Do you have a money disorder? Of course I do, you say. My disorder is that money comes in a lot slower than it goes out.

That’s a problem for most of us. But some guy named Brad Klontz, author of “Mind Over Money” and co-founder of the Financial Psychology Institute, says money disorders are when you keep doing things that keep putting you in debt.

Klontz said he finds that most disorders fall into three broad categories: Money avoidance, money worshipping and relational money disorders. Each category can be broken into more specific disorders like overspending, workaholism and pathological gambling.

Now, I don’t worship money, can’t worship what you don’t have, and I’m not really sure what relational money disorders mean. But money avoidance? I guess I do that. I have a two week cushion to make the mortgage payment. Sometimes I make it on the first, sometimes I stretch it out to the

10th.

And you want to talk about money disorders? I did the math and we’ve paid the purchase price for our house twice, yet we still owe $2,000 more than what it cost. THAT will give you a money disorder!

Anyway, I also don’t gamble and I stopped overspending years ago and nobody’s ever accused me of workaholism. And to be honest, I’m stunned that workaholism is a word my computer didn’t flag as not existing. I’ve never heard of the word and I know a lot of words. At least 40 or 50.

Northwestern Mutual says the average American has $38,000 in debt. I’d kill for only $38,000 in debt, but I guess that includes people who have never bought a house. Take them out and I’d guess the number would probably double.

The Federal Reserve said that in 2018 consumer debt climbed to $4 trillion, a new record. And a large amount of that is credit card debt. When I was younger and much, MUCH more stupid, we hit $22,000 in credit card debt. We managed to pay that off and have kept credit card debt very well under control since

then.

But we were pikers, apparently. Just do some quick Googling and you’ll see people with credit card debt that tops $100,000. What were these people doing? Buying houses on their Visas?

Northwestern Mutual says most Americans with debt have debt that is double what they have in savings. I can easily understand that. We probably don’t have a fourth in savings compared to our debt. But again, we have a mortgage that apparently puts five cents toward the principle each month.

They also say 20 percent of Americans put 50-100 percent of their monthly income toward debt payment and that 13 percent believe they will be in debt for the rest of their lives. Reminds me of that old joke about how after you die, they’ll dig you up and say, “Nice try! But you still have bills to pay off!”

It also bring to mind the oft repeated adage that to have a comfortable retirement, you need at least $2 million in savings. Most of us would have the same reaction. You can’t save what you don’t make.

My plan for old age (even older than I am now) was the one I witnessed growing up as a kid. You work until you’re in your sixties, make sure your house is paid for, there’s no car payment and all you really need to buy is food and electricity. Then the government would give you $700 a month in Social Security and you’d hope the price of cat food doesn’t go up, because you’re not giving up your babies.

That’s probably not a viable plan now. Most of us would need at least $800 a month. And don’t blame it on the guy who paid you all those years as he sits on a giant pile of money he’ll never use and sees you shopping at the dollar store and shakes his head in disgust. After all he gave you a job and paid you a little above minimum wage. He’s a saint, by God.

michael.thomasonadvocatea

nddemocrat.com | 337-7101

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