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Is Your FOMO Making You Broke?

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Have you ever joined friends for a round of drinks, even though you couldn’t really afford the tab? Or splurged on concert tickets with your pals—but had to foot the bill with plastic? If you answered yes, you’re hardly alone.

A new survey by GoBankingRates found that 67 percent of Millennials have gone out and spent money socially even though they couldn’t afford the expense. The price point where financial reality seems to win out over FOMO? According to respondents, $50. But for splurges less than that, it seems, most of us would rather lean on our credit card and accumulate debt than skip the night out with friends.

Optimism may be partly to blame, says Kristen Bonner, lead researcher on the survey. “When we asked respondents why they were comfortable being financially strained in order to socialize, the top answer was that they expected to make more money in the future,” she says. “That positive outlook is great—Millennials think they’ll make more, they’re striving for raises and promotions—but it’s not something that can be relied on.”

Of course, there’s a middle ground between going all-in on a social event and staying home solo. But steering your friends toward more affordable plans demands speaking up and being vulnerable about our finances—something that doesn’t come naturally for most people, says Cathy Derus, CPA, a financial planner and founder of Brightwater Financial

“You don’t have to share all of your financial details about how much you make or how big your student loans are to have a real conversation,” she says. “But tell your friends that you’re saving for XYZ—maybe a bigger apartment or to pay down that car loan.” Then the next time friends start brainstorming plans, have a few low-cost alternatives in mind, like a potluck at your place or a free music series in the park you’ve been meaning to check out. Odds are strong that you’re not the only one whose budget would benefit from a night of BYOB.

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ATM Fees Reach a New Record High
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You have good reason to flinch every time you withdraw cash from an out-of-network ATM. The cash machine operator and the bank each hit you with a separate fee for these withdrawals, and both types set record highs this year, according to a new Bankrate survey.

In Phoenix and Atlanta, grabbing cash from an out-of-network ATM will set you back more than $5. But even the cheapest metro area isn’t actually much less expensive: In San Francisco, the average fees are now $3.90. “The national average is $4.57, which means stopping at an out-of-network ATM for $20 will cost nearly 23 percent in fees,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate's senior vice president and chief financial analyst.

To skirt the fees, stay in network. Virtually any bank will let you withdraw money from its own ATMs, of course. But if you want easy, low-cost access to more cash machines, ask your bank if they participate in a larger ATM network. Some do, to provide their customers with more widespread access.

While ATM fees climbed higher in 2016, one type of bank fee actually broke its 17-year streak of increases: overdraft fees. The average is now $33.07 (yikes!), but that's 0.1 percent below last year’s average. It’s probably too soon to celebrate the downward trend, says McBride. Overdraft fee increases still outnumbered decreases by 5 to 1 in the national survey.

McBride’s best advice for avoiding the hefty penalty? “Sign up for email and text alerts that let you know when your balance is getting low, so you can proactively move money into the account,” he says. “And keep tabs on your available account balance through online and mobile banking—particularly before initiating transactions.”

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Which State Has the Most Millennials Still Living at Home?
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Escaping your parents’ home doesn’t seem to have quite the same urgency it once did. According to Time, recent Census data indicates that a substantial number of Millennials—typically considered to be those 18 to 34 years of age—are choosing to remain in their childhood residences, with one state in particular crowding out the rest.

The winner? New Jersey, which has just under 47 percent of that demographic living at home. Eastern state neighbors New York and Connecticut each have roughly 40 percent choosing to stay in the nest, a significant spike from the national average of around 33 percent. That’s up from 23 percent in 2000. (The state with the lowest percentage of Millennials rooming with their 'rents? North Dakota, with just 14.1 percent.)

It can be difficult to extrapolate why some states have more clingy kids than others. The price of real estate might be one explanation (rent is much more expensive in New Jersey and New York than it is out West); the trend of Millennials getting married later in life might be another. Without the need for their own mortgage, utility bills, and consumer spending, it’s possible that the homebodies may even be contributing to an economic downturn.

Then again, who can resist free laundry? “There’s the comfort of someone to help you out at all times,” college student Irsia Khan told USAToday.com in June 2016. “Having your meals ready and your laundry done for you takes the load off on the rest of the things you go through in college.”

[h/t Time]

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