Market Health

The Two Records Threatening Your Financial Independence

Prepare for more records before the year ends.

And I don’t mean in Bitcoin or the broader indexes. We’ve already seen records there.

We have two more records on the horizon that are going to hit a lot closer to home.

And that means investors – and average Americans – must start thinking ahead and getting their money in order… or they could face possible consequences on their road to financial independence.

Going Broke Breaking Bread

The warnings are mounting.

And people need to start listening.

After more than a year of sparse social gatherings, Americans are desperate to get out and congregate. So family and friends are once again breaking bread during the winter holidays.

But this year, the shock won’t be secluded to how much weight Uncle Chester has lost – or gained. Families across the country are going to be walloped by sticker shock.

In fact, this Thanksgiving is poised to be the most expensive meal in the holiday’s history.

The price of every single item – including supplies, such as aluminum foil used to tent the turkey or transport Grandma’s pecan pie – has skyrocketed.

The supply chain mess is rippling through aisle after aisle at the grocery store.

Nestlé (OTC: NSRGY), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and grocery store operator Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) are just some of the companies that have warned consumers about price inflation for the remainder of this year.

But there’s a second and third punch about to land in this combo…

Santa’s Sitting on Stacks

If you haven’t already started your holiday shopping, you might want to get cracking.

The National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday sales will increase this year by as much as 10.5% to $859 billion.

Not only is that more than double the 4.4% five-year average increase in holiday spending, but it also tops 2020’s record increase of 8.2%.

Pent-up consumer demand is colliding with supply chain-related inflationary pressures. These are both significant factors driving sales to record highs.

There are also plenty of warnings that say to expect shortages on toys, liquor and even Christmas trees this season.

And adding fuel to the fire are energy prices, which are at their highest levels in years.

The price of natural gas has already more than doubled this year as the price of crude has surged 75%. Heating your home and filling up your car has gotten more expensive in 2021.

We’re in store for one of the most wallet-draining holiday stretches on record. That’s good news for stocks, as I outlined yesterday. But that means it’s more important than ever this year to patch up any leaky spots in your personal finances.

Be Careful, Not Careless

Create a budget, and stick to it!

It’s very easy to lose sight of what you’ve spent and how far over budget you’ve gone until it’s too late.

Your holiday budget should be slightly more than 1% of your annual income. You don’t want gift-giving to financially impact your ability to function normally.

Now, the average American spends more than $1,000 on gifts during the holidays. And the median household income in the U.S. is $68,703. So that means people are typically spending roughly 1.46% of their annual take on holiday presents.

The issue is that 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their bank accounts. That’s a byproduct of living paycheck to paycheck. And dropping one to two grand on Christmas gifts isn’t helping that scenario.

On top of that, 61% of Americans dread the holidays because of the financial burden. And a quarter will take on additional debt to fund purchases.

This is why creating a budget and sticking to it is imperative… especially this year.

Plus, it is important to start your holiday shopping as early as possible. That way you can take advantage of the most deals.

It’s in our DNA to be charitable toward our loved ones.

But you don’t want to give to the point where you’re hurting. The holidays should be about spending time with family and friends, not embarking on financial ruin.

Here’s to high returns,

Matthew

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