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Expect the unexpected in finance

Financial expectationsIn October 2014, the personal saving rate, the ratio of personal income saved to personal net disposable income, was only five percent in the United States. Americans are not known for being savers; the all-time high for personal saving ratio was 14.60 percent in 1975 which is lower than many developing countries.

The truth is, life happens and it can often be expensive. By building your savings into a nest egg, you will be better prepared for these developments.

A Nation of Spenders

Almost half of American households (44 percent) have no more than three months of expenses in a savings account, leaving them unprepared for medical, legal, or other emergencies. Many rely on credit which accumulates expenses through interest rates and in some unfortunate circumstances, late or missed payments.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling conducts a survey every year on consumer financial literacy. According to the latest survey, 16 percent indicated that their emergency fund was insufficient. The same percentage also admitted to not having enough in savings to retire.

Saving Is Necessary

Relying on credit instead of stashing away money is a risky game. As your balances rise, so do interest rates and fees. Many people file bankruptcy because they do not keep up with servicing their debt.

As this pattern continues, credit scores drop but life does not stop happening. If a car needs brakes, a water heater blows up, or you get sued or face legal charges and need to pay criminal defense lawyer fees, this means having to find money quickly. A household that is liquid asset poor is also vulnerable to predatory lending that only deepens financial insecurity.

Get Started

The economy is unpredictable and only a healthy savings account ensures stability. The time to develop this habit is now. Here are suggestions to get started:

  • Start Small. Even if you only transfer $5.00 from every paycheck into savings account, it is better than nothing. The trick is to make this a habit and putting aside a small amount will accomplish that. You will likely increase this amount later, due to the satisfaction of saving.
  • Set a Goal. A $1,000 emergency fund covers most every day emergencies like car or home repairs. While legal fees and medical bills could easily wipe out a fund of this size, $1,000 is a good goal to start saving. Break it into two $500 goals if that seems more feasible.
  • Schedule Automatic Transfers. Some employers offering direct deposit will allow you to split your paycheck into two accounts. If that is possible, arrange a certain amount for your savings account. Otherwise, set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings at each pay period so the saving process occurs despite any lapses in discipline.

A nest egg means an emergency becomes an inconvenience instead of a disaster. If you are relying on credit or living between paychecks, take it as a sign to change your financial habits. Rather than mull over your mistakes, take action today to start a good savings plan.

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January 11, 2015 um 8:16 am
Budgeting,Money,Personal Finance
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