by Christy Bieber | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Nov. 10, 2019
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Are you focusing more on your favorite fictional characters than your financial security? Here's why that needs to change.
Time is a valuable commodity because you only have so much of it. Unfortunately, many Americans aren't allocating their time very wisely. In fact, recent research from The Ascent revealed that we're spending far too little time on something that really matters -- managing our financial lives -- even as we devote hours to TV watching.
While binge-watching the latest releases may be a lot more fun, failing to invest enough time in managing your money can have far-reaching consequences. In fact there are lots of reasons why it's important to hit pause so you can spend a little more time handling your financial affairs.
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The Ascent's research revealed that the average American spends more than 85 hours monthly watching television. Among those who engage in TV watching, the average time tuned in is about 3 hours 38 minutes a day, while the overall average among all Americans is 2 hours 50 minutes of daily television viewing.
When it comes to managing money, though, time spent is measured in minutes. The average time spent on financial management among people who engage in the activity is just 52 minutes per day while the average total time spent on money management among all Americans is one minute and 48 seconds per day.
If we add in the amount of time people spend using professional and financial services, it comes to an average of two minutes and 24 seconds per day.
This means that while we're logging hours on Keeping Up With the Kardashians or checking out the latest politically incorrect comedy specials, we're only spending a fraction of that time on money management.
The Ascent's research revealed that two minutes and 24 seconds isn't enough for most Americans to manage their money successfully. Close to half of all Americans don't know how much to spend vs. how much to save, and more than half of all Americans have fallen a long way short of having an emergency fund that's the recommended size.
Spending more time on money management is clearly called for, but the exact amount of time is going to depend on your situation. The key, however, is to do all of the essential tasks needed to get your financial life in order. Some of the tasks you should be doing monthly include:
Doing all of these things will likely take more than the hour and 12 minutes that the average American is currently spending on financial management each month. But each of these tasks is vitally important and will have a far greater impact on your life than the latest can't-miss show you're currently streaming.
While there's no need to give up your TV habit, you do need to make sure you're spending enough time to get your finances under control. Set aside a few hours each month to do the things on this list and join the minority of Americans who are devoting the necessary time and energy to creating a more secure financial future.
Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. The Ascent's picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 8x the national average savings account rate.
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