“So, did you get your stimulus check yet?” That’s what my mother asked me multiple times last week, and I was super annoyed by it. I got my check as of April 15, 2020. Sure, it’s free money or the equivalent of an extra paycheck. I have to say I’m not thrilled with these government issue checks for many reasons. It may feel right now, but the long-term consequences will be far worse. Although it’s not what I’ll be diving into this post, I do want to go over some background behind these worthless checks.
Government issue checks: What’s behind these stimulus checks?
As we all know by now, these stimulus checks were issued as a result of the recent economic fallout- NOT due to, but in spite of COVID-19. I’ve mentioned before that the economy was a house of cards for the last several years. Nearly a month ago, Congress passed the CARES Act. This bill includes individual stimulus checks, small business loans, corporate bailouts, and much more. It’s a bloated piece of legislation that wasn’t read over carefully. But it’s what I expected to happen during a so-called “crisis.” It may help out in the short-term, but as I mentioned earlier, the long-term consequences will be far much more detrimental for most Americans.
I won’t go over the thresholds on who’s eligible or not. But if you’re someone like me who currently makes less than $75,000 per year, you likely received a stimulus check for $1200. Many Americans have received them, while others are still waiting to receive their check. It’s a mess between the US Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) distributing these checks. There are many people financially struggling right now who still haven’t received their payments, which shows problems on both sides. Not only are there problems with the government, but also for individuals with financial issues.
This issue brings me to my next point: what are Americans doing with those greasy government checks? For the most part, they’re already spending it on unnecessary things. Instead of spending it immediately, isn’t it best to save it or invest it into something meaningful? For the remainder of this post, I will dive more into questions along with what I believe you should be doing with your stimulus check. These points include:
1.) How are Americans spending their checks?
2.) Spending vs. Investing: Which one is better?
3.) What else could they be doing?
4.) What am I doing with my stimulus check?
Government issue checks:
How are Americans spending them?
Within the first few days of Americans receiving their stimulus checks, they were already spending it immediately. In a survey reported by CNBC, around 16% was spent on food, 9% went toward groceries, and 10% went toward gas. The following chart breaks down the numbers of how people are spending their money. While many people will use it to pay for food and expenses, there isn’t much talk about saving or investing their money elsewhere.
Americans have a spending problem: It’s not a new phenomenon
For years, Americans have been terrible with spending their money. Even before this COVID-19 outbreak, Americans were struggling to make ends meet regardless of the current circumstances. Even in a “booming” economy before the pandemic, a large number of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. So clearly, this issue didn’t develop overnight. It took years for this issue to build up, and now, many people are at risk and more vulnerable than ever.
What else could they be doing with those checks?
In the short-term, I get the point that people should spend their money on food and paying bills. That’s all fine and dandy, but what else could you do with it? The best thing to do is not to spend it immediately. Why not save a portion of it toward expenses for the next one-two months? You never know what could happen in the next few weeks. Will you get the virus and go to the ER? Well, put some of that money aside to pay for health care bills.
Save for the unexpected (or invest it in precious metals)
When somebody is handed free money, it’s a good feeling (believe me, I’ve felt that way too). But you have to overcome the instinct of wanting to spend it right away. A rational human being would save for unexpected expenses or even invest it in real money. With these government checks being worthless in the long-run, it’s better to turn that fake money into real money (such as gold and silver). I consider myself a gold investor, so if you want to protect your wealth long-term, buying gold can be the best approach to fighting future inflation. Or even worse- hyperinflation, should the Federal Reserve continue it’s insane, massive money-printing indefinitely.
Spending vs. Investing: Which one is better?
When it comes to spending money, Americans are incredibly skilled at practicing it. I know that sounds sarcastic, but unfortunately, it’s true. The idea that we should spend and regularly consume to keep a healthy economy is nonsense. Endless spending will always lead to short-term and long-term consequences (i.e., bankruptcy). Once you spend away from your cash, it’s gone. Here are simple financial tips to keep in mind. If you live by these tips, you never have to reread a personal finance book:
Spend less than you make
Save and invest your money in things you understand
If you’re struggling with number 2- INVEST IN YOU
Investing in yourself: Your best return on investment (ROI)
Everyone can spend and save their money; however, we may never reach our true potential by doing that alone. I’m all for saving money when it’s necessary. But if you want to improve and build a better future for yourself, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do until the day you die. In regards to your stimulus check, use some portion of that money to learn new skills, and eventually grow your wealth.
Think of the possibilities of investing in yourself
Spending your money is one thing, but you can never get it back (most of the time). But when you invest in yourself (or starting your own business), you’re taking risks but better chances of growing your wealth.
So why not invest your $1200 to make it even more money?
- Invest it and learn how to make $1200 per day.
- Or go further and turn $1200 into $12,000 per month!
- Or if you’re thinking bigger, turn that $1200 into 120,000 per year! I could go on and on, but the possibilities are endless. This idea of investing is something many Americans don’t understand well, and we need to expose this idea more than ever.
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What am I doing with my stimulus check?
So I got my $1200 check deposited in my bank account nearly a week ago. Although I don’t need it, and rather than sending it back to the Fed, I’m making the most out of my free money. So here’s a breakdown of how I’m using the $1200:
$50- Personal (groceries/household)
$150- Living expenses
So I ask myself: How will I turn $1000 into $10,000?
Based on where I’m at, that’s a great start, and I’ll move up from there. But these are questions people have to start asking themselves in regards to building wealth.
Sadly, I’m afraid this layout is what most Americans will not do with their stimulus checks. 99% of society will spend, but 1% will invest their money and grow their wealth. I think that’s a significant difference to point out between those who thrive and those who fail.
So, what should I do?
If you’re still reading this, you may be saying, “Well, Eric, what do you want me to with this check?” I’m not somebody who will dictate how you’re supposed to use your money. But as I mentioned earlier, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do right now. If you want to start a side hustle or a business, excellent! It doesn’t require much money to startup, and it’s easier than it ever has been to start an online business.
So it’s up to you what you want to do with the stimulus check. Do you want to buy a flat-screen TV at Walmart? Or, do you want to invest in yourself for a better future? That’s up to you to figure out. The decisions you make today will determine what kind of future you have tomorrow.
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So what are you waiting for? Do something good with that free check you received. Make the decision today to live a more abundant, happier, fulfilling life than you are now.
What are your thoughts? What will you do with your stimulus check?
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