When the pandemic hit and the restaurant that Eric S. managed in Brighton, Mich., closed its doors temporarily, Eric filed for unemployment insurance benefits. When the business reopened a couple of months later and Eric returned to work, his hours were cut in half.
Although Eric and his wife managed to keep up with their mortgage payments, the couple found themselves strapped for cash and began to fall behind on their credit card bills. By September, they had accrued about $13,000 in credit card debt, and Eric’s credit score had dropped nearly 75 points, to the low 600s. “I felt like I was losing control,” he says. “It also put a lot of stress on our marriage.”
The couple sought out a credit counselor, who helped them retool their budget—getting rid of their Hulu and Netflix subscriptions alone saved them $70 a month—and begin paying down their debt. Just two months later they had shaved $3,000 off their total balance. “We’ve learned how to manage our money a lot better from this whole experience,” Eric says.
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Take a look at your wallet. If you’re like most Americans, you have a credit card or two (or three) to your name—shiny pieces of plastic that can have a tremendous impact on your financial well-being.
In fact, about three out of four U.S. adults have at least one credit card, according to a 2016 Gallup report. Still, Americans, overall, do a fairly poor job of managing their credit usage: Case in point, the average U.S. household has $15,310 in credit card debt, according to a 2015 NerdWallet survey.
There’s no magic number for how many credit cards a person should have, says Bill Hardekopf, CEO at LowCards.com. Some financial pros say one card is enough, whereas others advocate for using multiple credit cards.
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Before 2005, Sandra Adell had never set foot in a casino. But when a friend of the then 59-year-old professor at the University of Wisconsin—Madison asked Adell to accompany her to the Ho-Chunk casino about 45 minutes away from her home, she obliged. As Adell walked through the casino floor, she thought to herself, “Why in the world are all these people here?” She sat down at a machine, and by the time she got up, she was hooked.
“I thought that the casino had become my personal ATM,” says Adell, author of “Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen.” Early winnings convinced her the casino was where she belonged. She quickly distanced herself from her social circle, foregoing meals with friends and family to spend time gambling. “All I wanted to do was play the slots,” she says; it was all she could think about.
Gambling addiction can grab hold of people and morph them into someone who only cares about their next bet. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, an estimated 2 million adults in the United States meet the criteria for “pathological gambling,” and 4 to 6 million are considered “problem gamblers.”
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Joe Liebeskind interned with the New Jersey Nets (now called the Brooklyn Nets) in the summer of his junior year of college. At the end of the internship, his coordinator said a job would be waiting for him once he finished school. But the diploma he received in December 2008 wasn’t the golden ticket he thought it would be—bad timing meant the team couldn’t hire him.
After graduating from Pennsylvania State University, Joe moved back in with his parents in Hillsdale, N.J., for three-and-a-half years. However, his decision to live at home wasn’t a result of not landing a job with the basketball team. “I was always planning to move home for at least a year to try and [save] some money, as to not be living paycheck to paycheck with the cost of rent,” he says.
Many of today’s college graduates follow Joe’s path. An estimated 3 in 10 young adults have moved back in with their parents in recent years, according to a Pew Research Center survey released in March. Saving money is their chief concern, as nearly 80 percent of those currently living at home say they don’t have enough money put away to lead the kind of independent life they want.
Many of today’s graduates—known as “boomerang kids”—are turning to their parents for monetary support. They’ve returned to their childhood homes, hoping that living under their parents’ roof will enable them to find a job and save enough money to move out.However, moving back home can lead to arguments between kids and their parents and can potentially damage their relationship in the long term. Parents who prepare for these challenges before greeting their kids at the front door have a better chance of avoiding these hardships. Click here to read the article.