Staying Afloat — The 30’s and 40’s
The 30’s and 40’s can be a financially trying time for frum families. The children are getting older and expenses are skyrocketing. After tuition, camp fees, clothing, food and other household necessities, there’s often no money left for anything else, let alone saving.
When it seems like your financial boat is sinking, your focus should be on simply staying debt-free. In fact, many people find themselves in a state of desperation and think the easiest way to ease the stress is by charging everything to their credit card. They simply pay the minimum due every month and, before they know it, there’s a huge balance which gets dramatically larger every month. This can truly be a very dangerous financial path. Don’t do it!
Can you spend a bit less?
If you haven’t already, write down all your expenses and all your income, from heating and electricity, from gas to extra curricular activities, from car washes to manicures.
Look through your expenses for opportunities to save money. Find areas where you can save. Changing where you shop or using coupons can greatly impact your savings, even if it means driving a little further. Eating meat less often can reduce your grocery bills (and is good for your health). Making lunch instead of buying it can add up to hundreds saved. Turning the AC up a degree can too.
Can you earn a bit more?
If you aren’t able to eliminate unnecessary expenses, it might be prudent to take a look at your income and career. Can you change something minor about your career that will yield greater income? Perhaps another certification or adult learning class would open doors for a promotion at work or a better paying position? Have you approached your manager about a raise in the last year or two? Maybe you can take on a new client or tutor someone in math.
If you can’t find options, it’s time to go to a financial advisor. Her job is to help you figure out how to get out, and stay out, of debt. Her expertise can identify areas you may not have thought of and help you get financially stable.
Once you’ve achieved some stability, make sure you contribute to your retirement accounts. It’s also never too late to start investing your hard-earned money, which can also be done with the help of a qualified financial advisor who can help you choose the right plan for you.
Remember, don’t let financial worries ruin your marriage. Work together to overcome them together and the rewards will be measured in more than cash.
Sara Glaz received her undergraduate degree in Economics from U.C.L.A. She’s currently a financial advisor at Munk Wealth Management in Hewlett, New York and writes regularly for Mishpacha magazine. Sara welcomes questions and comments. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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