10 Reasons You Will Never Get Out of Debt

“Do you feel as if you’ll be in debt forever?  You’re not alone.”

According to a CreditCards.com survey, 13 percent of Americans say they’ll never pay off all their loans, and another 8 percent say they won’t pay off what they owe until they’re 71 years old.  While the results of the survey are discouraging, this Kiplinger article describes the following 10 reasons people can’t get out of debt and also provides suggestions for getting out of debt.

  1. You don’t know how much you owe.
  2. You pay only the minimum.
  3. Your mortgage is too big.
  4. You took out too many student loans.
  5. You can’t say no to your kids.
  6. You don’t have money for emergencies.
  7. You feel a sense of entitlement.
  8. Your car loan is too long.
  9. You rack up late fees.
  10. Your interest rates are too high.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Explain how people get in trouble when they make financial decisions without considering the consequences.
  • Go into more detail about how each of the 10 reasons described in this article affect an individual’s financial future.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you plan to balance your objective of creating an enjoyable and entertaining life with the objective of building a secure financial future?
  2. Based on the 10 reasons in this article, what steps can you take to improve your financial planning for the future.

The Retirement Number Secret No One Wants to Tell You

There’s a substantial gulf between the amount of money Americans have actually saved for retirement and what they might need to last throughout their golden years.”

This article reports the results of a survey conducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute which discovered that nearly three in five people surveyed had saved $25,000 or less for their retirement.  Even worse—more than a quarter of those surveyed had saved less than $1,000.

To help plan for retirement, many financial experts suggest that you need between 70 and 85 percent of whatever yearly income you had during your career in order to sustain the lifestyle you enjoyed prior to retiring.  While these calculations provide a recommended dollar amount to provide retirement income, the same calculations often create two problems.  First, there is often a big gap between what people have saved and what they need for retirement.  Second, the amount of money you need in retirement is based on what’s important to you and the standard of living you want in retirement.  And the you may be the most important part of retirement planning.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Explain why you should plan for retirement early in your career rather than waiting until you are about to retire.
  • Reinforce the concepts of the time value of money and a long-term saving and investing program.

Discussion Questions

  1. Many financial experts suggest you begin retirement planning as soon as you begin your career. What are the benefits of planning for retirement planning sooner rather than later?
  2. How is the time value of money related to a long-term investment program and retirement planning?

Quiz: What’s Your Financial SPF Factor?

“So put aside that beach read for a few minutes and take this quiz to assess your financial SPF factor.”

While most people recognize SPF as standing for sunscreen, SPF–as defined in this article stands for Save, Protect, and Fund.  After a brief explanation of each SPF financial term, the article asks 11 questions that someone can use to help gauge their financial knowledge and financial planning skills.

At the end of the quiz, you are also told how your answers stack up and then the article provides suggestions about how to improve not only your score, but also your ability to plan for your financial future and retirement.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress the importance of effective financial planning over your lifetime.
  • Begin a discussion about the benefits of long-term investments.
  • Review time value of money calculations.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can financial planning help you obtain your goals and objectives?
  2. Why should you begin investing sooner rather than later?
  3. A common problem for some people is they don’t have the money they need to begin an investment program. Given your current circumstances, what steps can you take to “find” the money to start an investment program?

Why Should I Invest?

“Simply put, you want to invest in order to create wealth.  It’s relatively painless, and the rewards are plentiful. “

This article from The Motley Fool website explains why investing is a smart idea.  The article begins with information about the importance of goals.  Then asks the question, “What are you saving for?”.  The article also explains the power of compounding and provides specific examples to illustrate how time, rate of return, and age can make a tremendous difference.

The article also summarizes 9 common pitfalls to avoid including: doing nothing, starting late, investing before paying down credit card debt, etc.

Note:  this is one of a series of articles provided by The Motley Fool website.  Hopefully, students will use this article as a starting point and will use more of the educational materials available on this site.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress the importance of beginning a savings and investment program sooner rather than later.
  • Explain the power of compounding examples in this article to illustrate the difference in potential returns.
  • Discuss the 9 common pitfalls that often keep people from starting a savings and investment program.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the advantages of starting an investment program sooner rather than later?
  2. Where can you get the money you need to begin a savings and investment program?
  3. What do you consider the biggest pitfall that keeps you from starting a savings and investment program?

How This Couple Retired in Their 30s to Travel the World

This is a very interesting interview that describes how one young couple decided to take charge of their finances, pay off their debts, and accumulate a nest egg to fund an early retirement.    

When Jeremy graduated from college, he started working for Motorola and earned $40,000 a year.  But his desire to keep up with his friends, family, and co-workers led him to buy a new car and a three-bedroom home.  He was quickly in debt, but fortunately he realized he wanted to live debt free.

Using an interview format, this article describes the steps Jeremy (38) and Winnie (33) took to save enough money to retire while they were in their 30s.  It also describes their current lifestyle and how they spend their money and time since they retired.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Explore why people often feel the need to keep up with friends, family, and co-workers.
  • Discuss the specific steps that Jeremy and Winnie took to take control of their finances.

Discussion Questions

  1. What steps did Jeremy and Winnie take to get out of debt? Would you be willing to take these steps in order to live debt free?
  2. Once Jeremy and Winnie were debt free, what techniques did they use to save and invest their money?
  3. Jeremy and Winnie retired in their 30s. Does the idea of retiring in your 30s or 40s, or 50s appeal to you?  Explain your answer.

Here’s How to Become a 401k Millionaire

“If your job offers you a 401k or similar retirement plan, you’ve got one of the very best investment tools at your disposal.”

To become a 401k millionaire, all you need is a paycheck, reasonable options in your retirement plan, and time.  This article also explains that once you start putting money into the plan, the tax-deductible investments grow and are tax-deferred until you begin to withdraw money from your 401k account.  As an added bonus, your employer may match all or part of the money you contribute to your 401k account.

A very useful table that shows how many years it will take for you to become a millionaire based on how much you (and your employer) invest each month with different rates of return is also included in this article.  And there are also suggestions for increasing the amount that you save or invest in a 401k account or other savings or investment accounts.

For more information go to http://www.fool.com/retirement/401k/2014/09/27/heres-how-to-become-a-401k-millionaire.aspx

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress the importance of beginning an investment program sooner rather than later.
  • Discuss ways to save the money needed to start an investment program.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to begin saving and investing sooner rather than later?
  2. Assume you (and your employer) invest $250 a month in your 401k account. How long will it take for you to become a millionaire if your investments earn annual returns of 10 percent?  (Note:  Using the table in the article, the answer is 35.5 years.)

Retirement Catch Up: Saving After 50

“. . .more than a third of people 55 and older have saved less than $10,000.”

According to Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President of the Charles Schwab Foundation and daughter of Charles Schwab, there are a number of steps anyone can take to get their financial house in order.

For example, Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz suggests that savings should be non-negotiable–it’s that important.  To increase the amount saved, people should take a hard look at where they are spending their money.  For example, do you really need cable television or that new car?

She also suggests that a person in their 20s should save 10 percent of income in order to save the money needed for a comfortable retirement.  If the same person waits until she or he is in their 30s, the percentage for savings increases to 20 percent while someone in their 40s will need to save 30 percent of their income.  Finally, a person in their 50s will need to save 40 percent of income to provide for retirement.   The Bottom Line:  The percentage a person must save for a comfortable retirement increases if they wait to begin a savings and investment program.

For more information go to http://finance.yahoo.com/news/retirement-catch-up–saving-after-50-043631641.html

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Remind students how small changes in how they manage their financial affairs can change their lives both now and when they reach retirement age.
  • Stress the importance of beginning a savings and investment program sooner rather than later.
  • Use a Time Value of Money calculation to show how regular savings can increase over time.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to begin a savings and investment program when you are in your 20s?
  2. Where does the money come from to begin a savings and investment program?