Are you among the millions of Americas who have struggled to rebuild your savings since the recession? If so, there are simple, time-tested strategies you can use to spend less and save more.
A new survey by CNNMoney found that many Americans are not saving enough for retirement or emergencies. Only half of respondents reported good saving habits, including having a spending and/or saving plan in place,
“We know from other research that if one does not have adequate emergency savings, it’s much more difficult for people to save for other purposes, either a home or retirement,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, which conducted the survey along with the American Savings Education Council.
So how can you start building (or rebuilding) a nest egg? Start by following these steps:
• Get Clear on the exact amount of your net income and current expenses, including the inevitable unexpected expenses such as auto and home repairs. With this information, you can begin to design a solid spending plan that makes sense based on current realities. Look at your income and expenses line by line. Where can you make adjustments? There are many software programs for doing this, but even listing your expenses and income on a legal pad works.
• Plug Money Leaks – Many people consider only large expenditures, such as refinancing a home, when looking to save money, but finding small areas where you can save is just as important. These are usually areas of spending that are almost unconscious: the latte on the way to work each day, the extra $15 per month on cable channels you don’t watch, the additional money spent on “name brand” groceries. The first step to plugging these leaks is to identify them. Note each small spending habit and add up its annual cost. Next, ask yourself, “Do these small expenditures really make a difference to me? Do they really add to the quality of my life? Or are they just habits that could be eliminated or changed?”
• The 10/10/10 Financial Formula – To build true financial security, consistent saving is critical. I recommend the time-tested “10/10/10 Savings Formula. It may seem like a stretch at first, but work towards setting aside 10% of your income for short-term needs, 10% for mid-term needs and potential emergencies, and 10% for long-term retirement planning. This will put you in control of your money and finances.
• Look Beyond Traditional Saving and Investing Methods – Many people do not realize there are proven and time-tested ways to grow a substantial nest egg without the risk or volatility of stocks, mutual funds, real estate, and other investments. One asset class has increased in value during ever period of economic boom and bust for more than a century: dividend-paying whole life insurance. A dividend-paying whole life policy grows by a guaranteed and pre-set amount every year. These policies also provide peace of mind for retirement planning, because you can know the minimum guaranteed value of the policy on the day you plan to tap into it…and at every point along the way. In addition, riders can be added onto the policy that make the cash value grow significantly faster than a traditionally designed whole life policy.
Whatever your financial circumstances, you can take steps today – even if they’re just small steps – to move toward your financial goals. As soon as you take positive action, you will reap the reward of more peace of mind.
About the Author: As a consultant to financial advisors, Pamela Yellen investigated more than 450 savings and retirement planning strategies seeking an alternative to the risk and volatility of stocks and other investments. Her research led her to a time-tested, predictable method of growing and protecting savings now used by more than 500,000 Americans. Pamela’s book, BANK ON YOURSELF: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future, is a New York Times Bestseller. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NPR and in The Huffington Post, Fortune Small Business and hundreds of other publications. Learn more at www.BankOnYourself.com.