Tales From a First Year Saver or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Bank Account. Part II
February 29, 2012
By: Sean Naron, Consumer Federation of America advocacy associate
As a first year saver I quickly learned to rely on a few tricks to stretch my paycheck here and there so I was able to build towards my goals without sacrificing all forms of fun. Last week, I discussed the difficulties of dealing with the disappearing paycheck and how to make sure start saving. That’s the easy part. It is much harder to consistently build your savings without dipping into it. So here are some more lessons I’ve learned and tricks that I use to get the most out of what I’ve got:
Lesson 3: Goals are important and necessary. Start small, and visualize.
- It’s so hard to take a good portion of your money and put it away for something abstract. Without a clear goal in mind, or one really far off, you will be much more likely to dip into your savings and rationalize that you’ll pay that amount back before you really need it. First of all, that makes it very hard to reach that goal. Secondly, let’s be honest, you probably won’t pay it back, at least any time soon.
America Saves Week 2012 Wrap-Up
February 27, 2012
By Kristina Wedseltoft, America Saves Intern
America Saves Week 2012 was a huge success! We had over 800 organizations participate reaching millions of Americans across the country. But just because the week is over doesn’t mean it’s time to stop saving. You should be saving year round to reach your savings goal, and remember, aim for a specific savings goal because those who do typically save more successfully. It’s important to keep your savings goal in mind throughout the year, so try writing it down and placing it somewhere you won’t be able to miss it. In case you missed any part of the week, here are a few articles highlighting America Saves Week and the importance of saving. Even though the Week is over, you can still join America Saves and receive the amazing benefits such as a free subscription to our quarterly newsletter, access to our members-only savers tracking tool and so much more! Start small. Think big. And join America Saves today.
Top 5 Articles
Why You're Supposed to Be Extra Focused on Saving Money This Week
Savings made simple with seven easy tips
On Your Mark, Get Set, Save!
Take 'America Saves Week' to Heart
by Jason Alderman (Huffington Post)
Buy a house, and other forced savings
Top Blogs Posts from the Week
- Five Easiest Ways to Save Money | Get Rich Slowly
- Saving Tips For America Saves Week | Savvy Sugar
- Participate in America Saves Week | Ready for Zero
- America Saves Week: America Saves on Groceries | PerkStreet Blog
- America Saves Week 2012 - February 19-26 | YoBucko
- America Saves Week & Our Spending Freeze! | Saving Dollars and Sense
Saving for a Secure Retirement
February 25, 2012
By Maliz Beams,
If you’re like most people today, you and your family face a number of significant financial obligations — food and household expenses, credit card payments, healthcare costs and college tuition bills, just to name a few. With so many competing priorities in our lives, it can be easy to lose sight of another major financial commitment down the road — your retirement.
To make matters more challenging, the responsibility of funding retirement is ours more than ever before. No matter what stage in your career, developing a holistic approach to planning and saving — both in and out of the workplace — and seeking advice, education and guidance are critical to reaching one’s retirement goals.
But we need to be doing much more. Our research also showed that a top concern for more than three-quarters (77%) of retirement plan investors is their financial security once they leave the workforce. By taking steps early on that help you save easily and automatically, you can be in a better position to retire with the financial security you expect and deserve. Here are a few things to consider:
Put Your Money Where It Belongs – Working for You
Live the America Saves Theme
February 24, 2012
By Joseph Montanaro, USAA Certified Financial Planner® Practitioner
The 2012 America Saves Campaign kicks off with America Saves Week Feb. 19-26. I often tell folks I’m living the dream, but now’s the time for you to focus on living the theme -- the 2012 campaign theme for America Saves. This year’s theme is “Set a Goal, Make a Plan, Save Automatically.” Here’s how you can do it:
Set a Goal. Whether you’re focusing on eliminating debt, building an emergency fund, or setting aside money for longer term goals like retirement, you need goals. A goal isn’t a vague idea -- it’s a specific statement of what you will accomplish. It should come with a date and a price tag. For example, “we’ll build a $1,000 emergency fund by December 1, 2012” or “by the end of the year we’ll eliminate $3,000 of our credit card debt.” Set it, but don’t forget it. Instead…
Make a Plan. Don’t over think this part. As a financial planner, I’ve designed thousands of detailed plans with clients. Some have been comprehensive plans that mapped out everything from tax strategies and portfolio weightings to complex estate planning techniques. Others were much less involved. And while a complex approach may be necessary if you’re on the verge of a life event like military retirement or separation, many times it just doesn’t need to be that complicated. Following through on our examples from above, it might just be setting up an allotment for $50 per paycheck into a new savings account that allows you to begin building your emergency fund. For debt elimination, you could identify specific expenses you’ll cut or windfalls (tax return) that will go towards eliminating debt. This simple step will put you on the path to eliminating that debt throughout the year.
Save Automatically. This is easy. Most employer plans like a 401(k) or 403(b) offer a great way to systematically set aside money for retirement, but surprisingly, only about 40 percent of those under 24 -- those who can use a big ally, time, in their race to retirement -- take advantage of this type of program. Even if you only start with one percent of your pay and bump it up with every pay raise or promotion, you’ll be on your way to what could be hundreds of thousands of reasons to save. If your employer offers a Roth version of its retirement plan consider that as a tool that offers the potential to build tax-free retirement savings. No retirement plan at work? Thousands of banks or mutual fund companies will help you set up an automatic investment plan into an IRA or Roth IRA. Are you in the savings game? If not, get set up now. If you are, consider increasing your contribution.
The first step is the hardest. Visit www.americasaves.org/join and take The Saver Pledge: “I will help myself by saving money, reducing debt, and building wealth over time. I will help my family and my country by encouraging other Americans to Build Wealth, Not Debt.” Live that theme!
This material is for informational purposes and is not investment advice, an indicator of future performance, a solicitation, an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation for any security. It should not be used as a primary basis for making investment decisions. Consider your own financial circumstances and goals carefully before investing.
Investing in securities products involves risk, including possible loss of principal.
USAA or its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based upon their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.
Examples given are hypothetical illustrations and not necessarily an indication of the benefits or features of any USAA product.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.
The Importance of Credit History and Successful Saving
February 23, 2012
By Katie Bryan, America Saves communications manager
As part of America Saves Week, America Saves and Experian have released a new resource to help people understand the importance of their credit history and how this ties into successful saving.
Good credit plays an important role in your financial life. Not only is it essential for obvious things like qualifying for a loan or getting a credit card, but also for less obvious things like getting cellular telephone service, renting a car, and perhaps even getting a job.
Managing your credit will also help you save for a rainy day. A strong credit history, reflected in good credit scores, will let you qualify for lower interest rates and fees, freeing up additional money to set aside for emergencies, retirement, and other smaller unexpected expenses. Decreasing debt and increasing savings reduces stress and leads to greater financial freedom.
The packet includes information on:
- What is a Credit Report and Score?
- Why is Saving So Important?
- How do I Start Saving?
- What Savings Options Are Available to Me?
- Why is Good Credit Management so Important?
- 5 Tips for Building Good Credit.
- Frequently Asked Credit Questions.
- FDIC Model Save Accounts.
Today for America Saves Week, download our new credit score information and assess your credit history.
Page 1 of 3«StartPrev123NextEnd»