We all hoped that life would return to normal as we ushered 2020 out the door. And we all hoped 2021 would be a far better experience. While that was partly true, 2021 was still extremely challenging for many Americans.
Fortunately, we have all learned important lessons from the difficult times we’ve gone through in the last two years. The money lessons we now have will help us as we move forward, whether 2022 is good, bad, or somewhere in the middle.
What are some of the lessons we’ve learned? Let’s take a look.
It Pays to Save
It’s always important to have a safety net financially, but 2021 taught us that the safety net is absolutely essential. So many people lost jobs during the lockdowns or left jobs in 2021 while looking for better opportunities, and they didn’t have much in savings to get by on.
That means the top money lesson of the year is to save where you can. The less you’re paying for ongoing bills, the more you can afford to change jobs or face a layoff. Also, when you’re spending less, you can set more money aside for a difficult time.
Consider looking at Freeway Insurance reviews and calling the company to get lower rates on car and renters insurance. The more you save, the more prepared you are!
Your Life Matters More Than Work
Speaking of being out of a job, 2021 was dubbed “The Great Resignation” as people quit low-paying jobs in droves. Even people who had a good salary left their job due to stress, burnout, and a toxic work environment.
We’ve been led to believe that a job is just a paycheck and that we should accept the money and deal with the negative parts of the work environment. People aren’t willing to do that anymore. They want jobs they care about at a livable wage with good benefits, and if a position doesn’t offer that, they’re willing to move on to greener pastures.
Don’t let your work environment drain the life out of you. Instead, put your goals and mental health first. There are jobs available that will treat you well!
We Don’t Have to Spend as Much as We Often Do
In 2020 and parts of 2021, we found out that we could live without a lot of the amenities and luxuries that we take for granted. We couldn’t eat out, travel as much, party at bars, or even go to the movies.
As a result, many of us found that we don’t have to spend so much money! If you’ve ever looked at your bank account and wondered, “Where did it all go?”, 2020 and 2021 were probably a nice reminder for you. You can stay fit, eat, and have shelter without bars, gyms, or restaurants.
Now that things are opening up more, be careful about returning to your old spending habits. Why not keep things simple? It’s also a great time to look at your debt and think about how to cut back and start paying things off. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll never go out to eat, but maybe you can form new habits around cooking, exercising at home, and more.
High-Interest Debt is Dangerous
Since 2008, Americans have lived in a period of historically low-interest rates. However, nothing can last forever, and the interest rates are starting to go up. There are ongoing signs that the Fed will continue to raise them over time, as well.
If you have high-interest debt, such as a credit card, a personal loan, or a short-term loan, keep in mind that these interest rate changes will make it much harder for you to pay off the balance. Many loans have a variable interest rate, which means the rate you’re charged changes as the Fed makes interest rate decisions.
Being in debt is hard, and having a high-interest rate on those loans is even worse. Do everything you can to pay down high-interest debt or refinance it at a lower fixed rate. Your wallet and your future self will thank you!
What Are Your Money Lessons?
These are some of the important money lessons we’ve learned in 2021. What have you learned? We’d love to hear from you. Put your lessons and ideas in the comments section, and also let us know which of these tips you plan to take action on before the new year.
Financial health matters. Take care of yours!
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