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What percentage of people in the United States would you guess are living paycheck to paycheck? Are you one of them? If I told you that 50-percent of us fall into that category, would you believe me?
If you think that's a high estimate, hold on to your hats because the actual number is worse.
More than three-quarters of workers (78%) who earn less than $100,000 per year, are one unexpected expense away from a big financial mess. I don't know about you, but that number is scary to me. (You can check out the full story here.)
Additionally, and very much relatedly, 71-percent of full-time workers say they have some kind of debt. Of those, 56-percent of them say they don't believe they will ever get out of it. Think about it--if you're living paycheck to paycheck because of debt, and something unexpected comes up, you go into more debt to pay that expense. So, it's kind of a vicious cycle, right?
Consider the emotional toll that belief takes on a person. Working full-time, unable to get ahead financially, operating under the anchor of debt, and believing things will never be any better. What does that do to our collective mental, emotional and spiritual health? The cost of our debt-culture goes beyond a financial one.
Let's talk about the culture of debt while we're at it. It's become more than just acceptable--it's marketed as desirable. Many people get their first credit card offer at 18--I've heard stories of credit card applications being included in freshman move-in packets at colleges! College itself has become synonymous with debt too. Can't afford tuition? Here's a student loan you can spend the rest of your adult life paying off. Want something now, but can't afford it? Why wait? Just fill out this credit application and walk out of the store with it. You deserve it.
We think it's an unavoidable part of adult life, but it doesn't have to be and it really shouldn't be. It is crippling. If you're struggling with debt or just want to learn how to create a budget and make a financial plan you can live with, I cannot recommend Dave Ramsey's books enough. The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness is one of my favorites and a good place to start.
In contrast to that 78-percent number, only nine-percent of full-time workers earning more than $100,000 per year reported that they struggled to make ends meet.
What does that tell us? Well, it tells me we need an increase in income and a shift to a debt-is-not-okay mindset. And it reinforces for me one of the big reasons why I'm such and advocate for real estate and Keller Williams in particular.
I’m a self-help junkie and every book I read about entrepreneurship or financial freedom says we should have multiple income streams. That we should be diversifying where our money comes from so that our financial futures are not subject to the whims of one bad boss or the ups and downs of one market.
If I told you that as a Realtor I have four businesses functioning simultaneously and generating four income streams for me, would that pique your curiosity? The first is the most obvious--I represent buyers and sellers and earn commissions on each transaction I close. Income stream number one.
You might be surprised how many agents don't leverage the other three opportunities: referrals, profit-sharing and investing in real estate. Please don't be one of them! I love talking about possibilities and coaching other agents, so click here and let's schedule a time to meet!
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