How you look at things generally depends on your perspective. Are you someone who tends to see a glass as half-full — or does your brain automatically notice the liquid that’s missing and deem it half-empty?
Perspective plays a large role in our ability to evaluate personal finances, too. There is value in noticing and appreciating what we’re doing right — like efforts to save more, pay off debts and meet money goals. But balance is key. There’s also value in having the ability to be honest about what we could be doing better — perhaps we need to revisit our spending habits, double down on debt elimination or save more.
How we’re feeling about money directly correlates to the actions we take.
Let’s take a closer look at how Americans are currently feeling about their finances.
How Confident Are Americans About the Financial Decade Ahead?
LendingTree surveyed more than 1,500 Americans in late 2019 to measure how they’re feeling about the coming decade money-wise.
Nearly 60 percent of Americans currently feel weighed down by debt. But there’s a silver lining: More than half (53 percent) of respondents “think they’ll get ahead financially within the next decade.” A majority of participants (64 percent) believe they’ll be able to escape debt by 2030.
Nearly half (48 percent) feel optimistic about their financial situation for the next decade, while about 1 in 10 respondents are pessimistic.
Here is a breakdown of the types of debt identified in the survey:
- Credit cards: 36.7 percent
- Student loans: 20.7 percent
- Medical: 13.7 percent
- Mortgages: 12.4 percent
- Personal loans: 11.7 percent
- Other: 4.7 percent
If you’re looking at these results with a “glass half full” perspective, many people are feeling pretty confident about the next decade. The “glass half empty” perspective, on the other hand, would probably focus on the majority of Americans currently feeling weighed down by debt.
And, as is the case with many contradictions in life, these two perspectives can exist simultaneously. It’s possible to feel optimistic and want to improve certain things about your financial situation.
Tips for Optimizing Your Finances
There’s no better time than now to think about what you’d like to achieve throughout the next 10 years — and how your financial situation will need to evolve to support these goals.
Maybe you’re one of the many Americans who have been struggling with debt for as long as you can remember. One of your major goals is probably to eliminate that debt as soon as possible, right? Take this opportunity to explore your options, such as:
- Debt consolidation: Using a loan to combine and pay off your high-interest debts, then making a single monthly payment on that loan until it’s fulfilled.
- Debt management: Working with a credit counseling agency to negotiate interest and fee reductions, then making a single monthly payment to the agency so they can disburse funds to creditors.
- Debt settlement: Working with a debt relief firm to save a certain amount, then negotiate down the principal amount of your outstanding accounts. Read through Freedom Debt Relief reviews to learn more about what to expect.
- Do-it-yourself repayment: Prioritize how you’re repaying your debts, either by tackling them from smallest to largest, or from highest interest to lowest interest.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve touched base with your budget, it may be time to rethink your approach. Many people find it helpful to create a spending plan, which is a straightforward way to line up your income with your expenses to make sure everything is covered — and you’re saving. You can use an app to track spending automatically, or you can plug your monthly expenditures into a template.
Whether you’re feeling optimistic about the next decade, or worried about your finances, setting goals, tracking expenses and eliminating debt are some positive steps you can take.