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The median household income in 2019 was $68,703, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Let’s say you were put in charge of $68,703 for a year at your job for a special project. You would be responsible with it, transparent, aware of your spending, adhere to a budget so you wouldn’t run out of money, and so on, right?  Otherwise, you would likely get fired.

When it comes to your personal money, do you treat it the same way?

Unfortunately, many Americans do not, as indicated by financial behaviors that studies and surveys have continued to show, such as living paycheck to paycheck (seen at all income levels) and not having enough money saved.

For many, just getting by paycheck to paycheck has worked out okay.  They have just enough to cover bills, mortgage, student loan payments, car loans, other debts, and don’t see any need to change anything.

But that way of doing things can only run the household smoothly for so long.  Throw in an emergency situation, like a car repair or trip to the ER, and the financial stress builds.  Without any savings, it’s easy to turn to the credit card to fund life’s curveballs, only adding to your current debt.

Most people need a wake up call to get their finances in order.  If an emergency doesn’t do it for them, maybe global events will.

The 2018 National Financial Capability Study found that 46 percent of respondents (27,091 were surveyed) did not have three months worth of savings put away to get them through a job loss or medical leave from work.  Back then, who would’ve thought that a pandemic would have caused so many furloughs and layoffs?

COVID has been the ultimate wake up call for many households.  And even if you or your spouse were fortunate to keep your jobs, there’s a good chance you know someone who wasn’t as lucky; maybe their story can count as your wake-up call.

How much debt do you have, not including the house?  Does your emergency savings have enough to get you through at least three months of unemployment?  How much progress have you made on your student loans since you graduated?

If you need help getting your finances in order, and you want to be better with how you manage your money, UF Extension can help.  We are offering free virtual financial education sessions.

During your session, you will receive a preliminary evaluation of your financial state, create a budget, and discuss options for going forward.  If your finances have you feeling overwhelmed, this is a perfect opportunity to learn how to take control before the next emergency strikes, whether it’s another virus, or a hurricane, or a devastating medical diagnosis.  If you are ready to improve your money management skills, please reach out.

Please register here to be matched with a financial counselor: https://ufl.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6gtB5ixt5oIYDrv

 

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