America has raised a nation of professional spenders whose saving skills leave much to be desired. Although we’re working harder and logging longer hours than ever before, we’re saving less and relying more on credit to get by. Study after study, the dismal numbers show that too many are just scraping by with little to no money to stash away. Financial insecurity plagues nearly half of Americans who say they can’t afford an unexpected $400 expense, according to the Federal Reserve. One in three said they went without medical care because they couldn’t afford it.
There are, of course, institutional roadblocks that stand in the way of saving for a rainy day. One of the biggest problems is the rising cost of education: Students are saddled with student loans even before they graduate. How easy can it be for a 20-something to begin saving for retirement when they have more than $30,000 in student loans to pay back? And stagnant wage growth makes it difficult to keep up with the cost of living. But a long list of poor financial decisions prevent us from taking control. More time is spent planning for vacations than for retirement. And parents are going into debt spoiling their kids as they try to keep up with the Joneses.continue reading »