America Saves Week a Time to Take Control of Spending, Make Saving Easier
CFP Board Encourages Savings as an America Saves Week National Partner
The challenging U.S. economic climate has served as an unfortunate reminder to many about the importance of saving for emergencies and short- and long-term financial goals. Yet, countless Americans struggle to find room in their budgets to save.
To help consumers get back on track, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is proud to support America Saves Week, a nationwide initiative from February 24 to March 1, 2014, which aims to promote personal savings, improve financial literacy and provide opportunities to save.
“We know it’s important to set money aside regularly, for a rainy day and a sunny future, but it obviously isn’t always easy to do,” said CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP®. “We need to reverse the ‘easy to be bad’ and ‘hard to be good’ dynamics that determine our spending and saving behavior.”
Blayney offers suggestions for making spending harder and saving easier:
- Make a list. Shop with a list, and make it a rule never to buy anything that’s not on the list. It takes thought and time to make a list, and sometimes that’s just what’s needed to get you making better spending choices.
- Write, not swipe. Carry only a checkbook when you shop. The process of writing the check and getting out your driver’s license is a pain, and annoys everyone behind you. You won’t want to do it at every turn.
- Record your spending. For one month, write down absolutely everything you spend, whether cash, check, credit card, or automatic debit. Just like dieters who write down everything they eat, and find they eat less as a result, you will likely spend less. Writing it down makes you stop and think whether it’s worth it.
- Pay yourself first. Write yourself a check at on the first of every month, and send it to your savings on the second. Treat this payment just like the mortgage or utility bills: a must-pay. More easy still, set up an auto-transfer from checking to savings before paying other bills.
America Saves Week features over 1,000 local and national partners and is managed by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council (ASEC). America Saves was originally organized by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) over a decade ago.
In addition to kicking off America Saves Week, CFA and ASEC today released the findings of their seventh annual national survey assessing household saving.
The survey of American households revealed that, despite the economic recovery, most Americans continue to face significant personal savings challenges:
- 51% have a savings plan with specific goals
- 40% have a spending plan that allows sufficient saving
- 68% spend less than their income and save the difference
- 64% have sufficient emergency savings to pay for unexpected expenses
- 54% are building equity in their home or other property
These findings reinforce not only the importance of saving, but the value of a comprehensive financial plan. The Household Financial Planning Survey and Index, released in September 2013 by CFA and CFP Board, found that regardless of income level, Americans who make the effort to plan are more confident in their financial decision-making ability, are able to save more, and are more pleased with their progress in meeting savings goals.
“Building savings doesn’t have to be hard, especially if we slow our spending down and make it more difficult to do,” said Blayney. “The next step is determining how much to save for an emergency fund and for short- and long-term goals. A Certified Financial Planner™ professional can help you develop a financial plan to serve as the roadmap to a more secure financial future.”
Consumers have many resources they can access to learn about increasing their savings and developing a financial plan. AmericaSavesWeek.org offers a variety of ways to learn more about topics like net worth, retirement and debt management, and Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future – a joint publication of the CFP Board and the U.S. Department of Labor – helps you create a personal savings plan with customizable worksheets and calculators. LetsMakeaPlan.org allows interested consumers to learn more about preparing a financial plan, including working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.