Many Americans Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck

The most recent economic recession left millions of American households struggling to hold their finances together. While a solid financial plan can help this process, some families still struggle to make ends meet. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you may be able to use a signature loan even with bad credit to keep your head above water. According to a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, nearly 38 percent of households currently live paycheck-to-paycheck as a result of economic hardship. Meanwhile, just 30 percent of respondents claim they are comfortable with their financial standing.

In contrast, when the survey was conducted in 1997, only 31 percent of respondents said they were living from paycheck-to-paycheck.

Specifically, income level differences and poor money management skills are believed to be responsible for this rift. As it stands, a majority of Americans making less than $25,000 per year don’t have a comprehensive money management plan and struggle to make ends meet every month. Meanwhile, many households making between $50,000 and $99,999 per year that have financial plans are able to put at least 10 percent of their incomes into savings.

Many Unprepared For Retirement

Planning for retirement is also a serious concern for many Americans. In 1997, roughly 38 percent of Americans were behind on their financial plans to leave the job market. Now this share has grown to 50 percent.

Since life expectancy rates are much higher than they were in the past, this has forced many Americans to save earlier and stay in the job market longer. In fact, only 34 percent of respondents said they will have enough saved to retire by the age of 65, even though the amount of households with retirement investment plans in place has remained close to 50 percent since 1997.

Nowadays, the average American spends close to 20 years in retirement, so it’s a good idea to start planning now.

Never Stop Saving

The best thing about putting money away sooner rather than later is that it gives your finds time to grow and mature. If you’re just starting out, make small monthly contributions to a retirement fund, and increase this amount as your income level improves, advises the Department of Labor.

Meanwhile, if you’re already good about putting money away, be sure to keep it up. Further, do all you can to refrain from tapping these funds until you leave the job market.

Know Your Needs

The average American will need about 70 percent of their pre-retirement income to maintain the same lifestyle after they stop working. However, those who make less may need closer to 90 percent.

If it seems like you won’t be able to meet these requirements, consider making some changes to your lifestyle. For example, if you live in a home with expensive monthly payments, consider downgrading to a smaller property or one located in a state with more affordable property taxes.

Include Social Security

While the Social Security withholdings on your paychecks may be a burden now, when you leave the job market this program will work in your favor. Social Security pays retirees close to 40 percent of their annual income. However, just because this will help once you retire doesn’t mean you should stop saving.…

Job Market Grows In May

As the economy continues to gain momentum, the private sector added numerous positions in May. The private sector added an estimated 163,000 jobs last month, according to a report from Automatic Data Processing. Analysts from the company say this development is so promising it could prevent another economic downturn in the near future. Businesses across the country have now added close to 4 million jobs during the past two and a half years.

Meanwhile, the report indicated that during the month of May, small businesses contributed the most to the job gains, adding approximately 73,000 positions. At the same time, medium-sized businesses expanded payrolls by 67,000, while large companies added 23,000 jobs.

May marks 13 consecutive months of job growth, the report said. However, continued economic uncertainties may be holding back this rate. Specifically, experts say the European debt crisis continues to worry investors and those driving job creation throughout the United States. As a result, the unemployment rate has remained stagnant at 8.2 percent during the past few months.

“This gain in private employment is strong enough to suggest that the national unemployment rate may have declined in May,” said Macroeconomics Advisers chairman Joel Prakken.

If you have managed to keep a job during recent years, but feel it’s time for a career change, now could be a good time. However, before you start sending out resumes to prospective employers, you may want to run a fine-toothed comb through the details that make you stand out from the competition.

Include Your Home Address

Some people are nervous about the personal information they include on their resumes, but you should set aside these fears and include your home address, recommends CareerBuilder.

Failure to include this information could be a red flag for some companies. Specifically, they could assume that you don’t live close to the company and would have to relocate to take the position. However, before you start handing out your personal information, do a little homework to make sure the company is legitimate.

Don’t List References

Listing your references on a resume could be risky, since the prospective employer could contact the current company you work for before you tell them you’re taking a new position.

It’s best to hold off on providing references unless an employer requests them up front. Should you find yourself in this position, make sure to get the green light from your references before you start passing out their contact information.

Grade Point Average

Although some companies request your grade point average or college transcript, this information should generally be left off of your resume, especially if you’ve been out of school for quite some time.

While listing your GPA isn’t totally taboo, if it’s below 3.0, you should keep this information to yourself. However, if you won any academic rewards or had any other academic achievements while in college, feel free to list these facts.…

Consumers Worried About Rising Food Costs

The current drought across much of the United States has caused considerable damage to domestic crops, and many consumers are worried this could cause an increase in food prices. Should this occur, you may be able to use a signature loan if your grocery bill adds too much pressure to your overall budget and an unexpected cost occurs.

A recent survey found that 36 percent of Americans are very concerned a lack of rain throughout key parts of the country will cause a spike in food prices. Overall, 96 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat concerned about this development.

Meanwhile, to cope with the expected rise of overall food prices, 70 percent of consumers revealed they plan to utilize coupons to save on their grocery bills, according to the survey. In addition, 60 percent plan to purchase generic products rather than branded counterparts, while 48 percent plan to buy less expensive items, such as canned goods and fewer fresh items.

Further, other consumers plan to shop only at discount grocery stores to reduce costs and buy most items in bulk, since the overall individual unit price often comes out to be much more affordable. About one-third of respondents plan to take this approach and freeze perishable goods to keep them from going bad.

Other Ways To Save

Arguably, one of the best ways to save on your next trip to the grocery store is to take an inventory of all the items you already have. Once you have this figured out you can make an exact list of the goods you actually need.

Sticking to your list once you get to the supermarket can help you avoid impulse purchases. In addition, try not to go food shopping on an empty stomach. This can influence your decision-making, so have a quick snack before you leave the house.

Healthier Foods Offer Long-Term Savings

While the price tags on processed foods are sometimes more affordable than their healthy counterparts, you can save money over time by paying more upfront. New research from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that households that have healthier diets actually reduce the amount of food they eat over time.

Additionally, if you have unhealthy eating habits now, this can lead to serious health issues in the future. Ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer are not uncommon for people who live off of processed foods. If you are diagnosed with one of these conditions in the future, it could result in hefty medical expenses that outweigh spending a little bit more in the checkout line today.

Avoid Prepackaged Foods

Buying prepackaged goods that come washed and sliced might save you time, but can end up draining your wallet. These items generally have higher prices, so unless you have a coupon or something is on sale, you should try to steer clear.…