Over Half of Americans Have Less than $1,000 in Savings

October 08, 2015

budget, savings

Quentin Fottrell

Broken_bank.jpgAmericans are living right on the edge — at least when it comes to financial planning.

Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 21% don’t even have a savings account, according to a new survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted this month by Google Consumer Survey for personal finance website GOBankingRates.com. “It’s worrisome that such a large percentage of Americans have so little set aside in a savings account,” says Cameron Huddleston, a personal finance analyst for the site. “They likely don’t have cash reserves to cover an emergency and will have to rely on credit, friends and family, or even their retirement accounts to cover unexpected expenses.”

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Three Things to Remember During America Saves Week

February 26, 2015

tips, savings

Suzanne Woolley

Broken_bank.jpg(Bloomberg Business) -- Here comes “America Saves Week,” when consumers are deluged with surveys and advice about saving. And no one's going to argue that putting more money away — for a child’s education, for a comfortable retirement, for a rainy-day fund — isn't an important goal.

But next week's flood of tips, warnings and sales pitches also highlights how useless much of this is to those who need to save the most — the many Americans who are just getting by. 
What they need is wage growth.

 

Lately we've seen some positive signs. Labor Department figures for January showed the strongest wage gains since 2008, with average hourly earnings up 0.5 percent. As more industries expand payroll and more employers compete for workers by bidding up wages, incomes will grow. Wal-Mart is preparing to raise wages for half a million workers.

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Here's How America Needs to Double It's Savings

February 12, 2015

savings

Scott Burns

Budgets.jpgFor over half of American households, retiring to a life of leisure may not be an option. We're facing a massive retirement crisis -- more than $6.8 trillion short of the savings we need. Without dramatic change, millions of us will have to work for life.

Change is possible, and Congress should be leading it by promoting legislation that could help Americans get back on track for a secure retirement.

Golden years spent behind the counter at the golden arches?

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Cut These 10 Everyday Expenses and Save Thousands

January 30, 2015

tips, savings

Jennifer Calonia

fin1-300x168.jpgThe new year typically brings about many changes. People are more optimistic about fresh opportunities and are more motivated to leave bad habits behind. According to a GOBankingRates new year's resolution survey, Americans' No. 1 financial goal is saving money.

There are a number of ways to save money, but in the greater scheme of things, the fundamentals of saving money are simple: decrease your spending and increase your income (ideally at the same time). Re-evaluating your spending habits is the easier in many cases, but it can be hard to part with some habitual expenses. What you might not realize, however, is that most unnecessary expenses are misleading in their true costs. Cutting these 10 purchases from your budget will change the way you save money one day at a time, and put money back in your pocket over the course of the year.

1. Gourmet Coffee

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Increase your Savings using these 7 Smart Money Moves

December 30, 2014

budget, savings

Kimberly Palmer

 

Broken_bank.jpgBefore the ball drops on New Year's Eve, you can pump up your savings to squeeze as much out of 2014 as possible. Putting money into retirement accounts before year-end deadlines, opening new after-tax savings accounts and automating savings are all ways to ramp up your personal savings rate in the last days of the year.

SunTrust recently released a fourth-quarter checklist of items the bank encourages clients to consider before the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31. The list includes selling securities with significant losses, making additional contributions to 401(k) accounts (keeping in mind that the 2014 limit is $17,500, with a $5,500 catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older), reviewing estate plans and updating beneficiaries on retirement and life insurance accounts.

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Less Than Half of Americans Saved for the Holidays

December 15, 2014

savings

Marlene Y. Satter

Broken_bank.jpgAmericans are saving less, and that could be one reason they haven’t gone hog-wild over reportedly less-than-stellar deals in the lead-up to the holidays.

That’s the word from the Country Financial Security Index, which has been tracking consumers’ downward arc in their ability to save since 2007.

According to the index, only 42 percent of Americans were able to put money away for either savings or investments over the past two months. When the index began in 2007, the pre-recession saving rate was 55 percent — still not great, but far better than it is now.Those aged 40-49 seem to be having the roughest time, with only 32 percent saying they managed to sock away any money to use for holiday shopping.

Things could be worse: Seventy-five percent reported they are confident about being able to pay their bills on time. Pity the poor millennials, though. Only 62 percent of them said they can get those bills down.

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Is Your Year-End Financial Plan Missing Something?

budget.jpgNo question: Q4 is the carpe diem quarter. You've got nine months of the year behind you, the blank slate of 2015 around the corner -- and a small window of time to tackle financial chores before the holidays hit. Bonus: Now that it's almost open enrollment season, you can consider maxing out (or adjusting) your employee benefits.

Yep, there's a lot to do, and you may not nail every item on your To Do list (who does?). But this primer will make sure you don't miss anything crucial, so that you're in great shape when the New Year comes dancing in. 

Savings

Obviously, it's better if you've been maxing out your 401(k) contributions throughout the year because you stand to gain quite a bit more. But it's not too late to contribute what you can for 2014. Even bumping up your savings rate by 1 percent can add up in years to come. Also note, the 401(k) limit for contributions for 2015 was bumped up by $500 to $18,000.

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Engaging Millennials to Maximize Retirement Savings

November 24, 2014

retirement, savings

Melissa A. Winn

 

40521340_s.jpgMillennials are not saving enough to take full advantage of their employer’s 401(k) company match, but benefit advisers say there are many tools employers can use to turn this trend around and engage the younger generation.

While the average 401(k) participation rate for millennials is a respectable 73% for workers 20-29 and 77% for those aged 30 to 39, many are saving at a low rate, according to a new Aon Hewitt analysis of more than 3.5 million employees eligible for defined contribution plans. Nearly 40% of 20-29 year olds and 31% of 30-39 year olds are saving at a level that is below the company match threshold.

Leaving matching contributions on the table can cost young workers a significant amount of long-term savings, but benefit advisers can approach employers with several tools that have proven successful at engaging employees.

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Financial Wellness Increases Savings & Preserve Retirement Accounts

FinFitLogo-300x127.pngVIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Sept. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey assessing financial wellness programs in the workplace reveals that the combination of financial education with employee lending solutions significantly increases employees' ability to save money and reduces instances of borrowing from 401(k) retirement accounts when faced with financial emergencies. The survey also shows that employees taking advantage of these programs are more focused and productive on the job.

Commissioned by FinFit LLC, a financial wellness and benefits company, the survey asked employers and employees for feedback on their experience using the programs. Nearly 1,000 individuals participated, with companies ranging in size, from approximately 150 to 2,000 employees, and operating across a broad spectrum of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, education, and automotive.

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Do You Have a Financial Plan For When Mother Nature Strikes?

FinFit_Final_Logo_jpg.jpgAs the impending Tropical Storm Arthur concerns those along the east coast ahead of the July Fourth holiday weekend, one can’t help but think of that fact that harmful weather conditions are gripping regions across the U.S., leaving a wake of destruction. Damage from natural disasters not only wreaks havoc on families and their property, it places an enormous financial burden on everyone affected, especially those who aren’t prepared with a rainy-day fund. Even people living in regions of the U.S. that are inclined to severe weather, armed with insurance to cover damages, often are faced with significant reimbursement delays.

When a catastrophic event takes place, such as the recent tornadoes in Nebraska or the flooding in the Midwest, the initial reaction is to assess the damage and deal with the emotional stress, but inevitably, financial stress is not far behind.

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