Almost a quarter of Americans limit their spending each month to save more money, a recent survey finds. With spring just around the corner (March 20), two-time New York Times best-selling author and financial security expert Pamela Yellen provide tips for your spring savings plans:
Two-thirds of Americans are limiting their spending each month, and among those 36 percent are doing it to save more money, a recent Bankrate survey finds. That’s good news since another survey finds 70 percent would have difficulty meeting their financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed for even one week! Pamela, who is renowned for teaching Americans how to save for life’s unexpected emergencies and retirement at the same time, shares five tips to make your savings garden grow:
- Weed Out Costly Savings Mistakes: Did you know that annual fees for managing 401(k)s and IRAs can eat up nearly 39 percent of an investor’s entire life-long savings? Other common savings mistakes include letting your employer automatically invest your 401(k) contributions for you, overestimating the value of your employer’s 401(k) match, and underestimating the hit of deferring taxes on such plans.
- Grow a Rainy Day Fund: Everyone needs a rainy day fund to help weather the unexpected expenses that can uproot finances, but how to start? Pamela recommends the 40/30/20/10 Savings Formula: Allocate 40 percent of your earnings toward household expenses, 30 percent for short-term savings (for things you may need in the next six months to a year), 20 percent for long-term savings (like an emergency fund or retirement fund), and 10 percent for things you want but don’t necessarily need. Using this formula consistently can help you to quickly grow a healthy fund to help you weather times of financial drought.
- Shine Sunlight on Savings Shortfalls: Americans depend heavily on employee and government sponsored savings plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs that invest in target dates and other mutual funds susceptible to high risk, volatility, and inflation. They may think this is a “set it and forget it” approach, only to be shocked when they discover how little they are actually saving over the long haul. Pamela shares the inconvenient truths behind conventional retirement savings plans that Wall Street and the government don’t discuss.
- Plant So You Can Harvest While You Grow: Another problem with 401(k) and IRA savings plans is the penalties and fees people face if they try to access their savings before age 59½. Not all savings strategies have this drawback, however. The key is liquidity – putting your wealth in financial vehicles that allow you to access your money and pay yourself back while continuing to save for retirement. Only a few methods allow you to do this, as Pamela explains.
- Sow Self-Sufficiency for All Seasons: The secret to growing wealth consistently is to put a substantial portion of your savings into assets that are not subject to the risks and volatility of stocks, mutual funds, real estate, and other investments. Pamela shares a time-tested strategy that savvy Americans have been using to protect grow and protect wealth during every period of economic boom and bust for 160 years.