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Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.

Put Your Money Where It Belongs – Working for You

Written by Super User · 24 February 2012

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 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

Written by Super User · 23 February 2012

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.

Visit America Saves on Facebook and Twitter.

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 13, 2014

    Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours. Acting on this principle will mean you have far fewer regrets about impulse purchases, and far more money for emergency savings.

Saver Stories View all »

The Gift of Homeownership

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | August 5, 2015

Quaneka Willis, a single mother of three children, was receiving rental assistance through the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee when she decided to take control of her finances. So, in September of 2013 she attended the Make Your Money Talk program and pledged as a Wisconsin Saver. In less than 12 months, she had maximized her savings and was beginning the process of purchasing her first home.


Saving Early: Key to Successful Future

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

For Johnnie Lovett, a Young Illinois Saver, saving has been a habit since he was a teenager. “As a teenager, I was responsible for buying certain things with my allowance,”


Starting and Continuing a Personal Finance Journey

Written by Sara Cooper | December 23, 2013

When Kiara Hardin, now a junior at Western Illinois University, became an intern with the Chicago Summer Business Institute during her sophomore year of high school, she began her personal finance journey. The program required participants to open a savings account.


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