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Study Says Many Are Living Beyond Their Means

Sound familiar.   Living Higher on the Hog in Michigan than what we should have put many in the state in a precarious position that could have negative impact on the state’s economic future. A new Michigan State University study on household financial conditions says too many of us are relying on debt to sustain lifestyles enjoyed when we made more money.

Data from several household surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010 found that, although 67 percent of Michigan residents have budget plans, 81 percent don’t adjust those budgets when their income falls. One small Web-based survey conducted between June 2009 and April 2010 found 40 percent of Michigan households had at least one person who had lost a job or taken a pay cut in the previous six months. No money? We’ll just borrow more M-live

According to the study, Michigan has gone from having an  income that was eight percent above the national average in 2001 to eight percent below the national average in 2009.  Instead of cutting expenses, many have dipped into retirement funds and using plastic to maintain the status quo.  A good idea?  Not on your life!

“This conversation has to start a lot earlier,” MSU Economist Lisa Cook said. “We need to have this education because debt has gotten out of hand.”

James McTevia, a Detroit-area corporate turnaround specialist and author, agrees. But he says it may be too late for the current generation of adults to change its spendthrift ways. “The only way to change the culture of debt is by educating a younger segment of our society” to not spend money it does not have, said McTevia, author of “The Culture of Debt, How a Once-Proud Society Mortgaged Its Future.” M-live

It’s too easy to pull out that credit card and enjoy now what you will have to pay for later.  But if the whole state is doing that, it will make Michigan’s climb from the economic basement that much harder.

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