I am one thankful man.
I have an incredible wife and three amazing boys. I get to give people hope by telling them it’s never too early or too late to start preparing for retirement. I get to encourage leaders and challenge business owners. And I’m a part of a company that changes lives.
But there are some things I’m not thankful for—things that cause anxiety and fear in people. Fear won’t help you reach your goals, so here are some of the anxiety builders that you need to know about.
They seem like a good option at the time. Sallie Mae and her friends offer low interest rates and deferred repayment, so what’s the problem? Ask the college graduates of 2015. They left school with, on average, more than $30,000 in debt. And that’s not including the interest they’ll pay. Our government will produce $110 billion in profits from its student loans over the next 10 years. Loans keep you from building financial security, and I hate how they erode your dreams.
You know what I’m talking about. You know that coworker who has that fancy house, the flashy car and the expensive clothes. They take exotic vacations and go all out for holidays. But it’s all an illusion. Behind closed doors, they’re drowning in debt and they know they’re one emergency away from going bankrupt. And yet, we get jealous because they have “everything.” Yeah, they have everything—including sleepless nights.
Related: Stop comparing your life to the Joneses and start living the life you want! Check out Rachel Cruze’s new book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs.
Credit Card Offers
They look shiny and flashy, but they’re lies in disguise. The truth (fine print) is in a two-point font. These companies charge an annual fee just to be a part of their debt club—whether you use the card or not. And their interest rates are outrageous, so get out of that group now. Cut up the cards, pay off your balances, and close the accounts as soon as you can.
Useless Insurance Options
Did you know you can purchase “dreaded disease” insurance? You can also buy flight insurance, pet insurance, and even water line insurance. If those don’t make you feel safe, you can always opt for wedding insurance, kidnapping insurance and—get this—alien abduction insurance. I’m not kidding.
Don’t get duped by insurance that’s more like a lottery ticket than a way to transfer risk. Stick with the basics: health, term life, auto, homeowner’s and long-term care insurance. Also get identity theft protection. Don’t waste your money on the rest.
The sole goal of these bullies is to make you fork over money, even if it means you can’t keep the heat on. They are trained (well) to scare you into paying them. They’ll lie, call you at work, and threaten to garnish your wages. Don’t give in! Make sure you take care of the necessities first—food, shelter and utilities, clothing and transportation—then budget the rest of your money to pay down debt.
Uncertainty About Social Security Dollars
I wish I could guarantee that your Social Security payments will stay at their current levels for decades to come. But I can’t. Unless the government fixes the gap between what it brings in and what it pays out, Social Security payments will probably be lower in the future. And I’m not confident in our government fixing anything. Treat Social Security as icing on the cake in retirement—not the cake itself. You can’t build a secure future with it as your foundation.
Excessive Cost of Long-Term Care
You never expect it to happen to you, but it might. In the future, you may require assisted living or nursing home care. And without insurance, paying for that care will erode your retirement savings faster than you can say chronic illness. A year in a nursing home can cost more than $85,000. That’s why you need long-term care insurance. It’s not an option. Take care of this in your 50s or early 60s, because the older you are, the more expensive the insurance will be.
Even though I don’t like these financial killers, there’s one good thing about them: You get to control whether or not they steal your retirement dreams. Now that you’re aware of them and know how to avoid them, you can take steps to guard your money against them.
You’ll be thankful you did.