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Effective Personal Finance Management and Planning

stacks of money
In a post-pandemic world, financial priorities are changing. Over half of Americans say having a rainy day fund in place is more important to them right now, according to a survey by Personal Capital. As the world moves on from a global pandemic, the need for better personal financial management and financial literacy has come to light, and it is no different for those living in Clinton, Mississippi. While the city of Clinton has been in the headlines recently for being named one of the safest cities in Mississippi, not much has been published about the state of the average person’s finances or how that has changed in the last 2 years. Yet, as inflation soars, house prices continue their historic rise and Clinton residents experience frustrations with the unemployment system, there is no denying that the snapshot of an average person’s finances is looking decidedly different.
Saving Remains A Challenge As Restrictions Lift
While personal savings spiked during the pandemic, a notable shift in personal finances recently has been increased spending. Consumer data published by Marketplace showed that consumers are back to saving less and personal savings rates dropped to 6.9 percent at the end of 2021. While the pandemic and remote working have positively influenced the personal savings rate, this continues to hide a deeper issue for most Americans- inequality in income distribution for those living paycheck to paycheck. The good news is that there is now more assistance available to those living in Clinton in the form of credit counseling and financial education programs. On the private front, consumers can now easily access an instant 200 loan or instantaneous credit card approval online to help with emergency costs. However, Clinton residents can also benefit from the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Critical Financial Assistance by Operation Homefront, and Debt Management Plan Counseling by Cambridge Credit Counseling Corps.
Clinton Residents Feel The Squeeze With Increasing Cost Of Living Prices
In Clinton, the cost of living spiked 1.2 percent in 2022. While it remains 4 percent below the national average, Clinton’s cost of living is still 10 percent higher than the state average for Mississippi. At the same time, the local job market has grown by 1 percent and the median household income is now $60,161. While both are higher than the national averages, the increasing costs are still presenting a financial challenge for consumers, particularly when it comes to real estate.  For those looking to become homeowners in Clinton, this was even more apparent as real estate firm Redfin reports that the average sale price of a home was $230,000, an 18.3 percent jump.
Lower Cost Of Retirement Paints A Better Picture For Retirees
On a brighter note, residents of Clinton are more hopeful for their retirement plans, thanks to Mississippi being one of the lowest-cost retirement states. The annual cost of living in Mississippi is $40,489.73- or $23,169.27 after incorporating Social Security retirement benefits. For those trying to budget for retirement, this amounts to $557,821, the lowest amount in the U.S. This number is also dependent on the kind of lifestyle and frugality you adopt in your retirement years. With the lowest retirement income required to live comfortably, the chances of being financially prepared for life after work is improved for Clinton residents.
The key takeaway to note is that there are resources to help the average person in Clinton stay on top of their personal finances. While a snapshot of their finances may look decidedly different from 2 years ago, the core issues remain: saving more, combating the rising cost of living, and preparing for the cost of retirement.

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