Ghouls and goblins aren't the only thing haunting Americans this Halloween. Money management freaks them out too, as financial website WalletHub discovered via a survey of more than 530 people.
One of respondents' top two fears, both of which tied for first place: an unexpected crisis. About 26 percent are worried they won't have the necessary funds to cover an emergency, like an unanticipated medical bill. That could be, in part, because 69 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in total savings and 34 percent have no savings at all, as a 2016 GOBankingRates survey found.
Luckily, there are ways to overcome these fears.
For starters, begin an emergency savings fund or, if you have one already, start making it a priority. Suze Orman, financial expert and former CNBC host, advises that you aim to have eight-to-12 months' worth of expenses stashed away.
Start by putting away small amounts of money on a regular basis. You can automate your savings so money transfers over directly from your paycheck into a savings account and then increase the contribution amounts over time.
That method could also help when saving for retirement. Look to interest-earning accounts, like 401(k)s to begin or continue saving. Many employers will match their employees' contributions, too, so take advantage of that perk.
Since credit cards are a major source of anxiety, too, try to pay off your balance in full each month in order to avoid high interest rates. If you can't, then you might be living beyond your means and need to make some adjustments to your spending, financial expert Tom Corley says.
If you're worried about losing your card, try getting a virtual one.
"Halloween comes once a year, yet scary credit cards are always lurking," the survey says. "Evaluate your needs. Since [some] cards excel in one particular area — rewards, for example — it's important you determine exactly what you need before looking into specific offers.
"[Isolate] different types of transactions on different accounts in order to garner the best possible collection of terms," it adds. "This might entail getting a rewards card for everyday expenses that you pay off completely by the end of the month."
Also, compare the terms of the cards, not just the branding, the survey says. "Read the fine print. Even though [it] can lead to headaches, it can also contain crucial information that impacts how much you pay for card use as well as the overall benefit you derive from your card."
While cards can come with risks, learning how to use them can calm your worries and even help you feel like you're using cards to win. By understanding how to get the most out of their plastic, this couple flew to five continents for free.
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