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Ghosts and monsters can be scary at Halloween, but what is truly frightening is the state of household US finances.  You may think your safe, but watch out for the common financial downfalls before you become victim.

Budgeting. Let’s face it, budgeting can be scary. Having a budget doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself, it means having a framework to allow yourself to spend with the purpose of reaching your financial goals.  Set yourself a budget whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly. That way, your splurges won’t come back to haunt you!

Debt. Once you’ve been trapped by debt, it’s hard to get out. Using a credit card is certainly convenient, but once you rack up enough debt, it can be a nightmare.  Take a minute and make a plan to start paying it off, even if it’s minimum payments.  Once you work your debt down, keep it that way.

Unexpected Emergencies. Like a haunted house, life is full of unexpected surprises, some of which can be pretty costly.  To avoid unexpected emergencies, plan to set aside money to cover three to six months of essential expenses so you can be better prepared.  If funding an emergency fund feels overwhelming, start by putting a little money away each week and watch it build up over time.

Retirement. Outliving your money is a frightening thought for anyone. Changing your mindset to prioritize your future over your immediate wants will permit you to save for retirement. Just think, the $100 you put in today will increase in value over time and provide more gratification in the future.  Also, be sure to take advantage of employer benefits and always max out what your employer offers.

Many Americans seem to be frightened by finances, but we don’t have to be frightened, we just need to be aware and alert.  By doing so, you’ll treat yourself to a more secure financial future.  Just remember, Halloween may be scary, but your finances don’t have to be.