, ,

SafetyNet Encourages America to Save in 2018

If you have less than $500 in your savings account, you are not alone. According to one Bankrate survey, 63% of respondents do not have $500 in savings to pay for an unexpected expense such as a sudden car repair or medical bill.

While having low savings is common among Americans, you may be surprised to find out that among low and moderate income levels, the ability to save may have less to do with the amount of money a person makes and more to do with their financial habits and ability to manage money. 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.

Having an emergency fund is important because it offers peace of mind and allow families to avoid credit card debt and high-interest loans in the event of unexpected financial obligations.

According to a study by Consumer Federation of America, low savers (those with less than $500 in emergency funds) are often more than twice as likely to have a negative financial experience than are high savers (those with at least $500). That is especially true for paying monthly bills, making mortgage or rent payments, bouncing checks, taking out high-cost loans, and failing to build financial assets. In addition, low-saving worriers were much more likely to say they lost sleep, suffered worse health, or were less productive at work than were high-saving worriers.

If you are one of those people who has struggled with savings in the past, there is no better time than America Saves Week to take action and turn your financial situation around.

America Saves Week 2018 is on Feb. 26 – March 3, 2018. This is an annual opportunity for people to assess their financial well-being and focus on saving money. For people who are living paycheck to paycheck, this week is a time to get organized, set goals and achieve them.

America Saves Week is run by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the week is also an opportunity for organizations like SafetyNet™ to promote good savings behavior among our staff, customers and the community at large.

 Free Money Quiz


On each day during America Saves Week, take one of the five steps below to help yourself save successfully:

Monday, Feb. 26: Save with a plan

Tuesday, Feb. 27: Save the easy way…automatically

  • It can be hard to put aside money for savings, but the easiest way to save money without ever missing it is by making your savings automatic. You may be able to automatically transfer money from your checking account to your savings account each month, or even split your paycheck direct deposit into multiple accounts. If you’re already saving automatically, find ways to automate other aspects of your financial life this year. For example, set up online payments and automatic bill pay to reduce the chance of forgetting to pay bills, which will help you avoid late fees and penalties.

Wednesday, Feb. 28: Save for rainy days

  • A rainy day fund (or emergency fund) consists of a money in a savings account separate from your checking that you do not have easy access to. In other words, it is separate from the money you use every day and every month for spending and paying regular bills. Saving for this fund starts with small, regularly scheduled contributions that build up over time. How much money should be in your rainy day fund? Experts say having 3 – 6 months of your major expenses saved up is ideal. But don’t be intimidated by those recommendations. Start small—even with the loose change you find in your couch cushions. The important thing is that you start.

Thursday, March 1: Save to retire

  • Saving now for retirement will ensure you have enough money to have a comfortable standard of living when you stop working or reduce the amount of hours you work. Participate in a work-related retirement program such as a 401(k) or open an Individual Retirement Account (or IRA). If you don’t know how to set up one of these accounts, talk to a financial coach or financial advisor or a trusted friend or relative. Already saving for retirement? Try increasing the amount you save toward retirement by 1%.

Friday, March 2: Save the extra

  • People are more likely to save a windfall than a small amount consistently over a long period of time. Use that psychology by saving your bonuses, raises, and tax refunds. This tax season, get ahead of your financial goals by saving at least a portion of your refund, and reward yourself with SaveYourRefund by entering to win one of over 100 prizes up to $10,000 as a part of America Saves Week. Use the windfall rule, which suggests you do something responsible with 95% of the extra cash and spend 5% on whatever you want.

Saturday, March 3: Save as a family

  • Good savings habits start at home. Whether you’re budgeting, saving, making retirement decisions, or assessing workplace benefits, share the choices you make with your children, no matter their age. If you give your kids allowance, talk to them about saving at least a portion of it to teach them financial literacy and the importance of saving early.

Join SafetyNet in America Saves Week Activities

Keep your eye on SafetyNet’s Facebook page and Twitter feed to learn about other opportunities during America Saves Week 2018. Tell your family and friends what you’re doing this year to get on track with your savings goals and encourage them to participate.