February 22-27 is America Saves Week. Started in 2007, this is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for everyone to assess their saving status. I try to take every opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits of saving money! Here are some key points I’d like to emphasize … and forgive me if you’ve heard this before!
Pay yourself first.
If you don’t currently save a set amount each month, consider enrolling in an automatic savings plan to transfer money to a savings account each month. Note the word “automatic!” If you’re already contributing to savings, consider increasing the amount. Ideally, everyone should have enough saved to cover three months of living expenses.
Save for retirement.
Be sure that you’re taking full advantage of any retirement fund matching contributions provided by your employer. Begin early so your money will have many years to grow. The average American spends nearly 20 years in retirement so make saving for it a priority.
Set a budget and stick to it.
Spend less than you earn and save the difference. Take an inventory of spending habits and decide where you might cut back. Make sure your prioritizing your spending and ensure that you’re spending in the right places. Living within your means is an important part of securing your financial future. If you are having difficulty saving, a budget is critical to getting on the right path.
Teach the children in your life how to manage their money.
It’s important to set a good example for spending and saving. Children learn a lot by example, so keep that in mind when young eyes are watching. Explain age-appropriate money lessons and information about credit vs. cash as you see fit. Saving is a basic and necessary life skill that will benefit children forever.