SAN ANTONIO – From groceries to cars to mortgages, just about everything is costing more, and that has a whopping 72 percent of people feeling financially insecure, a survey for Bankrate found.
And it will take a big six-figure paycheck to ease the stress.
“Many are saying they want to earn $233,000 a year just to feel comfortable, and I think it does come down to the high inflation era we are living in,” Bankrate analyst Sarah Foster said.
That’s a big jump, considering the median U.S. household brings in a little more than $70,000.
The study found that women feel less secure than men. Gen Xers — people in their forties and fifties — feel the most worried.
To boost financial security, Foster says to start by not worrying about what you can’t control, like interest rates.
Instead, focus on the things you can control, like your habits. Also, set small goals because small steps will still get you on your journey.
“Our best advice is really making sure you’re taking some steps at all,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how much money you put into retirement or your emergency fund; what really matters most is you are taking steps and building that habit.”
She said that even a small investment goes a long way over time with compound interest.
Moving your savings to a high-yield savings account can add up and preserve buying power.
Next, be realistic about your salary and focus on your budget.
“Think carefully about your budget,” Foster said. “Go line by line about what you are purchasing and see if cheaper alternatives are there.”
For example, look for cheaper car insurance, cheaper internet and dine out less often.
And be sure to budget for more than just the bills.
“What I would suggest maybe is saving for fun as much as emergencies even if it’s only ten, 20, 50 dollars a month toward it,” she said.