the bank:

Second Hand Stores

I have checked out my local thrift stores but I haven’t had any luck. I am convinced our local women share their maternity wear among friends or sell privately but I had to include it because it’s always worth looking into. Like most young children’s clothes, maternity wear is often only used for less than six months so if you do have luck you can buy almost new clothing for much cheaper.

Classifieds

I don’t live in a huge city and, as mentioned there are really only two options for clothes locally- two popular chain stores and a few upscale maternity boutiques. This means you can expect clothes from these expensive stores to pop-up online. Though I haven’t bought anything via online classifieds I have looked and there are good deals. Just last week a lady was selling a dress from a local boutique which she paid over $140, wore for three months and was selling for $40. Not bad.

Online Shopping

I have little option in terms of online shopping but there is one website that I have had success with called Zuliliy (not an affiliate link). The risk is that there aren’t any returns but I haven’t had any trouble with their products. I found a two pack of maternity tank tops for $12, a dressy t-shirt for $10 and a dress to wear to a wedding at seven months pregnant for $30 (from $90) all of which I have been very happy with and all of which I can re-sell via online classifieds when I’m done.

Cut Coupons

I hate signing up for most email signups but when it comes to baby, my experience is that it is often worth it. Over my two pregnancies I have had opportunities to save some big bucks on items including maternity wears. One of the emails I get every few weeks includes a coupon for 40% off at one of these fancy maternity wear stores so when I found myself approaching the cooler months and a few events to attend with literally one pair of pants I can squeeze into, I decided to buy a second pair. The pants retailed for $79.98 (simple pair of skinny jeans), were on sale for $64.99 and I was able to use one of these coupons putting the $80 pants at $39. Outside of my work scrubs I will wear these two pairs of pants plus a pair of leggings throughout the next three months and into the first few post-natal months.

In total I have spent about $100 on maternity clothes for my pregnancy and I’m happy with that. After baby is born I will need a few nursing bras which will probably run about $30 each but I plan on working those into my November birthday gift (adulting is fun). I won’t lie, when I’m at home or lounging I’ve been mostly wearing my husband’s old t-shirts since I draw the line at buying fancy maternity PJ’s and lounge wear. I have been taking care of the items I have purchased and hope to recover some of the cost by re-selling as well.

How did you manage your maternity wardrobe? Any other tips?

Our Experiment in Using Credit Cards

-1For most of my adult life I haven’t used credit cards. If you’ll remember, I had access to a decent chunk of credit back in university (in the days when they’d increase your limit without you asking), and so during my second degree I maxed out my cards for tuition. With maxed out credit cards and no desire to take on more debt, we were forced to live on cash/debit.

This wasn’t a bad thing necessarily. It’s not exactly easy to accumulate more debt when you can only live on what what’s in your bank account. We didn’t even have overdraft which we may be tempted to dip into. Though we were living on cash, as I have talked about many times before, we weren’t managing our finances well. Bills were getting paid but we weren’t making any headway on our debt repayment which wasn’t doing favors for anyone.

In the last few years we’ve come a long way, we’ve learned how to manage our money, pay off debt and live our life. One thing we’ve never really done though is learn how to properly use a credit card. I really don’t think a credit card is a necessity to live, there are plenty of people who get along fine without them, but for us it was something I wanted to master.

The biggest reason I wanted to master proper credit card usage was because one of our biggest annoyances with our budget is that we’re paid bi-weekly but almost every bill we have is set up to be a monthly paid bill but when it comes to our discretionary spending on things like groceries, gas, or even cat needs things can get kind of confusing about exactly how much to allocate and when to use the cash. I wanted the flexibility to spend, say $200 in one grocery run but only spend $75 the next time and not spend the difference in cash but by the end of the month stay within what we budgeted. I don’t like allocating the exact same amount every two weeks. I wanted to experiment with using a credit card for a few months to see if we could stay within what I had established as a ‘’monthly’’ allotment for these discretionary categories allowing us to manage the cash side of things a bit easier and here’s what I learned:

It’s incredibly easy to get lazy with tracking when it goes on a credit card. When you pay cash/debit for everything, you’re forced to keep an eagle eye on your bank account daily, if not multiple times per day. Though this is a habit that should have transcended with the credit card, it did not for us.

It’s too easy to overspend. We knew the money was there so we just kept spending. I’d go to the grocery store, grab some things and Mike would follow getting more, leading to unnecessary spending, multiple times per month.

It can be uncomfortable. Seeing the balance grow throughout the month is not a feeling I like, so much so that we’ve learned very quickly, two months into this experiment, we need to change how we use and pay off frequency.

We definitely made some mistakes in these first two months of usage but thankfully we have our financial knowhow to be able to recognize what we need to do to fix our errors. One thing we did do is make sure the credit we had available to us was manageable, especially with me preparing to go on maternity leave. The last thing we want is to end up in unnecessary credit card debt. Our limit is set that we should be able to have it paid off (if ever maxed out) within two months.

Even though we’ve made some mistakes, we’ve also taken the time to realize what we need to do to make it work and are going to give it another try…with the obvious being much more careful monitoring.

Do you like using credit cards for daily spending? Any secret tips?

How to Save Money When Purchasing a Condo in Montreal

Buying a new condo can be a scary decision but it really doesn’t have to be. With the right know-how, purchasing a condo can actually be a simple, exciting and very rewarding experience. Here are a few money-saving tips to remember when you’re buying a condo in Montreal:

Know your budget

The best way for you to start saving money right away is for you to know what you can afford. Borrowing less from the bank today means that you will pay less interest over the course of your mortgage. Use an online mortgage calculator to calculate what mortgage payments you will be able to manage. Get a pre-approved mortgage from your bank so that you have a price range to keep in mind.

Discover Financial Assistance Programs

Another easy way for you to save money on your condo purchase is through financial assistance programs that offer tax credits, deductions and refunds. Do your research and find out if you are eligible for any financial assistance programs such as First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC) and Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP).

Create a Must-Haves List

My must-have list saved me a lot of money on my condo purchase. I eliminated the things that I didn’t need and I avoided paying more for unnecessary features. You should do the same. Do you really need a parking space (or two), a storage space, a swimming pool or a gym? Do you need to be close to public transit? Your must-haves list will affect the overall cost of your condo.

Learn about the developer

You can save yourself a lot of money and headaches later on if you firmly understand from whom you are buying your condo before you commit to anything. You should look at the builders past projects and their delivery record. Look for any past customer complaints, any additional costs and find out if the condo developer offers any warranties or if they have a detailed guarantee plan.

Understand the final purchasing steps

Exhaust all the tools at your disposal in the purchasing final steps and you can avoid serious problems and financial burdens in the future. Buying early does give you more return on your investment, but it is important that you don’t rush into anything. In Quebec you are allowed a 10-day cancellation period for a signed preliminary contract. Use this time to discuss concerns with your lawyer and confirm your financing. If you are buying a resale condo, have the condo inspected so that you avoid any additional surprise costs.

Account for closing costs

Don’t get blind-sided by any additional closing costs such as title insurance, notary services and moving expenses. Make sure that you figure all additional fees into your initial condo-purchasing costs and save yourself from blowing your budget.

Mondev-Buyers-Guide-Final-Infographic-En

3 Honest Reasons Why You Should Wait to Have Kids

Source: Free Digital Photos

Source: Free Digital Photos

Having kids is a life alerting thing, likely one of the biggest life changes any couple will make. Some couples choose not to have children and I personally have zero issue with this. While I can’t imagine my life without my daughter and impending baby 2.0, I 100% understand this is not the life for everyone (I apologize on behalf of the childbearing society which attempts to pressure you and make you feel bad). If, however you are considering having a child, there are some very real things to consider in terms of timing. While medical professionals will remind you that waiting may not be the best fertility practice, there are many other benefits to holding off on having your first child.

You Have More Time to Get Your Finances in Order

While this theoretically should have been true for us, given that we had three full years of career-level income before having our daughter, we did not put this into practice. Knowing what I know now, I want to kick myself, hard. For us, it took getting pregnant and having another human to care for to get us in gear BUT if you’re lucky enough to have the financial ability to deal with any and all financial issues (paying down debt, beefing up savings, getting housing in order) before baby comes- do it. You will NEVER have the same financial opportunities once baby comes. Holding off on pregnancy means more time to get financial affairs in order and you must capitalize on this.

You’ll Likely Score Free Stuff From Friends

If I’m being honest, one of the biggest perks with not being the first of my friends to have kids is scoring on the baby stuff they want to give away. I have one friend who has a daughter three months older than Maria, three months is about the max time you’ll get out of an outfit in a growing infant which meant as she was growing out of cute baby clothes, we were handed them. This saved us a ton during the first year. Between her hand-me-downs and what I received as shower gifts, I didn’t buy a single item of clothing in year one. I visited the same friend today who gave me bags full of baby clothes. They didn’t know with either pregnancy if it was a boy or girl so they handed over all the baby boy stuff to us to have for our impending son, a lot of it brand new.

Within my circle of friends we’ve shared many things between us which has saved all of us a decent chunk of money. Toys, bouncy chairs, breast pumps (easy to come apart and sterilize), clothes (who wants to spend $30+ on an infant dress to wear to a wedding when you can borrow?). Being able to accept hand-me-downs and borrow items is a huge plus.

Your Bucket List Will Be Smaller

Though you may be in your peak fertility years, I simply cannot imagine planning a child in my late teens/early 20’s. By the time you’ve finished your post-secondary, and had a few years to live your life, I just don’t see how you can be prepared to have a child without regret any earlier. Not that a child isn’t a blessing, by waiting a few years you’ll have more opportunity to accomplish things that might not be so easy once a baby comes into your life.

I have people in my life who had kids very young (some planned, some not) and people who deliberately waited. The ones who waited are often much, much better off starting out. They have the financial knowhow to manage a maternity leave, to understand the importance of a stable living situation and truly appreciate the life they’ve set up for the child. So though society may judge you for not considering children until beyond your 30’s, or even 40’s you really do get the last laugh.

25 Alarming Facts About Debt in America

Facts About Debt in America

It is no secret that debt is a huge problem in America, however, when most people think about debt in America they think about the national debt (which is in the trillions). The debt that many people are overlooking is the debt that lies within our own homes. In fact, 43 percent of American families spend more money than they make every year.

Why is this still happening? People hear about debt, read articles about budgeting and possibly even seek professional financial advice but we, as Americans, are still allowing ourselves to fall deeper and deeper into debt. Some scholars say this is because people are not educated on the reality of debt in America. Learning about debt and financial wellness is the only way to break the vicious cycle of poverty. In effort to better people’s knowledge of debt in America, here are 25 rather alarming facts:

Facts About Debt in America

  1. Forty-six percent of all Americans carry some kind of credit card debt from month-to-month.
  2. Americans carry $798 billion in credit card debt in all (you could not amass that amount of debt in your lifetime even if you spent $7 billion every day since the day you were born and lived to be 100 years old).
  3. The average amount of credit card debt per household is practically $16,000 and the average interest rate on credit cards in America is just over 13 percent.
  4. People ages 45 to 54 hold the most credit card debt (averaging about $9,000 per person in this age group).
  5. Surprisingly, the more money you make, the more credit card debt you carry. People in the $160,000 a year and more income level carry over $11,000 in credit card debt, on average, compared to those who only make $25,000 a year or less ($3,000 in credit card debt).
  6. The average consumer in America has 3.5 credit cards.
  7. Most Americans have at least one credit card before the age of 21.
  8. On average, men carry $2,000 more in credit card debt than women.
  9. Caucasian Americans carry more credit card debt than any other race in America (averaging over $7,900).
  10. Credit card debt is only a fraction of the problem though. The average American family holds over $132,000 in total debt.
  11. Forty-five percent of all auto loans in America are made to be paid over six years or longer (plenty of cars don’t even last that long).
  12. In America, 70 percent of all car purchases involve a loan.
  13. Mortgage debt is about 70 percent higher than it was just 20 years ago.
  14. The percentage of residential mortgages that are currently in foreclosure sits at 4.5 percent.
  15. Eight million Americans are at least one month behind on their mortgage right now.
  16. About 40 percent of Americans are currently in medical debt or paying off medical bills.
  17. In more than 60 percent of personal bankruptcies medical bills play a major factor in the reasoning behind the individual filing for bankruptcy.
  18. Student loan debt in the United States is over $1 trillion.
  19. About 65 percent of all American college students will graduate with student loan debt.
  20. The default rate on student loans has doubled in the past 10 years.
  21. Twenty-five percent of college students use credit cards to pay their tuition and other fees.
  22. The average American household is paying $6,658 in interest each year.
  23. There is a strong correlation between debt and mental illness. The likelihood of having a mental health problem is three times higher among people with debt than those who have not.
  24. Nearly 1 in 5 of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 consider themselves to be in some sort of debt hardship.
  25. The rise in cost of living has outpaced growth in income for the past 12 years (this is the root of the debt problem).

How to Get Rid of the Debt Problem in America

How do we fix this problem? Well, there is no one answer to fixing the debt problem in America. However, there is one simple step that could help: get rid of things you don’t need. For the most part people are racking up debt for items and services that just aren’t necessary. For instance, do you really need Netflix AND a premium cable package? Do you need your home phone and cell phone? There are probably a few cuts that you could make in your budget to make it easier to pay off your debt and avoid racking up more debt in the future.

What do you think the answer to America’s debt problem is?

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