Lately I’ve heard a lot of “financial experts” and a lot of their passion now lies in getting rid of all consumer debt.
Typically you will hear their story of being saddled with debt and how they overcame the debt now they want everyone to have zero debt.
The middle class has a debt problem, U.S Today did a story and stated that the average American has over $137,00 worth of consumer debt while the average salary is only a little over $59,000.
I agree with controlling spending, and using debt such as credit cards not as a crutch to replace income.
My philosophy is that credit has to be looked at as leverage, to have controlled payments with low enough interest for you to buy items that would require large cash outlay such as for a furniture store offering 18 months interest free credit. That is a responsible use of credit.
Irresponsible use of credit, using credit cards for groceries, gasoline, and anything that is in place to satisfy wants vs needs, especially when it carries high interest.
I hear these experts tell consumers to pay off their houses, credit cards, car loans and only live off of what you saved, if you eliminate all those obligations then you can start to stockpile cash for retirement.
I’ve heard them also say that this strategy could be used to survive the "Retirement Crisis," which is the inability to stop working in the future.
The retirement crisis is mostly due to the fact that we are living longer than any other time in recent history and at the same time there is not a guaranteed income like a pension to take care of the average American worker.
The strategy is to eliminate all the debt then invest the money so you can have no debt and live off your savings. When you design your future, you have to look at variables that may be applicable today, but you have to look at trends to see if it will be sustainable for you to the future.
A great example is property taxes, most municipalities freeze property taxes for seniors after they turn 65.
What is going to happen when the senior population is the largest percentage of the state’s residents?
As seniors are living longer, the state may not be able to get enough of their budget from property taxes, so there is two options the state can do. They can raise taxes on everyone else, or they can increase the age on when the property tax freeze like 70, 75….never?
What about groceries, transportation, medicare, going out to eat, travel, entertainment. Then we have the uncertainty on how long we are going to live.
I am a firm believer in "let’s do the math" ….if we have a 35 year old who has average household expenses of about $2900 for the month that includes groceries, eating out, utilities, grooming, gasoline, property taxes. If we adjust that for inflation when the 35 year old is 65 in 30 years that same pattern will cost $66, 246 per year and that is a net number, you have to think on what you would have to earn to net that and it will increase each year because of future costs will go higher. Let’s say they didn’t freeze property taxes until the 35 year old turns 75, and have the same costs mentioned the yearly expenses are over $91,000!
When I wrote my book "How to Hire Your House," I stressed that it is about investing your debt and the ability to leverage just like banks do.
Mario Henry, a former National Football League player, is a financial services professional with 18 years of experience in the industry and author of "How to Hire Your House," an innovative guide on how to create a tax-free pension and sustain sufficient income through retirement. Mario also is a licensed insurance broker and a national motivational speaker. He was a wide receiver with the NFL’s New England Patriots and a scholarship football player at Rutgers University.
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