But anything that folks can do that'll give them a wake-up call and help them to realize that, "Hey, I need to move away from debt to savings," well, that's going to be a good thing. Is the problem many of us are experiencing with debt being exacerbated by short-term financial thinking?
Yeah, it is. It's too much "Thank God it's Friday, oh God it's Monday" type thinking.
Studies have always shown us that people who think longer term are the ones that tend to win financially. The people who are thinking in 10-year blocks of time, the people who are thinking five-year blocks of time, they are the ones who actually end up profiting. But if you think and worry about only Friday, then you'll tend to do payday lending, rent-to-own, and all that type of garbage and you're always going to be broke with that.
Based on your experiences with callers, what are the primary challenges and problems American seniors are facing in retirement? Would many of these have been avoided had they lived more debt-averse lifestyles?
I think if they had been a little bit more debt-averse, certainly they would have avoided lots of problems. But, the other thing is, had they been a little more proactive with their savings, I think that that would have also led them to be more debt-averse.
It's a two-edged sword: You not only have to get out of debt, but you have to take the money that you used to pay out in payments and then save and invest it.
Why are we doing such a poor job when it comes to saving and investing money for retirement? Is it a case of not being exposed to fundamentals of capitalism in the classroom? Or are we having problems because practical lessons about saving and investment were never taught in the home?
I think it's all of the above, and I'm not sure why we're doing such a lousy job, honestly, but we are. You know... I'm amazed that I got a finance degree and the first time that I understood the power of compound interest was four, five years after I graduated from college. I understood the math of it, but I never related it to, "Oh, so that's how you get rich."