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Have you ever been broke? Don’t worry—you’re not alone.

Have you ever been broke? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. Find out why there is such financial dysfunction among so many Americans.

Agnes Kowalski, a wealth therapist at Agnes Kowalski Inc., in Ajax, Ariz., has come a long way after years of being perilously close to running out of money—thanks to her own toxic financial habits.

“In my 30’s, I found myself maxed out on credit cards, in debt and never making enough to cover my cost of living – always living beyond my means,” says Kowalski. “As a therapist, I knew this had roots in the subconscious, I simply didn’t feel worthy of more. It wasn’t until I did the deeper work that I was able to start making six figures and saving it, buy a house and support my family.” Kowalski is hardly alone.

A new study from CreditLoan.com shows that 86% of Americans say they’ve been broke in the past or are currently broke. Yet, according to the report, despite not wanting to live a penniless lifestyle, almost none of the 1,000 survey respondents were willing to cancel their cell phone or Internet plan to save money.

Why the financial dysfunction among so many Americans? And how did so many people wind up in a “penniless lifestyle” in the first place?

“We live in an instant gratification driven world right now, so if people want something, they don’t hesitate to buy it,” Kowalski says. “People also rarely handle actual physical money, which creates a disconnect… it’s easier to spend money you can’t see.”

“It’s also a matter of people buying into the “YOLO” (you only live once) mindset because it’s a way to cope with the stress and anxiety of everyday life,” she adds. “Even an improving economy isn’t going to make people so much happier that they’ll start being more conscious about their relationship to themselves or to money.”

A big part of the penniless lifestyle problem is a widespread inattention about money and budgeting among U.S. adults, experts say.

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