What are you worth today? What will you be worth in the future?
America Saves "Personal Wealth Estimator" is a two-part financial calculator. In the first part, you can determine your current net worth. If you wish, you can then proceed to the second part of the Estimator to determine your future net worth, based on assumptions that you make about additional savings, interest rates, rates of return, and other factors.
PLEASE READ THIS: Keep in mind that the Estimator is just that. Unknowable stock yields and other variable factors mean that future net worth calculations are only estimates.
PART 1: ESTIMATING YOUR CURRENT NET WORTH
Please supply the following information in order to estimate your current net worth:
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Retirement savings is a top priority for many Savers. Saving now for retirement will ensure that you have enough money to enjoy a comfortable standard of living when you stop or reduce the amount of hours you work.
You may be able to save for retirement at your workplace through a 401(k) plan. These accounts have many benefits including direct deposit from your paycheck, which automates the savings process and may include matching funds. Unfortunately, many do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan. Learn more about saving at work though a 401(k) plan. Even if your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, you can still save for retirement, by putting money in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Learn more about saving outside of work through an IRA.
Keep in mind that slow and steady wins this race. Even modest monthly contributions to a retirement account for 30 to 40 years can, in part because of the miracle of compound interest, easily lead to an accumulation of several hundred thousand dollars.
The following pages will help you determine which retirement plans work for you and how to best take advantage of them.
- Saving at Work through a 401(k) Plan
- Saving Outside of Work through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
- The Miracle of Compound Interest
Nearly a quarter of savers who take the America Saves pledge chose “emergency savings” as their first wealth-building goal. And they have the right idea. Research shows that low-income families with at least $500 in an emergency fund were better off financially than moderate-income families with less than this amount. Yet most Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected emergency.
What is an emergency savings fund?
An emergency savings fund consists of at least $500, usually in a savings account that you do not have easy access to. Saving for this fund starts with small, regularly scheduled automatic contributions that build up over time.
Why should you start saving for emergencies?
Maintaining an emergency savings account may be the most important difference between those who manage to stay afloat and those who sink in debt. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that you can afford to pay unexpected expenses. That’s because keeping $500 to $1,000 of savings for emergencies can allow you to easily meet unexpected financial challenges such as repairing the brakes on your car or replacing a broken window in your house.
Not having emergency savings is one of the reasons many individuals borrow too much money, resort to high-cost loans, or increase their credit card balances to high levels.
How should you build your emergency savings?
The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. This is how millions of Americans save. Your bank or credit union can help you set up automatic savings by transferring a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings account. Learn more about saving automatically.
Where should you keep your emergency savings?
It’s usually best to keep emergency savings in a bank or credit union savings account. These types of accounts offer easier access to your money than certificates of deposit, U.S. Savings Bonds, or mutual funds. Though these are useful tools for long-term saving, they are not ideal for an emergency fund that you may need access to more quickly. But not too quickly! Keeping your money in a savings account makes it much less likely that you will use these savings to pay for everyday, non-emergency expenses. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s why it is usually a mistake to keep your emergency fund in a checking account.
Your local America Saves campaign can help you find a participating financial institution that offers low- or no-minimum balance savings accounts.
How can you get started?
Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully. This includes setting a goal to build an emergency fund and deciding how much you want to save each month. This is where we come in. If you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself to save, take the America Saves pledge to save money, build wealth, and reduce debt. We’ll keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your goal to build an emergency fund.
How can you find money to save for emergencies?
There are many places to find money to save. Get started by checking out our resources on how to save money.
How can those who currently aren’t saving afford to save money? And how can those saving only a little save more? Here are our top ten tips for saving money when budgets are tight.
1. Find small savings that add up to big savings over time
Keep a careful record of all of your spending for a month. You may be surprised to learn how much you are spending on dining out or impulse purchases. One method is to save all your bills and receipts over the month and stack them into categories like “utilities” and “groceries.”
2: Comparison shop to find the lowest prices
When you compare prices at different stores before making a purchase, you can often find lower prices for necessary purchases — such as food, transportation, and insurance— leaving you more money to save. Bonus tip: Take a list with you to the grocery store and stick to it. This will help you from buying items you don’t need.
3: Limit spending on gifts.
Limit spending for birthdays and holidays, especially Christmas. Friends and family are more likely to appreciate a few well-chosen gifts than a more costly pile of gifts chosen thoughtlessly in a shopping mall spree.
4: Put all your loose change in a savings account.
For many people, that could add up to well over $100 a year.
5: Ask your bank or credit union to automatically transfer funds each month from your checking to your savings account.
The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. Even as little as $10 or $15 a month helps. After all, that’s $120 or $180 a year. Learn more about saving automatically here.
6: Build an emergency fund to avoid having to take out loans to pay for unexpected purchases.
Emergency savings are usually best kept in a savings or share account, despite the low interest rates these accounts pay, because they are easy to access when you need it. Remember, keep a high enough balance in the account to avoid monthly fees. Learn more about saving for emergencies here.
7: Avoid using high-interest credit card and payday loans.
Payday loans typically charge interest rates of 500 percent, and the interest rate on credit card debts can run 25 percent. You can save hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars a year by paying off these high-cost debts. Learn more about how to get out of debt.
8: See if you qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit.
Many low- and moderate-income workers qualify, each year, for an Earned Income Tax Credit that can be over $1,000, and often more than $2,000. IRS Publication 596 explains how to apply, or you can contact your local tax payer assistance center for in-person help. Then pay down debt and save with at least half of the money you receive from this credit.
9: Participate in a local Investment Development Account (IDA) program.
In return for attending financial education sessions and agreeing to save for a home, education, or business, you typically receive $2 for every $1 you save through an IDA program. So, saving $25 each month could end up as $900 at the end of a year. Find an IDA program near you.
10: Take advantage of any matches to retirement savings contributions that your employer offers.
Some employers match up to 100 percent of your contributions. If you’re not contributing up to their match, you’re leaving money on the table. Learn more about saving for retirement at work or on your own.
Looking for more savings tips? Here are over 50 additional tips for reducing spending and increasing savings.
Are you ready to make a commitment to save money or pay down debt?
Take the America Saves Pledge to receive emails, text messages, and savings challenges to support and motivate you to save or pay down debt. Consider us your personal savings system. And the best part is it’s completely free.
1. Pague las deudas de alto costo. La mejor inversión que la mayoría de las personas que toman dinero prestado pueden hacer es pagar las deudas que incurren como consumidores por las cuales están pagando intereses de doble dígito. Por ejemplo, si usted tiene un balance pendiente de $3,000 en una tarjeta de crédito con un interés de 19.8%, y paga el mínimo del 2% requerido del balance ó $15, cualquier cantidad que sea mayor, a usted le tomará unos 39 años saldar ese préstamo. En efecto, usted pagará más de $10,000 en cargos de intereses.
2. Compre una casa y salde la hipoteca antes de jubilarse. El activo más grande de la mayoría de las familias de clase media es el valor líquido de su propiedad. Una vez que estas familias hayan hecho el último pago de su hipoteca, tienen muchos menos gastos relacionados con la vivienda. También tiene un activo del cual se puede tomar prestado para emergencias o convertirlo en dinero en efectivo por medio de la venta de su hogar.
3. Participe en un programa para la jubilación relacionado a su trabajo. Muchos empleados no aprovechan recibir dinero gratis de parte de su empleador al no participar en un plan para la jubilación relacionado a su empleo, tal como el plan 401 (k). Si participaran en este programa, con la oportunidad de invertir para su retiro, es muy probable que recibieran una ganancia de su inversión. Para más detalles, consulte con su empleador.
4. Fuera de su empleo, ahorre mensualmente a través de una transferencia automática de la cuenta de cheques a la de ahorros. Estos ahorros proveerán fondos para emergencias, la compra de una casa, costos de educación, o quizás el retiro. Casi todas las instituciones bancarias, si se les pide, transferirán fondos mensualmente de su cuenta de cheques a su cuenta de ahorros, Bonos de los Estados Unidos, o acciones de la bolsa o fondos mutuos. Páguese a sí mismo primero utilizando el servicio de transferencia automática, y verá cómo sus ahorros se multiplican.
5. Ahorre para Casos de Emergencia - El tener ahorrado un fondo de emergencia pudiese ser la diferencia más importante entre aquellos que se mantienen a flote y quienes tienen graves problemas financieros. Sin un fondo de emergencia, es posible que sienta necesidad de recurrir al uso de tarjetas de crédito de alto costo o préstamos del día de pago para cubrir la cantidad que debe. El tomar dinero prestado de estos tipos de prestamistas pudiera dificultarle a usted el pagar su deuda y ahorrar dinero exitosamente.