Is American Poverty As Bad As We Think It Is?

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A few years ago during the Great Recession, my mom would lament about how scary times were and how it was similar to the Great Depression.

Without a doubt, the Great Recession was hard on many families.

People lost jobs, and sometimes it took them months or even years to find a new one.  Some people lost their homes, and many others were underwater.  Still, to say that times were as hard as those during the Great Depression was a gross exaggeration.

Let’s Put American Poverty in Perspective

Poverty in the United States During the Great Depression

The site Ohio.gov has gathered stories from the elderly recounting their life during the Great Depression.  If you’re a history buff, you could spend hours reading the material.  By recounting their lives during that time, we get an excellent glimpse into how difficult times really were.
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When Does It Make Sense to Automate Your Finances?

Automating your finances is one way of simplifying your financial life.

When your automate your finances you use your bank, credit card, or service provider’s website to set up automatic transactions on your behalf.  You can automate paying your utility bills, paying your credit card, investing your retirement funds, and many other tasks.

Finance automation is often touted as one of the top ten things you should do to improve your finances.

While having your bills paid on time does help you save time and avoid late fees, completely automating your finances is foolish and nearly impossible to do.

How Automating Your Finances Improves Your Finances

Late fees.  Overdraft fees.  High interest rate penalties.  Missed payments.

All of these items are the result of mismanaging your finances.  Missing one payment can result in your interest rate on your credit card going sky high.  Missing the payment due date on any bill will automatically reward you with a late fee on top of what you already owed.

In short, mismanaged finances end up costing you thousands of dollars with all the fees and higher interest rates you pay.
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Is the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Mentality Dangerous for Your Finances?

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When you are young and of limited means, access to experiences can be few and far between — at least without debt.

But to some, experiences are so important that they’ll head off on vacation in spite of mounds of debt.

One of the underlying characteristics of the “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) philosophy is that you should enjoy yourself now, before it’s too late.  What happens if you fritter away all your young and healthy years without truly living, only to find that your golden years are taken up by infirmity?  All that money you scrimped to build a nest egg just goes to paying medical bills.

YOLO says that it’s ok to be comfortable carrying a certain amount of debt, as long as you are pursuing great life experiences and enjoying the lifestyle you want to live.  In some cases, it’s even ok to incur more debt in order to travel the world — as long as you can handle the payments.

How YOLO Can Become Problematic for Your Finances

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President’s Day Money Quotes

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In honor of President’s day here are quotes from twelve of our esteemed leaders:

All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.

-John Adams

It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.

-George W. Bush
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Why You Won’t Get Rich Quick

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Get rich quick schemes are everywhere.

From late night informercials touting real estate success to the coffee shop barista that wants to sell you on the magical pyramid scheme he’s caught up in, it just seems so tempting.

You see everyone else has it better than you.  They’ve figured out the trick, and they’ll let you in on the secret for only 17 easy payments of $42.71.

Deep down we know better.

We know that getting rich quick schemes won’t work, but we’re still drawn to them because… well… being rich sounds great.

We live in an immediate gratification society and if we could all snap our fingers to be rich the resulting sound of the cumulative snaps would be a sonic boom.

Unfortunately, getting rich quick just doesn’t work.

Why Getting Rich Quick Doesn’t Work

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Why Do Women Make Less Money Than Men? Are We Training Them to Earn Less?

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That women generally earn less than men is a well known fact. 

Many people attribute the income difference to the fact that women are more likely to leave the job field to become caretakers, either for their children or their parents.  In fact, Time reported that “over a period of 15 years, according to a 2004 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a full 52% of women in their prime earning age range of 26 to 59 go through at least one full calendar year earning nothing at all, compared with just 16% of men.”

Of course, that absence in the work place can account for some difference in pay, especially when women stay out of the workforce for several years while their children are young.

However, women leaving the work field to care for others is only part of the story.

When Does the Wage Gap Between Men and Women Begin?

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4 Money Attitudes that Will Lead to Financial Failure

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Sometimes, the way we think about money can have a big impact on how successful we are financially.

It seems strange that your mindset could matter so much, but how you think about money, and what you think is possible, can affect your financial success over time.

Take a few minutes to examine your money attitudes, and determine whether or not they are healthy.  Think about some of the attitudes you have that might be bringing your finances down the road to financial failure, including:

1. I’ll Start Saving When I Make More Money

My husband and I fell victim to this attitude early on in our marriage.  We thought we had to be making a certain amount of money before we could start saving.

Eventually, though, we realized that we needed to start small.  Building the habit, especially with our low income, was more important than anything else.

It’s important to get in the habit of saving.
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