Are you of the many Americans who has no idea what they’d do if faced with an emergency bill or other financial obligation? If you’re sick of making excuses and ready to build your emergency fund, consider the 3 reasons listed below why you don’t have an emergency fund and find out what you can do about it.
You Can’t Seem to Kick That Daily Coffee Habit
If you stop every day on your way to work for your morning pick me up, you may not realize just how much you’re spending.
Let’s break it down:
$2.25 x 5 days per week = $11.25
$11.25 x 4 weeks = $45
$45 x 12 months = $540
While $540 may only seem like a drop in the bucket, it’s still enough to help you when you’re in a financial pickle. That $540 could pay for a medical bill or a car repair bill, both of which can pop up unexpectedly and leave you scrambling.
You Think Credit Cards are Bad
With a little bit of self-restraint, a credit card can be used to build up your emergency fund, and here’s how:
If you apply for a card that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and then use that card to pay for your regular monthly necessities, such as groceries and gas, you could use the cash back you receive to pad your savings. Of course, you’d have to be sure to pay the card off every month, but if you’ll be spending that money anyways, why not use the card?
For example, say your groceries and gas purchases each month are $500 total. $500 x 1.5% = $7.50. In one year, you’ll have earned $90 just for spending your own money. Sure, it’s not enough to fund your future, but it’s just one more little way that you can contribute to the bigger goal.
You See Your Monthly Savings Goal As an Option, Not an Obligation
If you’ve set up a monthly savings goal, great! Now, it’s time to set a plan in motion that will result in your goal being reached. One way to sabotage your goal is by seeing it as an option, not an obligation.
Say you make $500 per week and have a goal of saving $50 per week, so $200 per month. Instead of allowing that $50 to sit in your account all week, why not have it automatically transferred to your savings account? This is one way to make your savings seen as more of an obligation than an option – it’s almost as if you have a $50 bill each week, and your savings account just happens to be the payee of that bill. Remember, you’re saving for your future self.
An emergency savings fund can be the difference between scraping by and financially thriving. To learn more about building up your emergency fund and securing your future, consult with a financial adviser today.
For financial advisers, contact a company such as Family Focus Financial Group.
If you have no savings account or one that is smaller than you’d like, you’re not alone. Almost 30 percent of Americans have no savings whatsoever. A staggering 62 percent have less than a $1,000 put away. Keeping in mind that most financial planners recommend a reserve that equals six month’s worth of income, the majority of Americans are coming up short. Fortunately, saving isn’t that difficulty. You just have to find the strategy that works for you. Following are three easy savings plans that anyone can follow.
Rounding up your purchases is an easy way to get a nice safety net built up in your account. It’s really simple to follow too. All you do is round up your expenditures to the nearest dollar when you reconcile your account. For example, if you spend $9.50 at the corner store, you will record $10.00 and save the $.50. Doing it this way keeps the money you’re saving out of sight and out of mind so you won’t be tempted to spend it. Some banks offer this service and will automatically round up your purchases and send the change to your savings account.
Building on the concept that you’re less likely to miss money that you don’t see, you may want to consider placing a portion of your paycheck into savings each payday via direct deposit. When you set direct deposit up with your employer, you can funnel your money to multiple accounts. For example, you can send $50.00 to your savings account and have the rest of your check placed in your regular checking account. This cancels out the need for you to physically transfer the money, which is helpful because it’s difficult to let the money go when you have your hands on it.
There are several 52-week plans circulating on the internet, but the premise of all of them is the same. All you do is put back a certain amount of money each week. Some start with putting away $1 your first week and raising the amount in $1 increments until you get to $53. This amounts to an annual savings of $1375. You can also choose to put back an even $26.50 for 52 weeks to arrive at the same amount.
There are several easy ways you can save money; you just have to start saving. Once saving becomes a habit for you, it will become second nature. Talk to an advisor, like Family Financial Partners, for more help.
Retiring comes with many challenges, and chief among them is often the worry about how to turn your retirement savings into an income stream. Replacing that monthly paycheck with a payment to yourself can be a confusing proposition. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this. Here are 3 methods for any retirement budget.
Annuities. Purchasing an annuity is a means to convert a chunk of savings into a reliable monthly paycheck — usually for the rest of your life. At retirement, you can purchase an immediate annuity with a portion of your overall savings. Choices include a fixed amount or an annuity that varies depending on inflation, and you may be able to buy a joint or survivor annuity to cover both spouses. The downside to annuities, of course, is that you can’t reverse course once you’ve decided to buy into one.
Ladders. Investment ladders, or buckets, are a way of staggering payments and risk during retirement. A ladder usually involves investing in similar things (such as CDs and/or bonds) that mature at different rates. You could place money in 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month CDs, for example, then take the earnings as they each mature while reinvesting in the original amount. Bonds are a more long-term ladder and can be used to generate income later in the process. This income method is often the most liquid and most easily reversible in the event of a change in your plans.
Assets. Using some of your retirement savings to purchase an income-producing asset is a plan for those who want to remain actively involved in making their money work. This type of asset generally means a rental unit, but it can also mean investing in some or all of a business. If you decide to do this, it’s important that you first determine how involved you want to be in the management of the investment, what you will do when you no longer want to do so and how much risk is involved. It’s also a good idea to avoid tying up all your savings in such a purchase — both for liquidity purposes and to manage risk.
These three basic methods for designing your own income stream can be combined with other strategies or with each other. In fact, it’s generally recommended to diversify your investments, risk and income sources. By doing so, you can know where your money will be coming from no matter what the climate of the economy — local, global or industry-specific — is.