By now, you’ve heard the stories and likely felt the crunch yourself. COVID has had a massive impact on the global economic landscape. And while some have been able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by COVID, many Americans are struggling to save money for retirement and are saving less for retirement.
Unemployment, the Great Resignation, and increases in cost of living have all contributed to Americans saving less. Coupled with reports that Social Security funds may be threatened in as little as 12 years, there’s never been a more important time to save for retirement. Now’s the time to corral all the resources at your disposal.
If you’re in debt with multiple credit cards, now could be the time to consolidate credit card debt. Consolidating credit card debt can lower your interest rate, lower your monthly payment, and allow you to pay off your debt faster. If you’re going out less, now may be the time to put a little extra aside while you have the chance.
Everyone experienced COVID differently
The news may make it seem like everyone is struggling financially during this pandemic, but that’s not necessarily true. Although many Americans have said they are saving less for retirement, or that they’ll have to delay their retirement plans, almost an equal number of Americans have said they actually saved more during the same time period.
Lockdowns, less socializing, and less travel have no doubt been major factors in some people’s ability to save more. Reports also suggest that age, gender, and geographic differences have also had a big impact on how you may have experienced the pandemic financially. Millennials were more likely to see increases in their pandemic savings than those in the generation preceding them, men have been able to save more than women, and savings in America’s southern region has been hit particularly hard. Inflation and a volatile market have only compounded the difficulties.
Because of this disparity, it’s extra important for those looking to save to seek out every opportunity available.
Don’t leave money on the table
Along with consolidating credit card debt and avoiding common retirement plan blunders, knowing and taking advantage of financial opportunities can be simply too costly to miss.
If you’re lucky enough to have a 401(k), make sure you’re contributing. The more you contribute to your 401(k), not only do you increase your savings, you also lower your taxable income. Also, many employers offer a matching program, but a surprisingly large percentage of workers either don’t contribute to the programs offered or don’t put in enough to receive matching benefits. There’s a lot of “free” money you’re not collecting. This is a benefit your employer provides for their employees. You’ve worked for it, don’t miss out on it!
The pandemic has had a financial impact on many people, but there are opportunities to be had, even in the era of COVID. You can be one of those people saving more, rather than less. Take control of your debt and start saving.