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Personal Finance Guide to Turn the Tables on Money

17 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Save You Money https://www.moneycrashers.com/new-years-resolutions-save-you-money/
https://www.moneycrashers.com/?p=2002
<p>The first three weeks every January, I watch as the gym overflows with resolutioners. By Feb. 1, the crowds drop back down to normal levels.</p><p>It makes sense. Everyone wants the results — whether better health, more wealth, or closer relationships — but they don’t always choose the best ways to obtain them, leading to failure (and a pricey gym membership they didn’t use).</p>
<p>We’ve all blown New Year’s resolutions. But as you reflect on your life over the last year&nbsp;and how you want to improve your personal finances&nbsp;over the next, focus on ideas that help you <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/trick-yourself-saving-money/”>save money</a>, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/good-money-habits-become-wealthy/”>build wealth faster</a>, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/live-years-longer-afford-it/”>live healthier</a>, and <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/lifestyle-design-create-perfect-life-budget/”>design your perfect life</a>.</p>
<h2 id=”h.s9l0uk2lchon”>New Year’s Resolutions That Will Save (or Make) You Money</h2>
<p>Try the following financial resolutions&nbsp;to boost your finances. Some even help you get healthier in the process, knocking off several birds with the same stone.</p>
<h3 id=”h.samctmluslca”>1. Pay Off All Unsecured Debts</h3>
<p>When it comes to debt, prioritize paying off <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/secured-vs-unsecured-debt-difference/”>unsecured versus secured debt</a>&nbsp;first.</p>
<p>Unlike secured debts such as home mortgages and auto loans, unsecured debts&nbsp;tend to charge high interest rates, as the lender&nbsp;holds no collateral. Worse, they often arise out of wants (such as consumer credit card spending) rather than needs (such as a roof over your head).</p>
<p>Resolve to become debt-free&nbsp;once and for all in the coming year. Try the <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/best-way-pay-off-debt-snowball-avalanche-snowflaking/”>debt snowball method</a>&nbsp;to pick off your credit card debt&nbsp;and other unsecured debts one by one, pumping all your extra money&nbsp;into your smallest debt while making only the minimum payment&nbsp;on your other debts. With each debt you pay off, you have more money to put toward the next smallest debt until you no longer owe a single monthly payment&nbsp;for unsecured debts.</p>
<p>Beyond saving you money, it also helps <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/rebuild-fix-credit-score/”>improve your </a><a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/rebuild-fix-credit-score/”>credit score</a>. The next time you need a secured loan, such as a mortgage to buy your next home, your lower debt ratio and higher credit score&nbsp;could help you score a <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/lower-interest-rates-effects/”>lower </a><a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/lower-interest-rates-effects/”>interest rate</a>&nbsp;and down payment.</p>

<h3 id=”h.rond1kgms8cj”>2. Hit Your Emergency Fund&nbsp;Target</h3>
<p>There’s no one-size-fits-all <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/start-build-emergency-fund-savings/”>emergency fund</a>&nbsp;amount — not in dollars, and not even in months of expenses.</p>
<p>People with extremely stable incomes and expenses don’t need as much cash set aside in an emergency fund&nbsp;as those with <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/build-emergency-cash-fund-irregular-income/”>irregular income</a>&nbsp;or expenses. At times in my life when I had a stable, entirely reliable paycheck and low living expenses, I’ve felt secure with as little as one month’s living expenses in an emergency fund. During less predictable times, I’ve opted for six months’ living expenses in cash, in line with <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/dave-ramsey-baby-steps-pay-off-debt/”>Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps”</a>&nbsp;recommendation of three to six months’ expenses.</p>
<p>Most people keep their emergency fund&nbsp;in a bank account,&nbsp;such as a <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/best-high-yield-savings-accounts-interest-rates/”>high-interest </a><a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/best-high-yield-savings-accounts-interest-rates/”>savings account</a> from <a target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/cit-bank-savings-builder”><strong>CIT Bank</strong></a>. But you can also get creative by building several layers of protection, including some money held in stable <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/best-short-term-investments/”>short-term investments</a>&nbsp;and leaving a credit card or two completely untapped for emergency use.</p>
<p>Whatever your personal target for an emergency fund, resolve to meet it this year. With the security of an emergency fund, you can invest money with less fear.</p>
<h3 id=”h.rx5786udi2v”>3. Set a Target Retirement Date — &amp; Make Tangible Progress</h3>
<p>The perceived distance of retirement blurs our vision of it. That makes it easy to dismiss as a problem for another day.</p>
<p>But retirement is the one universal <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/setting-long-term-personal-financial-goals-examples/”>financial goal</a>&nbsp;we all share. Not everyone wants to buy a home or <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-save-pay-kids-college-education/”>help pay for their kids’ college</a>, but we all need to plan for the day when we can no longer work (or are just ready to retire).</p>
<p>Take some time to set a target retirement date. Based on when you want to retire and what you want to spend in retirement, you can plan your own <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/how-much-save-retirement-planning-strategies-age/”>retirement strategy</a>. Your retirement strategy informs how much you should put toward tax-sheltered retirements, such as a <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/401k-plan-limits-rules-benefits/”>401(k)</a>&nbsp;or <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/roth-ira-retirement-account/”>Roth </a><a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/roth-ira-retirement-account/”>IRA</a>, which in turn helps you save money&nbsp;on taxes.</p>
<p>And you don’t need to wait until your 60s to retire. Anyone can reach financial independence and retire early&nbsp;if they don’t mind funneling more of their income into investments that generate passive income on their own.</p>
<h3 id=”h.spn69rnc1tqu”>4. Add a New Source of Passive Income</h3>
<p>The more passive income you earn, the less dependent you are on your full-time job. When you can cover all your living expenses with passive income alone, you’ve reached financial independence, and working becomes optional.</p>
<p>Common <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/passive-income-investing-strategies-investments/”>sources of passive income</a>&nbsp;include dividend-paying stocks and <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/reasons-invest-exchange-traded-funds-etfs/”>exchange-traded funds</a>, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/investing-bonds-basics-corporate-vs-municipal/”>bonds</a>, rental properties, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/real-estate-investment-trust-investing-reits/”>real estate investment trusts</a>, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/best-real-estate-crowdfunding-sites-investment-platforms/”>crowdfunding platforms</a>&nbsp;like <a target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/fundrise?subId1=p:25811-z:content-d:4-l:26of40-e:a”><strong>Fundrise</strong> </a>and <strong><a target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/streitwise”>Streitwise</a>,</strong> or starting your own <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/start-online-business-down-economy/”>online business</a>&nbsp;(or <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/money-start-small-business-financing-options/”>brick-and-mortar business</a>, for that matter). You invest money once, and you get to collect income forever.</p>
<p>This year, aim to cover more of your living expenses with passive income from investments.</p>
<h3 id=”h.udkx2banqxo4″>5. Start a Side Hustle</h3>
<p>You can also add a new source of active income by starting a <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/start-side-gig-hustle-make-money-pros-cons/”>side hustle</a>.</p>
<p>If the idea of working a second gig makes you feel exhausted just thinking about it, remember that it doesn’t need to be unpleasant or stressful. You can start a passion <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/start-side-business-hustle-working-job/”>business on the side of your full-time job</a>&nbsp;or do something easygoing and fun, like pouring wines at a local winery. Look for ways to <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/hobby-money-making-business-ideas/”>make money from hobbies</a>&nbsp;you already do for free.</p>
<p>Get creative and boost your income in the coming year.</p>
<h3 id=”h.dspmho3i6kck”>6. Stop Smoking</h3>
<p>According to <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0202.pdf” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>TobaccoFreeKids.org</a>, the average pack of cigarettes costs $6.65 as of January 2020. So a pack-a-day smoker spends an average of $2,427.25 per year on cigarettes alone.</p>
<p>That’s thousands of dollars per year on a product that shortens your life. Just imagine what you could do with that extra $2,427.25 each year. And that says nothing of the other <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/financial-benefits-quitting-smoking/”>financial benefits of quitting smoking</a>, such as <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/choose-best-health-insurance-plan/”>lower health insurance rates</a>&nbsp;and <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-save-medical-expenses-healthcare/”>health care spending</a>&nbsp;generally.</p>
<h3 id=”h.10v12xa4u2iu”>7. Quit or Reduce Your Drinking</h3>
<p>Another behavior that extends your life expectancy is abstaining from or moderating your drinking.</p>
<p>It costs money, and it damages your health. According to the <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a>, health risks include:</p>
<ul>
<li>Heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and digestive problems</li>
<li>Cancer&nbsp;of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, breast, and colon</li>
<li>Liver disease</li>
<li>Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor cognitive performance</li>
<li>Social issues, including family- and work-related (which can lead to unemployment)</li>
<li>A weakening of the immune system, increasing the odds of falling ill</li>
<li>Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety</li>
<li>Alcohol use disorders and dependence</li>
</ul>
<p>A 2018 <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047″ rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Harvard study</a>&nbsp;found that moderate drinking of up to one drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men did not impact longevity, but higher drinking dramatically reduced it. Cut your drinking, or better yet, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/benefits-quitting-drinking-health-wellness-financial/”>quit drinking entirely</a>&nbsp;and save even more money.</p>
<h3 id=”h.rxqwygg21p5z”>8. Quit Drinking Sweetened Beverages</h3>
<p>Sweetened beverages not only cost Americans&nbsp;an absurd amount of money each year, but they also contribute to America’s soaring diabetes rates.</p>
<p>A 2016 study by the <a target=”_blank” href=”https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/ops/SNAPFoodsTypicallyPurchased-Summary.pdf” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>United States Department of Agriculture</a>&nbsp;(USDA)&nbsp;found that families not on food stamps spend an average of $2,238.80 per year on sweetened beverages, the fifth-highest grocery expense. Among food stamp recipients, sweetened beverages were the second-highest grocery expense.</p>
<p>And no, sweetened beverages don’t end at sodas. Your bottled or canned tea, coffee, or energy drinks also count.</p>
<p>Drink water instead. It’s virtually free and far healthier than sweetened beverages.</p>
<h3 id=”h.okk0ykkz9se8″>9. Learn How to Cook Your 15 Favorite Dishes</h3>
<p>For a long time, I thought going out to eat meant better-tasting meals than I could prepare myself. And given my poor cooking skills, perhaps I was right.</p>
<p>But at a certain point, I started learning how to cook my favorite meals, and one day, I realized my homemade meals could rival anything I ordered at an overpriced restaurant.</p>
<p>Start getting comfortable in the kitchen with <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/cooking-with-kids-recipes/”>recipes easy enough for kids</a>, such as dump-and-cook <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/pressure-cooker-save-money-kitchen-appliance/”>pressure cooker meals</a>. The more comfortable you get, the better the meals you can make and the more you’ll enjoy cooking.</p>
<p>Gradually start building your own family recipe cookbook of favorite meals. Soon, you’ll wonder why you used to eat out so often, and by eating in more, you’ll save more money and eat healthier.</p>
<h3 id=”h.pcsqpk62v34j”>10. Pack a Lunch Every Day</h3>
<p>Depending on whether you buy a fast-food lunch or sit down to eat, lunches cost anywhere from $7 to $20 or more. According to a <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/11/11/lunch-saving-budget-dine-out/75170170/” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>USA Today</a>&nbsp;report, Americans&nbsp;spent an average of $11 for lunches out in July and August of 2015.</p>
<p>If you ate every weekday lunch out, that would come to $55 per week, or $2,860 per year. Granted, most people don’t eat lunch out every day, but you can still expect to pay two to four times as much for a prepared meal as you pay for the raw ingredients to pack your lunch.</p>
<p>There’s also the health impact of preparing your meals. Restaurants don’t prioritize nutrition — they prioritize their profit margin and flavor.</p>
<p>Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Anyone can <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/eat-healthy-on-a-budget/”>eat healthy on a budget</a>&nbsp;by buying ingredients such as chicken breast and whole vegetables. It’s just less convenient and tempting than a grease-drenched Big Mac.</p>
<p>When you take some time while making your <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-save-money-groceries/”>grocery shopping</a>&nbsp;list to think about what you’re having for lunch, it becomes easy to eat healthy on a budget. For example, I cook a large enough portion for dinner that I have <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/leftover-food-recipes-tips/”>leftovers for lunch</a>&nbsp;the next day, which removes any inconvenience from making my lunch.</p>
<h3 id=”h.l77zvdeo6606″>11. Eliminate Food Waste</h3>
<p>According to the <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.usda.gov/foodwaste/faqs” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>USDA</a>, between 30% and 40% of the food in the U.S. goes to waste each year. Much of it ends up in landfills, adding to the general waste problem and preventing our food waste from even reentering the nutrient cycle.</p>
<p>The best way to <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-reduce-food-waste/”>avoid food waste</a>&nbsp;is not to lose track of what you have. Once per month, take stock of your freezer and (ideally) empty it by eating everything in it. Do the same with your pantry, making a game of it by taking on the “<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/pantry-challenge/”>pantry challenge</a>.”</p>
<p>Store your food with less air leakage as well. Use a vacuum-sealer whenever possible, and store other foods in airtight containers to prevent pests from getting into them.</p>
<h3 id=”h.xo03h65cm4h2″>12. Get Fit for Free</h3>
<p>A 2018 study by <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.statisticbrain.com/gym-membership-statistics/” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Statistic Brain</a>&nbsp;(reported by <a target=”_blank” href=”https://thehustle.co/gym-membership-cost” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>The Hustle</a>) found that nearly two-thirds of gym members never bother showing up to the gym. Fully 82% of members go less than once per week.</p>
<p>People keep their unused gym memberships&nbsp;because they’d rather keep paying than “admit defeat” by canceling them. Don’t fall into that trap.</p>
<p>Instead, think of <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/choose-best-gym-membership-costs/”>gym memberships</a>&nbsp;as a privilege, not a right. Make yourself earn the right to spend money on a gym by first establishing a daily workout routine.</p>
<p>Start with easy <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/exercise-workout-without-gym/”>home workouts</a>&nbsp;to build the habit. Once you establish a routine, it requires almost no willpower to work out, but the first few months require initiative to actively create the habit. Fortunately, according to <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389″ rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Mayo Clinic</a>, greater health and fitness lead to greater energy levels.</p>
<p>If after six months of working out, you decide you’d like to expand your routines to include gym workouts, you’ve earned that privilege. But in the meantime, save yourself the money.</p>
<h3 id=”h.aclkulcmd35x”>13. Become More Handy Around the House</h3>
<p>Contractors are expensive — and that’s when they’re not <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/home-improvement-repair-scams-find-contractors/”>scamming</a>&nbsp;you outright.</p>
<p>If you own your own home, it’s nice to <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/home-improvement-projects-reduce-homeownership-costs/”>make improvements that reduce your homeownership costs</a>. But here’s the kicker: Look for one you can potentially accomplish yourself, perhaps with the help of a friend or YouTube University. Some <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/federal-green-energy-efficiency-tax-credits-home-improvement/”>energy-efficiency improvements even come with tax credits</a>, saving you even more money.</p>
<p>Like cooking, home improvement involves skills that build on one another. The hardest step is the first, but as you gain comfort and confidence using various tools, you begin to realize just how much you can accomplish on your own.</p>
<p>Start small, and gradually tackle larger projects as you build confidence. Not only can you lower your homeownership costs, but you can also boost your home equity, all without spending a dime on a contractor.</p>
<h3 id=”h.12rusxkwhky9″>14. Cut the Cord</h3>
<p>In the era of streaming entertainment, there’s no need to spend so much on cable TV.</p>
<p>It costs a pretty penny. A 2020 report by <a target=”_blank” href=”https://decisiondata.org/news/report-the-average-cable-bill-now-exceeds-all-other-household-utility-bills-combined/” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>DecisionData.org</a>&nbsp;found that the average cable package ($217.42) now costs more than all other home utility costs combined.</p>
<p>That cost includes your landline phone service: another outdated dinosaur that deserves the chopping block.</p>
<p>Ditch your cable subscription in favor of a streaming service like <a target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/hulu”>Hulu</a>, Netflix, or <a target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/disney-plus”>Disney+</a>, or better yet, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/stop-watching-tv-benefits/”>stop watching TV</a>&nbsp;altogether.</p>
<h3 id=”h.7tgey99sbuc4″>15. Declutter (&amp; Maybe Downsize)</h3>
<p>On a simple level, <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/organize-declutter-home/”>decluttering your home</a>&nbsp;helps you discover things you thought you’d lost or had simply forgotten you owned. Things you otherwise might have repurchased.</p>
<p>But beyond the obvious, decluttering also shifts your mindset around your personal belongings. When you start thinking about removing objects from your home, you stop thinking in terms of acquisition. You only buy what you absolutely need rather than buying things on a whim.</p>
<p>Take this mindset even further by <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/declutter-downsize-home-tips/”>downsizing your home</a>&nbsp;to save money&nbsp;on your rent or mortgage, utilities, and maintenance and repairs.</p>
<p>Start operating from a place of getting rid of things instead of acquiring more of them. You’ll be surprised how directly less stuff translates to less stress.</p>
<h3 id=”h.sv4gwg8bvdrd”>16. Overhaul Your Budget</h3>
<p>Most people go about <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/budgeting-alternatives/”>budgeting</a>&nbsp;all wrong.</p>
<p>They start with their current expenses and look for meek tweaks and easy places to shave a few dollars here or there. Instead, start from your goal and work backward.</p>
<p>Start by setting your target <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/maximize-savings-rate-save-more-money/”>savings rate</a>: the percentage of your income you save and invest. That leaves you with a certain amount of money you can spend — how you divvy that up depends on your priorities.</p>
<p>No expense is sacred. Put every line item under the microscope, starting with your most expensive bill, your housing payment. How can you reduce or even eliminate it? From downsizing to <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/house-hacking-strategies-live-free/”>house hacking</a>&nbsp;to moving to a <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/states-lowest-overall-tax-burden/”>state with lower taxes</a>, get creative. Then do the same with every other expense in your monthly budget, such as your transportation and food costs.</p>
<p>To give you a sense of just how far outside the box you can go, my family and I live overseas in a <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/inexpensive-countries-2k-month-low-cost-living/”>country with a low cost of living</a>, enjoy free housing, and <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/living-without-car/”>live without a car</a>. But you’ll never realize significant savings if you start with your existing expenses as assumptions.</p>
<p>Draw up an entirely <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/make-budget-google-sheets/”>new budget using Google Sheets</a> or with a company like <strong><a target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/tiller”>Tiller</a></strong>, and save far more money in the coming year.</p>
<h3 id=”h.l4ldzly9vm”>17. Track 3 Numbers Every Month</h3>
<p>As they say in business, that which gets measured gets done. If you want to make real progress, you need to track that progress — every single month.</p>
<p>I keep it simple and track just three numbers each month: my savings rate, FI ratio (or <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/fire-movement-financial-independence-retire-early/”>FIRE ratio</a>), and investable net worth.</p>
<p>Your savings rate is the percentage of your income you put toward savings or investments. Short for financial independence, FI ratio is simply the percentage of your living expenses that you can cover with passive income from investments. For example, if you spend $4,000 per month and earn $1,000 in passive income, you have an FI ratio of 25%. When you reach 100%, working becomes optional, and you can retire (if you want to).</p>
<p>Finally, track your investable <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/calculate-personal-net-worth/”>net worth</a>: the sum of your assets and investments minus the sum of your debts and liabilities. I don’t recommend including equity in your primary residence because it exists only on paper until the day you sell it.</p>
<p>Of the three numbers, net worth&nbsp;is actually the least crucial because it includes so many external factors outside your control, such as stock market gyrations. Your savings rate more accurately gauges your behavior, and your FI ratio measures your real progress toward financial independence and retirement.</p>
<p>By watching these three numbers, it makes your finances more tangible, and you’ll find yourself more excited about building wealth and passive income.</p>
<hr>
<h2 id=”h.694p9uyv18a4″>Final Word</h2>
<p>While all these resolutions can improve your finances, don’t try to tackle all of them at once. There’s a limit to what you can accomplish in a single year, so don’t set yourself up for failure.</p>
<p>Instead, pick one or two resolutions and commit to them if you want to see real results — unlike those resolutioners who stop going to the gym by the end of January. Start thinking holistically about <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/lifestyle-design-create-perfect-life-budget/”>what your perfect life looks like</a>, and then start making gradual, step-by-step progress toward it.</p>
<p>You won’t get there overnight. But you can get there within a few years if you approach it methodically, starting with one or two straightforward but life-changing resolutions.</p>

<p><strong><a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org”></a></strong> <a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org/acceptable.html”>(Why?)</a></p> Thu, 24 Dec 2020 01:00:57 +0000 G. Brian Davis
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Money Management
Spending and Saving



How to Pull Equity Out of Your Home – 5 Best Ways https://www.moneycrashers.com/pull-equity-from-home/
https://www.moneycrashers.com/?p=239472
<p>In the aftermath of the Great Recession, pundits loved to gripe about “homeowners using their homes as ATMs.” Sure, just because you can take out debt doesn’t mean you should. But<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/good-debt-vs-bad-debt/”>&nbsp;not all debt is bad debt</a>; debt is a tool you can use wisely or foolishly.</p><p>And let’s be honest, sometimes homeowners find themselves cash-strapped but equity-rich.</p>
<p>If you’re considering pulling equity from your home, here are five ways you can do it, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of each. Just be careful not to overextend yourself financially. Equity can’t be realized until you sell; all you can do before then is borrow debt against it.</p>
<h2 id=”h.cxa6jar33qyv”>How to Pull Equity From Your Home</h2>
<p>All home debt has a few things in common. First, most home debts report your payment history to the credit bureaus; exceptions include reverse mortgages and sometimes blanket rental property loans. If you miss a payment or default entirely, expect it to impact your<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/check-credit-score/”>&nbsp;credit score</a>.</p>
<p>Similarly, if you default on debts secured against your home with a lien, the lender can foreclose on you. While you do have a few options at your disposal to<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/stop-avoid-foreclosure-home/”>&nbsp;stop a foreclosure</a>, the risk of losing your home is real.</p>
<p>Finally, you can deduct the cost of interest on home-secured debts, but only if you <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/standard-tax-deduction-itemizing/”>itemize your deductions</a>. If you don’t, it’s not particularly useful. Before diving into the five options to pull equity from your home, make sure you understand these similarities.</p>
<h3 id=”h.67qms32zn4we”>1. Cash-Out Refinance</h3>
<p>If you have a home worth $300,000, and you only owe $150,000, you can<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/refinance-mortgage-home/”>&nbsp;refinance your mortgage</a>&nbsp;and pull out more cash. Of course, it comes at the cost of higher home payments and restarting your loan amortization from scratch (more on that shortly).</p>
<h4 id=”h.wmji06yqlfxn”>Pros of Refinancing</h4>
<p>Refinancing your mortgage comes with a few advantages. First, you can borrow money at a fixed interest rate, which means predictable mortgage payments. Your principal and interest payments never go up; only your property taxes or<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/what-does-homeowners-insurance-cover-how-much-need/”>&nbsp;homeowners insurance</a>&nbsp;premiums could cause your monthly payment to rise.</p>
<p>Another advantage is that lenders typically charge lower interest rates for refinances than other types of loans on this list. That’s because they hold first lien position with a refinance, which means their debt gets first priority in the event of a default and foreclosure.</p>
<p>Finally, refinancing lets you pull out a higher loan-to-value ratio (LTV) than the other options on this list for the same reason. A lender in first lien position can lend a higher percentage of the property’s value knowing that they get paid back first.</p>
<p><strong>Pro Tip</strong>: If you’re considering refinancing your home, look into an online bank like <a target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/axos-bank-mortgage”><strong>Axos Bank</strong></a>. They offer great rates and a simple process.</p>
<h4 id=”h.ah73mpq4vs6d”>Cons of Refinancing</h4>
<p>Refinancing your mortgage restarts your amortization from scratch, which lenders love. That should send up a red flag for you as the borrower.</p>
<p>Lenders use a calculation called “simple interest amortization” to determine how much of each monthly payment goes toward interest and how much goes toward paying down your principal balance. At the beginning of your loan term, nearly all of each payment goes toward interest, rather than principal. Over time, that ratio changes, until at the very end of your loan term, nearly all of each payment goes toward paying down your principal balance.</p>
<p>But here’s the thing: The change in that ratio follows an exponential curve, and it mostly happens at the very end of your loan. Over a 30-year mortgage, the bulk of your balance may only be paid in the last few years. So lenders love refinancing older loans because they get to restart the clock on amortization and collect high interest from each monthly payment.</p>
<p>Refinancing also restarts the countdown on your loan term. If you were 20 years into a 30-year mortgage, and you refinance for another 30-year mortgage, you go from having 10 years left on your loan to having another 30 years to go.</p>
<p>That fixed interest rate and payment also come with a downside: mortgages are inflexible. You borrow a fixed amount with a fixed repayment period, end of discussion.</p>
<p>If you’re thinking about<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/reasons-shouldnt-refinance-credit-card-debt/”>&nbsp;refinancing to consolidate credit card debt</a>, think hard. Defaulting on your credit cards means a judgment; defaulting on your mortgage means foreclosure.</p>
<p>Lastly, refinancing comes with a whole new set of<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/closing-costs-buying-house-estimates/”>&nbsp;closing costs</a>. Between lender fees, title fees, appraisal fees, and more, prepare to spend thousands of dollars in fees.</p>
<h4 id=”h.y1gfss654yi4″>The Bottom Line</h4>
<p>Refinancing your mortgage to pull out cash can occasionally make sense – for example, if you have an FHA mortgage and want to refinance to a conventional mortgage to eliminate the<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/private-mortgage-insurance-pmi/”>&nbsp;mortgage insurance premium</a>.</p>
<p>Before refinancing, read this more detailed answer to the question of “<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/should-i-refinance-my-mortgage/”>Should I refinance my mortgage?</a>”</p>
<hr>
<h3 id=”h.m4m128qenn0m”>2. Second Mortgage/Home Equity Loan</h3>
<p>If you already have a mortgage and want to borrow more money against your home, no one says you have to pay off your existing mortgage. One option is taking out a second mortgage, also known as a home equity loan. Similar to refinancing your original mortgage, you can use <a target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/lendingtree-home-equity?sid=p:239472-z:content-d:2-l:20of40-e:a”>LendingTree</a>&nbsp;to get the best rates on a home equity loan.</p>
<p>Technically speaking, the two terms don’t mean precisely the same thing. A home equity loan is any new mortgage loan that you take out as an existing homeowner. If you own your home free and clear, you can borrow a home equity loan, which would have first lien position rather than being a second mortgage. But in general discussion, the terms are often used interchangeably.</p>
<h4 id=”h.wsc9xdeeign5″>Pros of Home Equity Loans</h4>
<p>One distinct advantage of a second mortgage is that you don’t have to restart the amortization schedule from scratch on your first mortgage. In the example above, the borrower has only 10 years left on their mortgage, so restarting the entire loan would come with a huge downside. But with a second mortgage, they can just take out what they need as a new additional loan.</p>
<p>Lender fees can end up being lower for a second mortgage than a refinance. Lenders often charge upfront fees called “points,” with 1 point equal to 1% of the loan amount. On a $30,000 second mortgage, 1 point is only $300, while 1 point on a $300,000 refinance is $3,000.</p>
<p>Second mortgages, being secured against your home, usually offer lower interest rates than unsecured<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/reasons-get-personal-loan-benefits/”>&nbsp;personal loans</a>. Of course, that lower interest rate may be nullified by the higher costs of running title work, recording lien documents, and the other requirements of a<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/house-closing-process-documents/”>&nbsp;home mortgage closing</a>.</p>
<h4 id=”h.ljxfhss8zv2d”>Cons of Home Equity Loans</h4>
<p>Second mortgages nearly always involve higher interest rates than refinances because the lender must take second lien position behind the first mortgage lender.</p>
<p>Home equity loans, like other types of mortgages, are also inflexible. That makes them useful only as a one-time infusion of cash – and an expensive one at that.</p>
<p>And as mentioned above, closing costs are expensive. No matter how small your loan amount, you still need to pay for title work, recording fees, appraisals, and fixed “junk fees” charged by the lender.</p>
<h4 id=”h.z8z2p2jq3nf7″>The Bottom Line</h4>
<p>If you have a one-time cash need, such as paying for a home renovation, second mortgages can make sense. In particular, homeowners can use them as an option when they have a low-cost, advantageous first mortgage in place that they don’t want to lose.</p>
<p>But be careful of high closing costs, and look at the total cost of the loan, including all closing costs and life-of-loan interest compared with the amount of cash you want to borrow. No one wants to pay $60,000 in interest and fees to borrow $25,000.</p>
<hr>
<h3 id=”h.9qlwshdxd0ft”>3. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)</h3>
<p>A <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/home-equity-line-credit-heloc/”>home equity line of credit (HELOC)</a> through a companies like <a target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/axos-bank-mortgage”><strong> Axos Bank </strong></a>and <strong><a target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/figure-home-equity?subId1=p:239472-z:content-d:3-l:26of40-e:a”>Figure.com</a></strong>&nbsp;is a far more flexible option for tapping home equity without borrowing a one-time mortgage.</p>
<p>As the name suggests, a HELOC is a revolving line of credit like a<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/best-secured-credit-cards-bad-credit/”>&nbsp;secured credit card</a>. But instead of being secured by a cash deposit, it’s secured against your home. The maximum combined LTV for HELOCs typically falls in the 75% to 85% range. For example, for a home with a $150,000 mortgage that’s worth $300,000, instead of refinancing or taking out a second mortgage, you could take out a HELOC with a credit limit of $100,000.</p>
<p>For the initial draw period of five to 10 years, you can pull out money against the line of credit and pay down your balance as you like. The only payments you make each month are interest-only.</p>
<p>After the draw period comes the repayment period, when the line of credit closes and you must make monthly payments to pay off your balance. Repayment periods generally last 10 to 20 years.</p>
<h4 id=”h.cxkyc54ybhbc”>Pros of HELOCs</h4>
<p>The beauty of HELOCs is their flexibility. You may never need to use them, or you may use them only occasionally to pay for a home improvement before quickly repaying the balance. You could also max them out to cover an important cost.</p>
<p>Also, HELOC interest rates are typically lower than credit cards’ since they’re secured by your home. In general, rates fall in a similar range as second mortgages’.</p>
<h4 id=”h.yel7skyplv9q”>Cons of HELOCs</h4>
<p>Flexibility comes at a cost; HELOCs are<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/adjustable-rate-mortgage-definition/”>&nbsp;adjustable-rate loans</a>. Interest rates when you borrow may be low, but if they triple in the next 10 years, you could find yourself paying 16% interest on your debt.</p>
<p>Defaulting on your credit cards won’t necessarily mean homelessness, but defaulting on your HELOC might since the credit line is secured against your home.</p>
<p>As with second mortgages, homeowners may incur high closing costs to open a line of credit. The closing process is similar, requiring title work and all related fees.</p>
<p>Borrowers also face a unique risk with HELOCs: frozen credit due to loss of equity. If your home goes down in value, your lender can freeze your line of credit, regardless of whether you’ve made every interest payment on time.</p>
<p>Finally, some HELOCs include a permanent occupancy clause. Unlike mortgages, which typically allow borrowers to move out after a year and keep the property as a rental, some HELOCs automatically close if the borrower moves out, with the entire outstanding balance due immediately. Be sure to check the fine print.</p>
<h4 id=”h.wolj651bimpu”>The Bottom Line</h4>
<p>Home equity lines of credit can make for flexible funding sources. From paying for home improvements to your kids’ college tuition to a down payment on a rental property or vacation home, HELOCs have many uses. They can even be used as a supplement or replacement for an<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/start-build-emergency-fund-savings/”>&nbsp;emergency fund</a>&nbsp;if you have a high risk tolerance and would rather invest your cash than let it languish in a savings account.</p>
<p>But as with second mortgages, be careful to analyze whether the long-term costs are worth the flexibility.</p>
<hr>
<h3 id=”h.a5bdn05vpuja”>4. Reverse Mortgage</h3>
<p>Many older adults find themselves in the unique position of having plenty of equity but a limited income. One option at their disposal is a reverse mortgage through <strong><a target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer” href=”https://www.moneycrashers.to/lendingtree-reverse-mortgage?sid=p:239472-z:content-d:4-l:33of40-e:a”>LendingTree</a>.</strong></p>
<p>In a<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/reverse-mortgage-hecm/”>&nbsp;reverse mortgage</a>, the lender pays the borrower rather than vice versa, with no obligation for the homeowner to make payments while they live. Upon their death, the house goes to the lender unless the borrower or their estate pays off the balance.</p>
<p>While reverse mortgages come in many shapes and sizes, the most common is that the lender makes monthly payments to the borrower, and the loan balance rises over time. Alternatively, the borrower could take a one-time payout, like a second mortgage, or some combination of a lump-sum payout and monthly payments.</p>
<h4 id=”h.iv51q0pbvfhp”>Pros of Reverse Mortgages</h4>
<p>Unlike the other options on this list, reverse mortgage lenders can’t foreclose. Depending on the terms of the loan, they may stop making payments after a certain number, but they can’t force the homeowner to leave. And because the borrower doesn’t make the payments, a<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/bad-credit-score-negative-effects/”>&nbsp;bad credit score</a>&nbsp;doesn’t matter.</p>
<p>As outlined above, reverse mortgages include some flexibility for borrowers to choose how they want to receive payments. Either way, the loan payments don’t impact the borrower’s eligibility for Social Security or Medicare benefits.</p>
<h4 id=”h.hy8qqhjoloui”>Cons of Reverse Mortgages</h4>
<p>First, only older adults – usually those over 62 – can take out reverse mortgages. While this isn’t a con per se, it is a limitation.</p>
<p>Another limitation is that only a primary residence can be used as collateral for a reverse mortgage. Don’t count on taking one out on a rental property, no matter how much equity you have in it.</p>
<p>Now, for a serious con: mortgage insurance. For FHA reverse mortgage programs, borrowers must pay an upfront fee of 0.5% at the table if the loan balance is under 60% LTV and an ugly 2.5% for loan balances over 60% LTV. And that’s just the upfront fee. Borrowers must also pay ongoing monthly fees equal to 1.5% of the loan amount each year – an amount that often goes up over time.</p>
<h4 id=”h.78acd7skad8a”>The Bottom Line</h4>
<p>For older adults with significant equity in their homes who never plan on moving out, reverse mortgages offer a viable source of additional revenue. They’re debt but without those pesky monthly bills.</p>
<p>But if you want to leave something behind for your children, be careful about how a reverse mortgage will impact your <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/estate-planning-basics-checklist/”>estate planning</a>.</p>
<hr>
<h3 id=”h.2m1zlm8kgo6p”>5. Buy a Rental Property With a Blanket Loan</h3>
<p>Ready to get more creative in accessing your home’s equity?</p>
<p>Let’s say you want to buy a rental property. You find a lender who generously offers 80% LTV financing – or, in other words, requires a 20% down payment from you. You could cough up the cash, or you could offer to cross-collateralize your home.</p>
<p>It works like this: Instead of only securing a lien against the rental property, the lender puts a lien on your current home in addition to the rental. They get two properties as collateral, providing them with greater security. Because of the extra collateral, they no longer require a down payment at all.</p>
<h4 id=”h.h80zcjkrr2z7″>Pros of a Blanket Loan</h4>
<p>You don’t have to come up with any cash for a blanket loan. You can potentially finance even the closing costs of the new property. But you do gain a new income-producing asset.</p>
<p>This tactic also doesn’t require a separate settlement; you merely close on the property you’re buying with financing. The title company does have to pull two sets of title work, but any additional costs pale compared with the closing costs of a separate settlement.</p>
<h4 id=”h.scny08bn18pv”>Cons of a Blanket Loan</h4>
<p>To begin with, you’re putting your home on the line to buy an investment property, risking foreclosure and homelessness, as outlined above.</p>
<p>Another risk of financing 100% of a rental purchase is negative cash flow. Such high mortgage payments may mean higher average expenses than rental income, which would defeat the entire purpose of buying a rental. Negative cash flow is a<a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/five-issues-with-buying-rental-property-and-becoming-a-landlord/”>&nbsp;risk of buying a rental property</a>&nbsp;when you buy at 70% to 80% LTV. The risk is even greater when you finance the entire purchase price.</p>
<p>Similarly, if the property dips even slightly in value, it puts you upside-down on the mortgage.</p>
<p>Buying a rental property with a blanket loan may seem similar to drawing on a HELOC. However, most investors I’ve known use this tactic only as a temporary source of funds so that they can buy at lightning speed. They quickly repay their HELOC after any repairs are complete, usually by taking out a long-term mortgage on the rental property. In other words, they don’t use their home to over-leverage a rental. Instead, they use it for temporary, fast, flexible money, which they repay in full with a separate rental-only mortgage.</p>
<h4 id=”h.hf311y4v1w92″>The Bottom Line</h4>
<p>Cross-collateralizing your home to finance investments is a high-risk venture. Don’t try this at home unless you’re an experienced investor with a dozen deals under your belt.</p>
<hr>
<h2 id=”h.xkjb9sty8hg2″>Final Word</h2>
<p>Debt is a dangerous tool, easy to abuse and difficult to wield skillfully. The best way to access the equity in your home is to sell the home and move somewhere less expensive. But if you must take out debt, borrowing against your home usually means lower interest rates than unsecured debts.</p>
<p>Just beware high upfront closing costs, and be especially careful not to take on more debt than you can repay. Most debt is, in fact, bad debt, and the only exception is debt that helps you build wealth. So if you can help it, listen to those grumpy pundits and don’t use your house as an ATM.</p>
<p>What has your experience been in accessing the equity in your home? Which of the above methods have you used, and what did you think of it?</p>

<p><strong><a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org”></a></strong> <a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org/acceptable.html”>(Why?)</a></p> Thu, 24 Dec 2020 00:55:19 +0000 G. Brian Davis
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9 Reasons to Quit Drinking and the Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol https://www.moneycrashers.com/benefits-quitting-drinking-health-wellness-financial/
https://www.moneycrashers.com/?p=184980
<p>Drinking alcohol&nbsp;is a popular pastime for many Americans. A 2019 study cited by the <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>National Institute</a><a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>&nbsp;on </a><a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Alcohol Abuse</a><a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>&nbsp;and Alcoholism</a>&nbsp;(NIAAA)&nbsp;found that approximately 70% of Americans reported drinking at some point in the previous year. About 55% of Americans reported drinking at some point in the past month.</p><p>Alcohol use&nbsp;has many benefits, both real and perceived. It’s a social lubricant, an enjoyable taste experience, and may even have health benefits&nbsp;when consumed in moderation.</p>
<p>But alcohol use&nbsp;also has a darker side. It’s a major cause of preventable death and long-term health problems&nbsp;like heart disease&nbsp;and liver disease, a drag on productivity (notwithstanding the trope of the “high-functioning alcoholic”), and an expensive habit to boot. Indeed, many of the drawbacks of alcohol abuse&nbsp;(or even regular use) have financial components, whether directly tied to the cost of alcohol or not.</p>
<p>Are alcohol’s financial and health downsides serious enough to swear off the stuff altogether? Are the benefits of giving up alcohol&nbsp;worth the hit to your social life&nbsp;or personal sense of well-being?</p>
<p>That’s a difficult question to answer in the abstract. If neither you nor your loved ones&nbsp;are concerned by your drinking habits, quitting likely isn’t a top priority for you — and that’s probably fine. However, if you suspect your alcohol use&nbsp;is a drag on your finances, personal relationships, or work life — or you worry it may become a problem in the future — you might be ready to explore the benefits of giving up alcohol.</p>
<h2 id=”h.av5ic0mnpyk1″>Reasons to Voluntarily Stop Drinking: Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol</h2>
<p>In the United States, one “standard drink” is equivalent to 12 ounces of 5% alcohol by volume (ABV) beer, 5 ounces of 12% ABV wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (40% ABV), according to the <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Centers for Disease Control</a>&nbsp;(CDC). That’s a standard-sized can or bottle of beer, glass of wine, or shot of spirits, respectively.</p>
<p>High-ABV beer, fortified wine, and intermediate-strength liqueurs require special calculations based on proof and drink size. The NIAA’s Rethinking Drinking portal&nbsp;has a useful <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/calculators/drink-size-calculator.aspx” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>drink serving calculator</a>&nbsp;that incorporates some nonstandard drink types.</p>
<p>According to the CDC, the generally accepted “moderate” drinking rate is no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Binge drinking&nbsp;is defined as four drinks or more on a single occasion for women and five drinks or more on a single occasion for men. Heavy drinking&nbsp;is defined as consuming eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men, regardless of the number of distinct occasions.</p>
<p>Generally speaking, public health authorities frown on any alcohol use&nbsp;at all. For example, the CDC&nbsp;counsels individuals who don’t currently drink to continue abstaining. In other words: If you don’t drink, don’t start.</p>
<p>If you do drink alcohol, consider quitting or cutting back. In the shorter term, doing so could reduce your risk of health and safety hazards associated with alcohol addiction&nbsp;or excessive alcohol consumption&nbsp;(such as motor vehicle accidents and alcohol withdrawal) and alleviate consumption-related financial strain. In the long run, abstaining&nbsp;or drinking in moderation could have significant benefits for your finances, relationships, and health.</p>
<h3 id=”h.gezinzb3q1eh”>1. It’s a Direct Financial Drain</h3>
<p>Anyone who’s been surprised by a hefty bar tab knows that alcohol is expensive.</p>
<p>In big cities, a single pint of craft beer sets you back $8 to $10, and a fancy mixed drink runs anywhere from $12 to $16. That’s $40 to $80 per week for those who consume five drinks per week, not accounting for indirect costs like hailing a taxi or <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/ridesharing-carsharing/”>rideshare</a>&nbsp;to get home safely. And these are midrange bar and restaurant prices; you can expect to pay even more at high-end establishments.</p>
<p>Drinking at home is cheaper, to be fair, but replacing alcoholic beverages&nbsp;with nonalcoholic drinks is even better. For inspiration, read up on popular mocktail recipes (Town &amp; Country Magazine has a <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/drinks/how-to/g785/best-mocktail-recipes/” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>great list</a>) or learn how to <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/make-kombucha-home-recipe/”>make kombucha at home</a>.</p>
<h3 id=”h.tjcdaurp4eoy”>2. It’s a Net Negative for Your Long-Term Health</h3>
<p>According to the NIAAA, alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, after tobacco and the combined effects of poor diet and physical inactivity. A separate <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/alcohol-related-deaths-increasing-united-states” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>NIAAA study</a>&nbsp;found alcohol mentioned over 70,000 death certificates in 2017 — 2.6% of all U.S. deaths that year.</p>
<p>Alcohol-related causes of death include:</p>
<ul>
<li>Cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure</li>
<li>Certain types of cancer&nbsp;correlated with alcohol use</li>
<li>Serious mental health issues&nbsp;(including alcohol use disorder&nbsp;itself) leading to increased risk&nbsp;of death</li>
</ul>
<p>Though moderate alcohol use&nbsp;does have modest ameliorative effects, according to Harvard University’s <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/#possible_health_benefits” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>T.H. Chan School of Public Health</a>, the adverse effects of heavier drinking far outweigh any health benefits. If your goal is to do right by your body over the long haul, abstaining&nbsp;is the best course of action.</p>
<h3 id=”h.6xjy4mua0t1k”>3. It’s a Significant Cause of Traumatic Injury and Death</h3>
<p>Alcohol is bad for your long-term health, but it’s even worse for your short-term&nbsp;well-being. For example, the <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>CDC</a>&nbsp;reports that&nbsp;10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016 — 28% of all U.S. traffic-related deaths that year and 17% of all traffic deaths among children ages 14 and under.</p>
<p>And the consequences of impaired driving extend beyond the tragedy of fatal crashes. Impaired driving is a very costly problem, accounting for <a target=”_blank” href=”http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/812013.pdf” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>about $43 billion in total costs as of 2010</a>.</p>
<h3 id=”h.mvk310at84n2″>4. It Impairs Decision-Making</h3>
<p>It’s no secret that alcohol impairs decision-making. One or two drinks might not lead to a dangerously bone-headed move, but excessive drinking&nbsp;certainly can.</p>
<p>As a younger person, I made plenty of questionable choices after a night of social drinking, including some with direct financial consequences. Perhaps you can say the same. The surest way to avoid making alcohol-driven choices you’ll later come to regret is not to drink at all.</p>
<h3>5. It’s Not Pleasant the Next Day</h3>
<p>If you’ve ever overindulged, you know firsthand just how unpleasant the morning after a night of heavy drinking&nbsp;can be: pounding headache, dry mouth, sour stomach, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, chills, dizzy spells, you name it.</p>
<p>In severe cases, a hangover&nbsp;may necessitate medical consultation or treatment for complications like dehydration or alcohol poisoning — a direct cost that’s likely to be higher for victims <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/medical-care-without-health-insurance/”>without health insurance</a>.</p>
<h3 id=”h.4m0ma3x7y5h4″>6. It May Put You in Legal Jeopardy</h3>
<p>Not all alcohol-driven bad decisions are created equal. Some, such as buying a round of drinks for the table on a low bank account, have manageable, temporary consequences.</p>
<p>Others are far more serious. One of the most consequential decisions you can make while impaired is to get behind the wheel of a car. Even if you don’t get into a serious accident, the <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/drunk-driving-consequences-penalties/”>costs of driving under the influence</a>&nbsp;are impossible to ignore. In 2013, the <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/crime-statistics-for-2013-released/crime-statistics-for-2013-released” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>FBI</a>&nbsp;reported approximately 1.17 million drunk driving arrests.</p>
<p>Drunk driving arrests are expensive. A <a target=”_blank” href=”https://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/how-much-does-a-first-offense-dui-cost.htm” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Nolo survey</a>&nbsp;pegged&nbsp;the average cost of a first-offense drunk driving arrest at approximately $6,500 and nearly $11,000 when accounting for lost wages. Arrestees often miss work for court appearances and other case-related matters, and many employment contracts list a drunk driving arrest as cause for suspension or termination.</p>
<h3 id=”h.ukr2d2ysmf3u”>7. It May Adversely Impact Relationships</h3>
<p id=”h.s3kc8vyflkdj”>Research from the <a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.buffalo.edu/ria/news_events/es/es12.html” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>University at Buffalo</a>&nbsp;reports that couples who drink heavily or unevenly (one partner drinks regularly while the other abstains) face multiple potential issues. These couples may experience:</p>
<ul>
<li>Lower marital satisfaction</li>
<li>Higher rates of domestic abuse</li>
<li>Higher rates of divorce and marriage counseling</li>
<li>Higher rates of negative interaction and lower rates of positive interaction</li>
<li>Financial strain related to poor money management, job loss or unstable employment, and other factors</li>
</ul>
<p>These issues are particularly pronounced when one partner is a problem drinker and the other is a moderate drinker or alcohol-free&nbsp;entirely. In the worst cases, they may culminate in divorce, which <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/divorce-costs-types/”>can be costly</a>.</p>
<h3 id=”h.3cfwv3b5tlyk”>8. It May Lead to Dependency and Associated Costs</h3>
<p><a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p1120-excessive-driniking.html” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>CDC data</a>&nbsp;suggests that the vast majority (9 in 10) of adults who drink too much alcohol (occasional binge drinkers) are not dependent on alcohol per se.</p>
<p>However, 1 in 30 American adults – more than 3% of the population – is alcohol dependent. If you have a history of alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, or other dependency disorders in your family, you may be at elevated risk for alcohol dependency.</p>
<p>If you suspect alcohol dependency, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor&nbsp;about your options, including whether you should abstain altogether or seek inpatient or outpatient treatment. According to figures collected by <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/addiction-treatment-recovery/alcohol/how-much-does-alcohol-rehab-really-cost” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>WebMD</a>, either option carries significant cost: $3,000 to $10,000 for a 30-day course of intensive outpatient treatment and $5,000 to $80,000 for longer inpatient stays. However, the financial cost is far outweighed by the benefits to your physical health, mental health, relationships, and career.</p>
<h3 id=”h.8zuje4t4uhof”>9. It’s Bad for Productivity and Career Advancement</h3>
<p>Several studies cited in “<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/16211/1/science_02_en.pdf” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Alcohol, Work and Productivity</a>,” a major paper by the Science Group of the European Alcohol and Health Forum, suggest that moderate and heavy alcohol use&nbsp;negatively affect productivity at work and school. One cited study found that “delaying drinking onset by one year increased schooling by 0.47 years for men and 0.36 years for women” in the United States. Others found a connection between drinking and poor educational outcomes.</p>
<p>An occasional drink probably won’t derail your career or cripple your lifetime earning potential. But it’s worth pondering the effects of regular or heavy drinking&nbsp;on your productivity and performance in the workplace.</p>
<hr>
<h2 id=”h.s0gglbfw59w6″>Is Moderation Better? Potential Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption</h2>
<p>Moderate alcohol use&nbsp;does have benefits. Some are supported by peer-reviewed medical research; others are anecdotal. It’s up to you whether they outweigh the potential consequences.</p>
<h3 id=”h.3sl1qc3nq62f”>It May Be Good for Cardiovascular Health</h3>
<p>Moderate alcohol use&nbsp;is correlated with higher levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which helps protect against cardiovascular disease.</p>
<p>According to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, more than 100 scientific studies showed that moderate drinking reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.</p>
<p>The observed effect ranges from 25% to 40% above the baseline — a substantial reduction. Studies suggest that continued moderate alcohol use&nbsp;is indicated even after acute cardiovascular events.</p>
<h3 id=”h.m94s91z4amm9″>It May Prevent Ischemic Stroke</h3>
<p>The same studies cited above show a significant inverse association between moderate alcohol use&nbsp;and risk of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. Like a heart attack&nbsp;caused by one or more blocked coronary arteries, ischemic stroke occurs when one or more blocked blood vessels prevent oxygen from reaching parts of the brain. Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of disability and death in older adults.</p>
<h3 id=”h.uhayoytrgz3r”>It May Prevent or Mitigate Type 2 Diabetes</h3>
<p>Some studies suggest that moderate alcohol use&nbsp;can forestall the onset of type 2 diabetes, a costly chronic condition caused by insulin resistance. A <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15735217?dopt=Citation” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>2005 meta-analysis published in Diabetes Care</a>&nbsp;found the risk of type 2 diabetes was reduced by 30% for moderate alcohol consumers compared with nondrinkers.</p>
<h3 id=”h.9nlu5o8qhd5x”>It’s a Social Lubricant (in Proper Context)</h3>
<p>In the proper context, alcohol is a social lubricant – a boon for introverts&nbsp;and a salve for awkward encounters.</p>
<p>Perhaps you’re dreading a work-sponsored happy hour, a first date, or a holiday dinner filled with cringe-worthy uncle stories. Whatever the occasion, a drink or two can help.</p>
<p>The challenge lies in not using alcohol as a crutch. This is a fine line to walk for many.</p>
<hr>
<h2 id=”h.51gd6u22lv6j”>Final Word</h2>
<p>American attitudes around intoxicating substances continue to evolve. Millennials and Gen Zers are drinking less than older generational cohorts did, according to a 2019 feature by <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/04/millennials-sober-sick-of-drinking/586186/” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>The Atlantic</a>. They’re also finding more palatable alcohol alternatives, such as nonalcoholic&nbsp;craft beer, high-end nonalcoholic wine, and spirit alternatives for mocktails.</p>
<p>This embrace of moderation coincides with an apparent countertrend: rapidly liberalizing attitudes toward cannabis (marijuana). More than a dozen states have legalized cannabis for recreational use, turbocharging a “green rush” into <a href=”https://www.moneycrashers.com/cannabis-stocks-invest/”>cannabis stocks</a>&nbsp;and derivative investments.</p>
<p>Perhaps it’s best not to read too much into these trends. If the occasional drink or (legal) edible improves your well-being with no ill effects on your finances, career, or relationships, it would appear to be a habit worth keeping. But it’s also important to listen to what your body, bank account, and — perhaps most importantly — loved ones&nbsp;are telling you. Should you decide to significantly reduce your consumption or stop drinking&nbsp;entirely, there’s a well-worn path for you to follow.</p>

<p><strong><a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org”></a></strong> <a href=”https://blockads.fivefilters.org/acceptable.html”>(Why?)</a></p> Thu, 24 Dec 2020 00:50:00 +0000 Brian Martucci
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