Even though the presidential election results are over, there is still much of a divide in the United States — not just politically, but economically as well it seems. A report from the Brookings Institution says counties where the majority of voters supported Joe Biden are responsible for a much bigger share of economic activity than those that supported President Trump. In 2020, counties that voted for Biden were responsible for 70 percent of the country’s GDP.
So, one might be inclined to surmise that living conditions and situations vary greatly, and economic activity is influenced accordingly. But the one thing we can all agree on, whether you’re living in rural Pennsylvania or West Texas, in the heart of Trump country, or a larger metropolis like New York City or Los Angeles, traditionally more Democrat strongholds — is that having a stable financial future is desirable, no matter what your politics are.
And while the two are certainly connected, as evidenced by a Pew Research study which showed that the economy was the top issue which influenced voters’ decisions at the polls, it really shows that two different approaches to the same issue is what split the population and their view of a solution to what we’re faced with in 2021.
Regardless of who holds the office of president though, there are things we can do — how we handle our personal finances — that will be more of a guarantee for financial stability in the future.
We aren’t talking about the difference between wealth and poverty here. We aren’t talking about hand-to-mouth versus upper affluent income brackets. We’re talking about a quality of life and a healthy overall financial lifestyle.
Here are some things that will get you there:
Financial literacy. Taking control of your own financial life begins with learning and understanding the ABC’s of finances. This could be as easy as finding a local community financial education class or researching online. But the point is that you are educating yourself.
As it stands currently, according to a study by FINRA, out of all of the adults who live and work in America, almost two-thirds of us cannot calculate interest payments correctly. About 33 percent said they would not even know how to try and calculate it at all.
Get sound advice. Find someone whose advice you trust and know has your best interests at heart. Someone who will not push you into risky investments but rather a conservative approach of taking care of your money.
Budgeting. According to a recent poll, only one in three Americans prepare a detailed household budget. This opens the door to letting bills slip through the cracks and as a result, you could end up with late fees and penalties. It also makes your financial planning unpredictable as to how much money is coming in and how much is needed to cover expenses and how much is available for savings and investments.
Credit cards. The average household with credit card debt has balances totaling $16,425. Look at ways to get better interest rates on your existing cards and loans. This could mean the difference between being debt free and becoming buried under endless credit card bills.
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