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10 Tips For Getting Out Of Debt And Saving Money
by John M. Roberts

As people grow older, they start looking forward to the day that they can retire, relax, and enjoy the fruits of their many years of getting up and going to work. 

Many people work most of their adult lives with the intent of not having to worry about money and having a nice comfortable place to live.  They plan for the day that they can collect their pensions, social security benefits, and money from other investments that they have made over the years.

But things can happen to create concerns about projected income that can make retirement a little less secure.  Inflation, losses in the stock market, a collapse of the real estate market, accidents, long term illnesses, a buildup of debt, and other setbacks can make sweet dreams of retirement feel more like a financial nightmare.

If this has happened to you, ask yourself one vital question. What do I need to do to get back on track to secure my financial goals and retirement aspirations?

(1) First of all, you must recognize the things that are getting you in debt. For a lot of people, shopping is fun and many find it invigorating. But undisciplined shopping can be detrimental to your financial health. A person can become addicted to shopping and not know it. The medical term for this condition is "oniomania." It refers to compulsive shopping habits that can lead to large amounts of debt.

(2). Sit down with a financial planner to go over your current finances to create a plan to start saving and investing. Most financial planners are skilled in the art of finding ways to reduce debt and addressing the problems that get people in financial trouble in the first place. They can show you how to save and put you on a path to long term financial success.

(3). Set up an emergency fund. This can create a buffer between the money you already have in retirement vehicles and money you will need in case of an accident, illness, or other event that calls for cash outlays.

(4). Ask yourself, if you already own a home, do you really need to upgrade to a bigger, more expensive home or does the one you have meet your needs? You should remember that a home is the most expensive investment you will probably ever make and since you are getting close to retirement age, you should think about the long term payments you will have. Most home loans have payoff times that run between 15 and 30 years and will take up a significant portion of your retirement pay or your social security benefits if you retire before it is paid off.

(5) Do you need a new car, especially if the one you have is just a few years old and is still in good running condition? If you need another car, it may be better if you buy a pre owned one. But if you can squeeze a few more years out of the one you currently own, it could save you a lot of money. As you've probably heard, a new car loses a significant portion of its value as soon as it is driven off the car lot which makes it a bad investment in terms of ever recouping the money you pay for it.

(6) Eliminate bills that you don't need. Some people purchase cell phone apps that they never use, subscribe to newspapers and magazines they don't read, order movie channels from their cable and satellite providers that they never watch, and so on and so on. And always check your utility bills because charges are often put on them that you don't authorize. Such expenditures may not appear that significant, but over a long period of time they add up to be a lot and that money can go towards your savings or paying off other debt.

(7) Although jobs are not that easy to find today, there are some to be had. It may be a good idea to take on a part time job as a way to earn extra income for savings and investment purposes. On top of that, if you have already retired, a part time job will give you something to do to help keep you mentally and physically fit.

(8) Stop spending so much on your grown children. No matter how old their children get, some parents have a need to pull out their check books and credit cards to spend on them. There has to come a time when you realize the need to put yourself first. Your children will understand if you buy for them only on their birthdays and at Christmas.

(9) Spending on the grandchildren can get expensive, too, but it's hard to say not to them. Many people have the perception that since they couldn't afford to buy their children everything they wanted when they were growing up, they can make up for it by spending lavishly on their grandchildren. Your grandchildren are precious to you but you should keep your spending on them under control.

(10) You can insure just about anything you have but don't go overboard with it. Insurance is a good thing to have but not all of them are necessary and the dollar amounts can be way too much. Certain insurances are required by law, others are required by banks and mortgage companies, and some are needed as safety nets such as health and life insurances. Whenever you need insurance, shop around for the best prices and don't buy more than you need.


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