Personal finance is such an important topic that it’s amazing that it’s not taught more in schools. If more people were taught personal finance information, they’d make fewer mistakes about career choices, school choices, credit card debt and so much more.
But, you must want to know more about personal finance because you’re reading this. Congratulations, because you’re getting ready to be ahead of most of the population when it comes to your knowledge and understanding of personal finance.
What Is Personal Finance?
Essentially, personal finance is the act of managing your money and your financial decisions. It covers all your personal financial issues such as managing debt, choosing and buying insurance, saving money, investing money, buying a home, taxes and more.
If it has something to do with money and your personal life, then it’s personal finance. Some of the most important considerations in personal finance are cash flow, buying insurance, figuring out your taxes, saving and investing, and retirement planning.
Thankfully, today there are many useful tools that you can incorporate into your personal financial planning. In this report, we’ll explore those tools and let you know what’s important when you’re managing your personal financial issues. For each person, the concerns are slightly different based on their family situation.
Personal Finance Issues You May Face
Throughout your lifetime, you may face a variety of personal financial issues. Issues like debt, unemployment, illness, and others can affect you very harshly. But, if you can set aside time to create a plan, usually there are ways to deal with almost every single financial issue you may face.
- Unemployment – At some point in life, everyone starts off as unemployed but many of us have the backing of parents, relatives, or friends to help us through it. But for those who don’t, excessive debt can often occur if there's no plan. This is especially true if you had a good job and then were laid off due to no fault of your own. Losing your job, savings, and then building up debt due to the unemployment situation, is a common problem.
- Underemployment – Many people find jobs, but they don’t pay enough for necessities in their location. For example, if your job only pays $35,000 a year but housing in your area costs $24,000 a year, you may have a serious problem finding housing and taking care of basic needs.
- Accident or Illness – Whether you were born with an illness or came down with an illness, it can have a huge financial impact on you, especially if you live in a place where your job is what provides you with affordable insurance coverage. It’s a serious problem for about half a million Americans each year who file bankruptcy due to medical reasons. Sadly, many of them do have health insurance too.
- Going Out on Your Own – When you first decide to "go out on your own" as a young adult, it can be quite shocking to find out how much everything costs. You may quickly realize that you need to downgrade your expectations and that you may not be able to live at the same level you have become accustomed to while living with your folks.
- Having Children – Children cost a lot of money. Sure, they are cute. But, the average cost of having a baby in America is just under $10K if there are no complications. Then you add to it the cost of housing, feeding, clothing, and keeping that child healthy through the next 18 to 22 years if you plan to help them with college.
- Divorce – Not only does divorce cost money just to file the papers and pay the lawyers, there is a longer-term cost to the entire family that may not have been considered. Of course, no one wants to imagine "what if" when they’re in love and planning a wedding. But divorce has real consequences and real costs that can add up for the long term for a family and the heirs of that family.
- Death – Whether it’s your child, parent, or partner who dies, death has many financial consequences. From probate court to who inherits what, we have standard laws in each state that we must follow. How badly a death can affect you financially depends completely on how well you planned for it.
- Retirement – Everyone hopes to retire someday. But sadly, one in three Americans have no retirement savings. For some time, retirement was a lot nicer for most retirees due to defined benefit plans, Medicaid, and social security. However, changes in these programs and in the lack of availability of defined benefit plans have changed the outlook for most people who plan to retire in the next ten or more years.
- Consumerism – Getting tied up in buying more and "keeping up with the Joneses" is a huge problem for many people in society. If you can control your consumerism and consumer debt (credit card debt), you will likely be a lot better off than your peers, even if you don’t seem to have as much stuff as they do.
Every one of these issues that you may face in your life can be mitigated by good planning. Even if you’re in a bad situation now due to poor planning – potentially due to lack of knowledge about personal finance, it can still be fixed with a good plan going forward.