The last week of February is America Saves Week — a national nonprofit effort encouraging Americans to build financial resilience through saving. Join us as we focus on 5 core themes to help you make saving a realistic, lasting financial practice. Start by taking the America Saves pledge, and learn how millions of people like you can get motivated to make saving a big part of their financial fitness plan.
For millions of other Americans, coming up with extra cash in an emergency has presented a real challenge. In 2021, 25% of survey respondents indicate having no emergency savings at all. Another 26% say they have some emergency savings, but not enough to cover expenses for three months.*
Unexpected expenses are a fact of life. But saving for unexpected also means saving for opportunities. When you save money regularly, you’re not just saving for rainy day expenses like repairs or emergencies – you’re also saving for positive things that make life better.
With real ongoing financial challenges and uncertainties from the prolonged pandemic, the importance of saving has become more clear than ever to most people. More people today are seeking financial stability, and learning how to think more like savers. Saving money, improving your financial life, and building financial resilience begin when you have a clear view of your finances, set financial goals, and make a plan to achieve them.
One of the easiest and most effective way to save is to SAVE AUTOMATICALLY.
Having a “set it and forget it” approach to saving increases your success rate.
Remember, savings is a HABIT, not a destination. When starting your savings journey, getting into the habit of saving is so important. Start small and THINK BIG. Even if your savings goal is $10 a week until you accumulate your first $500 in your emergency fund, you’ll be better prepared for unexpected emergencies and can simply pay it with your cash savings!
Whether saving for an emergency fund, education expenses, retirement or all things in between, saving automatically puts you in the best possible position to reach your savings goal. It’s a great way to build wealth and financial security, and it’s easy to set up.
The two best ways to save automatically are:
1) Split Deposit:
Have your employer direct a certain amount from your paycheck each pay period and transfer it to a retirement or savings account (or both). Traditionally, you can set this up using your employer’s direct deposit, ask your HR representative for more details.
If you have a People’s United Bank account, download our direct deposit form here.
2) Automatic Bank Transfer:
Every payday, your bank or credit union transfers a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings or investment account. Talk to your local bank to set this up, or if you have a People’s United Bank account, learn how to set up transfers through Online Banking.
Need help deciding how much to save? Try out our handy calculator to decide how much to deposit or transfer monthly to reach a savings goal.
Save for the Unexpected
For decades financial gurus have told us that we need to have 3 to 6 months of expenses saved to be financially secure. While the more you can have socked away for a rainy day, the better, for most Americans saving that amount is overwhelming and scary.
But, what if you consider that you’re also saving for fun, positive things, like dinner out with friends, concert tickets or the ability to purchase a gift for someone you care about. When you focus on the HABIT of saving, and start with smaller, achievable goals, including positive savings goals, they become much more attainable. Then, once you achieve one milestone, you can confidently keep going!
Before you know it, saving becomes a lifestyle. You’re saving automatically and building your rainy day/opportunity fund!
Try our calculator tools to find out how much you should save for emergencies or what it takes to reach a savings goal.
Save to Retire
Many of us have thought about retirement, and hopefully many of us may already be saving for it. But have you thought about HOW you want to retire? More specifically, have you thought about what it will take to continue to live the lifestyle you have or the lifestyle you want once you retire?
Many Americans have expressed that the pandemic has helped them realize what matters most to them. Family, stability, creating memories, and travel were sentiments that we heard over and over again, when asked what was most meaningful to them.
Being able to have the type of lifestyle you want during retirement—spending quality time with loved ones, traveling, and not being a financial burden on your family, means that you have to plan for retirement TODAY.
As you sit down to do a financial check-in within yourself around your retirement today, consider not just IF you’re saving for retirement, but if you’re saving ENOUGH for retirement. You can start by seeing just what it will take to become a millionaire, just to put things in perspective.
We encourage you to create an account on www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to see what your current estimated monthly benefits will be at the age you retire.
Save by Reducing Debt
WHEN YOU PAY DOWN YOUR DEBT, YOU’RE SAVING!
By actively reducing your debt, you are saving on interest. When you pay on time, you save on late fees and maintain your credit score — which will save money long-term.
With so many Americans being affected financially by the pandemic, actively paying down your debt may not be a priority, and that’s okay. Be sure that you talk to your creditors and take advantage of any repayment options or arrangements that allow you to keep your credit score in tact and avoid additional interest and late payment fees.
Learn whether paying down debit or investing your savings makes more sense for you.
Save as a Family
Whether you’re a family of two or a family of ten, you’re probably wondering where the money goes each month? You’re not alone: 2 out of 5 families don’t follow a budget, which is key to saving. You can help make better spending and saving decisions when you learn to budget as a family.
And also remember, the best way to teach great money habits to our children, partners and other loved ones is to model great money habits. While most Americans know the importance of making sound financial decisions, many feel that money management wasn’t taught to them at a young age. Be creative and intentional about your financial parenting—look for ways to teach your children about money, spending habits, and saving. After all, savings can be both tangible (like saving in a piggy bank) and intangible (like preserving energy by turning off the lights).
So what is your goal? Set up an emergency cash fund? Get out of debt? Make a down payment on a car or home? Sock away money for college or retirement? Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. Become part of an entire community of savers.