We all want to live a comfortable lifestyle. Plus, a feeling of competition can creep in when you see your friends, neighbors, family members, or even complete strangers enjoying luxury items or fancy vacations. It’s only natural that you want to enjoy these things, too.
But with easy access to credit, temptation can lead your long-term financial plans astray. If you notice any of these signs, you might be living beyond your means, or spending more than you earn… And you could regret it later.
Your paychecks are quickly exhausted. Once you’ve paid the bills and purchased essentials like gas and groceries, there’s nothing much left over. Or even worse, you’re charging gas and groceries.
Too much of your income is spent on housing. You’ve probably heard that keeping your rent or mortgage payment below 30 percent of your pre-tax income is a good rule to follow. This leaves you enough room in your budget to save for retirement and take care of other priorities, without straining your budget.
Your savings account hasn’t grown in a long time. When there’s nothing left after paying bills, you can’t stash money for an emergency. Your savings account should always be growing from one month to the next.
You decreased or stopped your retirement plan contributions. If you’ve run short on cash lately, you might have lowered your retirement plan contributions, or stopped making them altogether. Remember to always pay yourself first, in order to keep priorities in line, or you could miss out on the significant value of compounding interest over time.
Your credit score has suffered. Carrying a high balance on credit cards can harm your credit score. And if you’ve made a few late payments, that number is really going to drop.
You only make the minimum payment on credit cards. You will overpay thousands of dollars in interest by following this pattern for many years. If you can’t pay most or all of your credit card balances each month, you’re living on credit rather than on your earnings.
You’ve been hit with overdraft fees or late payment fees more than once this year. This is a sign that you’re spending everything you make, and forgetting to prioritize timely bill payments.
You make lease payments on a car because you couldn’t afford to purchase it. Sometimes leasing a car is the right choice, but often people make this very expensive mistake because they want to drive a car that they cannot really afford.
If any of these signs apply to you, let’s discuss your current financial situation at our next appointment. We can help you make decisions to turn things around, so that you can focus on your long-term financial plan.