More Americans Going Ahead With Major Life Decisions Despite Financial Concerns

More Americans Going Ahead With Major Life Decisions Despite Financial Concerns
When deciding whether to make a big life change, such as getting married, having a baby, buying a house, or going back to school, more people are doing what they want to do without worrying about finances – at least that’s what a recent study from Harris Poll showed.

When asked whether they’d put off a major life decision for financial reasons during the past year, only one-third of survey respondents said that they had done so. That’s far fewer than the previous poll in 2015, when 51 percent reported putting off big things because of money concerns.

Going to college, getting married, and having children are all major markers in life, and putting them off for financial reasons isn’t often seen as a good thing. So the shrinking percentage of folks postponing these milestones is a positive development, says Greg Anton, CPA and chairman of the American Institute of CPAs.

“As the economy continues to pick up steam and we put the recession further in the rearview mirror, it is important to be cautious and not forget the difficult financial lessons we learned,” he said. “When making a major life decision, don’t just focus on the immediate costs. Consider the long-term financial implications as well.”

Watch out for credit card debt when making big decisions

Although he advocates not putting off positive life changes such as going back to school or getting married, Anton said that taking on too much credit card debt or making big purchases when people aren’t financially stable is “reckless…in any economy.”

He warned that the survey also showed that fewer people are doing things like following a budget, increasing the amount they put into savings, establishing an emergency fund, contributing to retirement accounts, or decreasing their credit card balances. The percentage of respondents who reported making at least one positive change to their financial behavior since the recession has dropped from 85 percent in 2015 to 68 percent in 2018.

“It is important to remember there is a natural ebb and flow to the economy that can have a significant negative impact on those who overextend their finances,” Anton advised. “With the economy stable for the time being, it is the perfect time to check in your financial plan to make sure that when you do come to the crossroads of a major life decision, you are not being held back by your bank account.”

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