Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
March 14, 2012
By George Tanaka
Senior Vice President, Retail Specialized Markets Division
Union Bank, N.A.
Whether they would like to set money aside for a down payment on a home, build an emergency fund or save for retirement, many of our clients are interested in ways to save and create a nest egg for the future.
Financial advisors agree that saving should be a part of every household budget. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t prepared for financial emergencies and are not saving enough for retirement. Like most skills, saving money gets easier with commitment and practice. Just as an artist hones his skill to master an art, consumers can develop their skills and creativity to master the art of saving.
By identifying your savings goals, creating a plan and reviewing it periodically to determine if any modifications are needed, you can start on the road to savings. Consider these tips:
- Assess your spending. When creating a savings plan, it is important tomake sure you are spending less than you earn. Start by looking at exactly how you spend your money; carefully track your spending for one or more months to see precisely where your money is going. Many people are surprised to see how, for example, the cost of a daily cup of coffee adds up, or the budget effects of regularly dining out. Once you have a handle on how you are actually spending, it may be easier to identify specific areas where you can cut back.
- Open a savings account. Establishing a savings account and contributing to it regularly will help promote savings. Almost all financial institutions allow account holders to set up automatic weekly or monthly funds transfers from their checking to their savings account. This method of saving allows savings to grow, even if you don’t take further action, and helps you approach savings as a “bill” that must be regularly paid.
March 7, 2012
By Kristina Wedseltoft, America Saves Intern
Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the Top 10 Complaint Categories for 2011, with identity theft ranking first for the 12th consecutive year. Of the 1.8 million complaints filed with the FTC in 2011, roughly 15% were identity theft complaints. The FTC maintains an online secure database called the Consumer Sentinel that it enters the complaints into. These are then accessible to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the US and abroad, helping identify victims, research cases and track targets. To learn more about how you can protect yourself against identity theft visit www.IDTheftInfo.org
David Vladeck, Director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protections said the “Consumer Sentinel Network is an incredibly powerful tool for law enforcers who are working to protect consumers and go after the bad guys”.
Following identity theft, the list of complaints in the top 10 included:
- Debt Collections with a complaint rate of about 10% of respondents
- Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries with 6% of respondents
- Internet Services with 5% of respondents
- Imposter scams with 4% of respondents
- Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair with 3% of respondents
You can find the complete list of all 30 complaint categories and the Press release for the Top 10 Complaint Categories here. If you would like to file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).