MIAMI (CBSMiami) — How good are you with your money? Do you spend everything you make or save for a rainy day?
Saving isn’t much fun, but it is a necessity. Ask yourself how long you could get by if you lost your current salary.
The answer should be six months.
Dana Levit of Paragon Financial Advisors said six months is a standard number when it comes to emergency funds.
“Reason being, how long will it take you to get another job, that is what it is tied to.”
If you’re dreaming of golf and warm weather in your golden years, there is a savings bench mark for that too.
“Ten percent of your gross income, compounded over a lifetime should get you in a pretty good position for retirement,” said Levit. “If you’re one of those people that didn’t start saving until you are 30 or 40, that number goes up significantly.”
Americans have gotten better with their credit cards, but there is a warning sign here too. Are balances getting smaller from year to year?
“The red flag for me is that means people are living pay check to pay check,” said Levit.
Other potential potholes are deals which let consumers make a big purchase with payments and interest being deferred.
It might sound like a great way to get a new TV, but if you don’t pay it off in time, the interest clock gets reset, back to the beginning.
Levit said the rates on these types of programs can be very high.
Experts also say these deals can cause us to spend more overall. That’s because it’s easy to forget about a payment that’s years away, and buy other things in the meantime.