America Saves Blog

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

What is a Roth IRA Anyways?

Written by Super User · 27 March 2012

March 27, 2012

By Katie Bryan, America Saves communications manager

 

Today America Saves joins over 130 bloggers in the #RothIRAMovement. Our friend Jeff Ross at Good Financial Cents organized this little event after he gave some tips on saving at his alma mater and found that not one person had heard of the Roth IRA.

Saving for retirement was #4 on the 2011 list of Top America Saves Saver Goals. Many Americans can save for retirement through an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan. Unfortunately, many do not have access to these types of accounts.

The good news is even if your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, you can still save for retirement, and get some tax benefits in the process, by putting money in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Who qualifies to make IRA contributions?

Anyone who earns income (or receives alimony) can put money in an IRA. Couples can also put money in an IRA for a non-working spouse.

Each person can put up to $5,000 in an IRA if you are age 49 or below and up to $6,000 if you are age 50 or above for the 2011 tax year, so long as your contributions do not exceed your earned income. Each year, you have until the April 15 tax filing deadline to make your IRA payment for the previous tax year. (This means you still have time to contribute!)

There are two main types of IRA – traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. In addition, those who are self-employed can put money in a SEP-IRA. Each has its own set of rules and offers different tax benefits.

ROTH IRAs Offer Tax-Free Withdrawals

Spring Cleaning

Written by Super User · 26 March 2012

March 26, 2012

By Katie Bryan, America Saves communications manager

It’s Cherry Blossom season here in DC, which lets me know that Spring has arrived. The weather is getting warmer and my winter coats are getting used less and less. It’s almost time to pack away all my scarves, hats, and coats in order to make room for baseball and soccer gear. It’s also a good time to do some spring cleaning of our finances.

Back in January we wrote a couple of articles about resolutions: Including one on sticking to resolutions and one on increasing your retirement savings by 1%.  Well, it’s been three months since we made our resolutions and it’s time to take a look at how we are doing. You may find yourself in one of these situations:

Young Illinois Saves Leader Listening Session Video

Written by Super User · 22 March 2012

March 22, 2012

In November, 2011 Young Illinois Saves was featured at the President’s Financial Capability Advisory Council Listening Session in Chicago.

The event at Michelle Clark High School was attended by more than 100 civic and educational leaders including Council Chairmen John Rogers, CEO of Ariel Investments and council member and Beth Kobliner, national financial journalist. These civic and educational leaders had the opportunity to see the peer based program that generates positive savings behavior led by Young Illinois Saves.

Below is video of teen leaders teaching others about saving at the event.

2011 Top America Saves Saver Goals

Written by Super User · 21 March 2012

March 21, 2012

By Katie Bryan, America Saves communications manager

A recent study found that having a savings plan has beneficial financial effects, even for lower-income families. No matter what you are saving for we want to help you reach your goals. When you join America Saves we ask you to choose a goal, an amount to save towards that goal, and the number of months you want to save for.

In 2011, America Saves Savers top goals included:

  1. Emergency Fund
  2. Education
  3. Debt Repayment
  4. Retirement
  5. Investment Savings
  6. Motor Vehicle

So what are you waiting for? Choose your goal and make your savings plan today by becoming an America Saves saver.

Take our Facebook poll to let us know your saving goal.

The Importance of Building a Nest Egg

Written by Super User · 14 March 2012

March 14, 2012

By George Tanaka
Senior Vice President, Retail Specialized Markets Division
Union Bank, N.A.

Tanaka

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.

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Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 11, 2014

    Save your loose change. Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund. http://ow.ly/sj972 

Saver Stories View all »

Getting Out of Debt

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

In 2004, Tonya Shelton was facing financial ruin. Barely making more than minimum wage and having lost her home to an unexpected family crisis, Shelton and her family were forced to live in a rundown hotel.

Read more...

Inspired to Build Savings By Starting Small

Written by Great Lakes Michigan Saves | April 19, 2016

With little-to-no money in the bank and living on a limited income with her adult daughter, Sharon wasn’t sure if building up savings for her future was even possible. “At my age, to put debts behind me would be a relief,” she said, but she wasn’t quite sure how to even get started with a savings plan. That all changed when Sharon attended the Great Lakes Michigan Saves Pay Yourself First Saver’s Summit during America Saves Week.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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