Clark Howard: When $75,000 just isn’t enough

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The goal of everything I do is to help you keep more of what you make. That’s why I was disheartened to read a new survey that said a lot of high-income earners are basically living hand-to-mouth.

A survey by SunTrust finds one-third of higher income Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck with no savings. These are people with family incomes of $75,000 or more, which is much more than most people make.

The survey also found that even among those earning $100,000 or more, about a quarter of those people can’t make ends meet either!

I know many of us have expenses that seem to be backbreaking. But the reality is we’re talking about incomes that are much higher than the rest of the country.
A lot of it has to do with how we’re spending that money. SunTrust found the area that hurt a lot of people was eating out. Almost three quarters of higher income people who were not saving were spending big money out on the town.

Here’s what I say to you if you make higher-than-average income and there’s never enough money: Deduct money from your paycheck first for savings and investment in your future before anything else.

If you’re saving nothing right now, start small. Save one penny. That’s one percent of your income. Then every six months, step it up by one more penny. In five years, you’re saving 10 percent and you’ll change your future.

And then if you need to, go to cash. I don’t mean a debit card either. On payday, take out your money and that’s what you live on until next payday.
The psychological effect of seeing your wallet thin out as the week goes by has the effect of helping you live within what you’re making.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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