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Money Action Plan for Monday, Aug. 18

Between mortgages, credit cards, healthcare and soaring gas and food prices, financial hardship is no longer relegated to an insignificant slice of the American public. Millions of us are feeling the pain of this recession.

There’s Constance from California – a baby boomer caring for an elderly uncle and a young son while also running her own business. Carmen spoke to Constance Monday, advising her to start immediately saving aggressively for retirement. While her job is secure and thriving, it might not always be that way, Carmen said. That’s why it’s best to take advantage of the “now” to build up a nest egg. Constance needs to take care of herself first or else she won’t be able to continue to take care of the other people that rely on her.

Vanessa and Harris, a young couple from New York, are both gainfully employed in jobs they love, but they can’t seem to wrestle themselves from the suffocating grip of credit card debt. Between that and student loans, debt payments make up 35% of this couple’s monthly expenses – a figure that Carmen considers way too high. She urged them to consider moving somewhere where they could cut down on housing costs (over 60% of their monthly expenses) or find a way to bring in a little more income that will alleviate the monthly deficit they are digging themselves into. One piece of good news: because Vanessa is a public school teacher, she is entitled to get up to $17,500 of her student loan debt forgiven by the government. Check out studentaid.ed.gov to learn more about loan forgiveness and if you’re a candidate.

Watch the video for the Carmen’s complete Money Action Plans from Monday’s show.