Up and Over

Americans are concerned about the rising cost of living

What’s the biggest financial obstacle in front of you? Buying a house? Paying off student loans? What about paying for groceries? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions (or even to all of them), you’re not alone. As CNBC reports, a study found those roadblocks are standing in the way of many Americans.

According to the study which focused on financial security, almost half of Americans (47 percent) cited “cost of living” as their biggest obstacle. When you dig into the numbers, you can see why that is. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index — which measures the cost of things like education, food and shelter — rose by 2.3 percent in the past year alone. Americans are also worried about healthcare costs. The study found 44 percent of Americans viewed medical costs as a threat to financial security. Again, the numbers prove why. Since 1984, the average American’s out-of-pocket medical expenses has doubled. The average American now spends about $5,000 per year on things like health insurance, prescriptions and doctor visits.

The best way to deal with threats to your financial security is to prepare for them. That means making savings — long-term and emergency funds — a priority. Set up automatic transfers so that you are saving money from every paycheck without even thinking about it. Search for a savings account that offers you a high interest rate — credit unions are a good place to start — so that whatever amount you can save can increase more quickly. A financial cushion is really your best bet to battle life’s increasing costs.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea