1.20.20 Even wealthy Americans struggling with debt; What to know about store closings and liquidation sales

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By Clark Howard. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

A Bankrate survey has found that of those with $100k to $200K net worth, more than half are carrying credit card debt. The psychology of this is important. There’s an old expression that describes this: Keeping up with the Joneses. When someone lives in an affluent neighborhood and drives an older car, they may feel like the odd person out, and seek to buy a new one to fit in. It feels only natural to match the environment. It’s a matter of being too influenced by those around us, and creating expectations for ourselves. This mentality takes hold in an insular culture. We are influenced by others, often in positive ways. But when it comes to possessions, trouble follows. Remember that those who have the greatest net worth are those that live a modest life, seemingly below their means. They are building long term wealth. Nobody ever got rich paying Visa or Mastercard 18% interest on debt.

The Christmas season was rough for many retailers as evidenced by store vacancies happening all over America. The U.S. has been ‘over-stored’ for years, with more retail space per person than elsewhere in the world. A correction has begun. Retailers are closing for many reasons, leading to GOB (going out of business) sales. Know that these sales are not necessarily a deal for you. The companies that specialize in running these liquidation sales are expert at manipulating buying behavior. Much of the merchandise in a given GOB comes from previous clearance sales, designed to give the perception you’re getting a great deal. Know that most of the discounts are an illusion. If you shop a GOB, let your smartphone be your friend. Use it to price check and comparison shop.

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