Participate in America Saves Week and Build Yourself a Better Future
American Heritage Credit Union has partnered with America Saves to promote America Saves Week 2022! It’s never too late to start your personal savings challenge and journey towards financial wellness. #ASW2022 follows a five-day format with a different savings theme for each day. Keep reading to find the best strategies for your lifestyle.
Hands-off saving is a great way to save, because you’re building your savings in the background and not watching the numbers grow. To start saving automatically:
- Choose the amount of money you would like to automatically save each period. Putting aside even a small portion of each paycheck, as little as $10 to $50, can build substantial savings over time.
- Set up automatic savings through your employer or financial institution. To help you stick to your goals, set up direct deposit through your employer or arrange an automatic bank transfer to a savings account every time you get paid.
- Even small amounts saved over time can make a big difference. In one year, you would have saved…
|$10 per pay period
|$20 per pay period
|$30 per pay period
|$40 per pay period
|$50 per pay period
If you don’t have direct deposit or frequently handle cash, you can still save! Storing loose change or putting aside cash from each check is just as effective.
Save for the Unexpected
Unexpected events aren’t always emergencies. If saving for an emergency is intimidating or uninspiring, consider reframing your emergency fund as an “opportunity fund.” For best results, try having two separate funds for both positive unexpected events and emergencies.
Take some time to brainstorm about your savings goals, and consider the following:
- What are you saving for in the short term? (Within the next year)
- Do you want to pay down credit card debt? Go to more events or experiences?
- What are you saving for in the near future? (Within the next few years)
- Are you saving for a new car or home?
- What are you saving for in the long term? (Within your lifetime)
- Are you saving for higher education? Building your retirement fund?
By having money set aside for unexpected events, such as a friend suddenly being in town and wanting to go out to dinner, you can still stay within your budget while not missing an opportunity.
Save to Retire
Retirement may seem like a long time away for some but building the funds you’ll be living on for the rest of your post-working life is an enduring project.
The “Retirement Ready” checklist is a six-step check-in to make sure your savings habits align with the type of retirement you want to have.
- Get in the “Retirement Ready” mindset.
Start small and think big by learning about what retirement typically entails and how you can get started today. If your employer offers retirement plans or your financial institution has IRA options, research them. Speak with a trusted benefits coach or financial advisor to learn which options are the best for your current situation and future needs.
- Define what retirement will look like for you.
What kind of lifestyle do you want to have during retirement? Do you want to stop working completely, or continue to work part time or work for a personal small business? Do you want to travel or lose yourself in your hobbies? Where do you want to live? The answers to these questions will help you in the next step.
- Calculate how much you’ll need to save.
Once you have an idea of the type of retired life you’d like to live, you can estimate the annual retirement income you’ll need to sustain that lifestyle.
- Take the America Saves Pledge.
The America Saves Pledge is a simple tool that helps you formulate a plan to achieve your savings goal while offering long-term accountability and support. Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully.
- Do your homework.
Choose the types of accounts to deposit your retirement savings into. Take advantage of employer 401K or 403B plans and matched contributions up to a certain percentage. Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs let your earnings grow tax-deferred until you start making withdrawals. You may benefit more from one than the other – or a combination of both.
- Prioritize making your contributions automatically.
Retirement savings can take a lifetime, so the ability to set and forget these contributions will help you save, stress-free. Set up automatic payments with some of our tips above and watch your savings grow.
Save by Reducing Debt
Debt is one of the greatest contributors to financial stress and can even impact our physical health. By making a structured plan to reduce debt, you can work towards financial freedom.
When faced with the decision to build your savings account or pay off debt, consider this: reducing debt is saving. Every dollar you avoid paying in interest is a dollar saved. There are multiple options for paying down debt, but the follow tips are best practices:
- Avoid getting further into debt or taking on new debt. This may mean temporarily stopping use of you credit card, paying in cash, or using your debit card instead.
- Consolidate debt to obtain lower interest rates that help you pay down your balance faster.
- Rework your budget and see where you’re spending the most and see if you can reallocate funds. If money can’t be moved around, you may be overspending.
Save as a Family
Start introducing healthy money habits at a young age to introduce positive behaviors early. It’s never too late to talk about money matters, answer questions, and provide advice.
As a family, set individual and family savings goals. Then, ask the following questions to determine how to help them achieve these goals through age-appropriate activities.
- How can we save for our family goal?
- How will you save for your individual goal?
- How much does your goal cost?
- How much will you try to save each week?
- How long will it take you to save for your goal if you stay on track?
- What are changes we could make as a family to help us reach our goals?
- What are some ways we can raise money for our savings goals?
- What things can you do around the house that will save us money?
If you haven’t taken the AmericaSaves.org Pledge by now, consider taking the Pledge as a family. Hold one another accountable and share helpful resources to keep one another on track.