The overworked and stressed out United States of America doesn’t seem to be taking a vacation any time soon, and the reasons why might hit a little close to home for you.
According to a recent survey at Bankrate.com, the numbers show “that just 52 percent of Americans are planning to take a summer vacation. More than a quarter (26 percent) are not planning any summer travel and another 22 percent are still on the fence.” Those numbers seem a little grim for a national culture that tells us all that life is good and summer vacations are essentially mandatory. Life, on the other hand, shows us that just to keep up with our long term goals and day to day expenses, we might need to spend more time clocking in and less time clocking out. The article continues to point out that “Among those respondents who can’t afford to take a vacation, the two most common inhibiting factors are day-to-day bills (44 percent) and paying down debt (22 percent.)”
The next question says more about our mental state than our financial state; why aren’t more Americans taking advantage of their paid days off? The same results show that “Just 38 percent of respondents who receive paid vacation days plan to use them all. Six percent of workers won’t use any of their paid time off and another 5 percent will use less than a quarter. Among those who have paid vacation, only 59 percent plan to use more than half of it.”
So what should we take out of this whole situation? We have to ask what is necessary and what isn’t necessary and be honest about our current living situation and long term goals. The truth of the matter is that some people can’t and shouldn’t take a vacation because they cannot put the additional financial burden on themselves. Secondly, we have to understand that the longer we put off paying off debt, the less we save and invest and the bigger of the financial hole we are putting ourselves in later.
Should some people take a vacation? Absolutely, it is good for your mood and good for your soul, and returning to work will mean you’re more relaxed and willing to think productively since you’ve spent some time away from the office. Still, budgeting well in advance and making sure you will not develop debt as a result of a vacation is also a priority. So sit down, look at the numbers, and see whether or not a vacation this summer is doable or if you need to prepare for that fun in the sun some other time.