Money problems plague all of us, and not all of them have to do with unexpected expenses. In fact, most money problems we create are self imposed.
Why do I talk about money problems? Having money problems keeps you from getting out of student loan debt, prevents you from saving, and ultimately, prevents you from investing – which is what this site is all about.
Here are five of the most common money problems that we all will face at some point in our lives, and some thoughts on dealing with them.
Money Problem #1: Having a Pet
One of the first money problems you may encounter is owning and affording a pet. There is so much discussion on the true cost of a pet, but the bottom line is that they are an expensive family friend. You will spend money on food, vet bills, toys, and more. There will come a day when you want to take a vacation, and guess what, you’ll need to board your pet, or pay someone you trust to come be a pet sitter.
The money problems with pets don’t stop there either – you may also have to pay for expensive vet bills should anything happen. Once you fall in love with them, the vets go to school to learn how to tug on your heart strings just right to get you to agree to 1,000s of dollars of tests, just to let you know your pet has indigestion. You really have to be careful with the potential money problem.
Money Problem #2: Buying a House
Buying a house is usually the next big money problem most people encounter. How is this a money problem? A house and real estate are usually great investments? That’s not always true…just ask anyone who has bought a house in the last 5 years or so.
Plus, have you ever seen the movie The Money Pit? Yup…that’s what a house can become if you’re not careful. Beyond just paying your mortgage, insurance, utilities, and possibly association dues, you will have to maintain your house. This is where the real money problems can arise. Even doing simple maintenance around the house, like maintaining the yard, can cost you several hundred dollars a month. Then, if something actually needs to be fixed, it can cost a whole lot more than that!
The bottom line is that buying a house isn’t for the feint of heart.
Money Problem #3: Having a Kid
The next money problem on the list is having a kid. Kids are expensive, and they can cause a lot of money problems for young families especially. Just look at the statistics from the US Department of Agriculture, which highlight that raising a child can easily cost in excess of $200,000! That’s a big money problem to me!
Just starting a childbirth, which can easily cost over $20,000 if you don’t have insurance. Just look at this recent article highlighting the cost to bring home baby. Then you have to feed it, clothe it, which it will then grow out of the clothes you already bought, so rinse and repeat for 18 years.
Talk about putting a stumbling block in your retirement plans!
Money Problem #4: Eating
One of the biggest money problems that I deal with everyday is food. Food is expensive AND it’s a catch-22: I need to eat, but I have to pay to eat. Not fair. I could easily use that money to go towards something more productive, like investing!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that food prices have risen 1.2% over the last 12 months alone. I guess I could grow some of my own food in my yard, but then I still have to pay for seeds, water, fertilizer, and more. Plus, having a yard means that I’m already dealing with Money Problem #2: Buying a House.
I really just wish food wasn’t so expensive. It’s probably my biggest expense after housing, and I feel like I don’t really get my money’s worth on this one.
Money Problem #5: Having a Life
If you haven’t noticed yet, the truth is, the biggest money problems all come from living life. There is nothing wrong with any of these expenses. Almost everyone has them. The trouble is when one of them gets out of balance from the others, and starts becoming a drain on your finances. Everyone has housing, food, and more. It’s a must. You can’t let it stop you from living.
But you also can’t let it stop you from saving or investing. You need to balance.
The most common money problems are ones that everyone faces, just deal with the math and move on!
What’s your take on the five most common money problems?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.