Society is good at making statistical outliers feel normal. We hear all sorts of stories involving personal finances that lead us to psychologically digest our own experiences: It’s normal to be in foreclosure or to have mortgage debt that exceeds your home value. It’s normal to be 50 without any retirement savings. It’s normal have student loan debt of 3 times your annual income. It’s normal to live paycheck to paycheck and never make progress in paying down your debt load. It’s normal to have lousy credit.
The truth is that:
- The national median FICO score annually hovers above 700;
- The average amount of student loan debt carried is just under $25,000 while the national median income for graduates is $45,400;
- The national median amount of retirement savings for those aged 45-54 is $101,000;
- And just under 23% of Americans owe more on mortgage debt than the value of the property it secures, which while it certainly documents a serious national concern, 31% of American households are owned free and clear with no mortgage debt.
Foreclosure statistics are heavily reported by percentage increases and not with regard to the general population. These statistics tend to polarize Notices of Default rather than total repossession. This means those who are just 2 or 3 payments behind can count as a “foreclosed”, with many catching up and falling behind in a struggle to retain control being counted numerous times.
While we don’t need statistics to tell us that foreclosure is a national issue, math provides that less than 1% of American houses were repossessed through foreclosure in 2012, though around 7% of repossessions took place during the entire 7-year crisis between 2006 and 2012. With historic interest rate decreases helping financially stable homeowners refinance and mortgage modification programs offering second chances to those going through financial difficulties, the total number of absolute foreclosure dropped almost 40% in 2012, its lowest total since 2007.
The Average Person is Prospering
My intent is not to use math to make your current situation look hopeless or suggest that you should feel alienated if you are experiencing financial difficulties. Rather, I hoped to illustrate that the average person is still prospering in America despite the constant efforts of tabloid media to discount this. Though our economy has some distance to go, we are far from broken.
If you’re presently struggling with the toils of personal finance, there is still time and opportunity to take control of your financial destiny.
You have not failed yourself. No, you have simply bought into modern normalcy, this “kid gloves” rendition of reality where you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t – you end up controlled by the powers of the universe. Normalcy masks mediocrity.
Life doesn’t have to be that way and your best efforts still matter greatly.
I know first-hand as I used to subscribe to the media’s and people’s perception of “normal” life… trading car loan for car loan, using unsecured credit as a security blanket, and working really hard yet not really owning anything at all. Getting out of the routine was 100 times harder than getting into it. It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone, which is precisely why it is sold as being “normal.” It takes being abnormal to change. Many of the people around you – people you love dearly – may never “get it” and will unfortunately trade a stream of immediate gratification through their peak income years for a less than comfortable lifestyle as they grow old.
Think about it. What has being “normal” really done for you? You can break that cycle by starting TODAY. Take action now to conquer your debt, build up savings, and plan for the future.
If you need a nudge in the right direction, call LSS at 888.577.2227. Our Financial Counselors will empower you to achieve your financial goals. Don’t wait to improve your financial future…take action today!
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