America Saves Week 2019

 

Get ready to save money, reduce debt and build wealth over time, with a week of motivating information and resources during America Saves Week 2019. This year’s event includes an EACC financial wellness seminar, SmartPath webinars and financial wellness resources for UAB employees.

Check this page each day during the week of Feb. 25 through March 2 for daily blog posts, tweet chats and more.

FRIDAY

Friday, March 1: Save the Extra

Did you know you’re more likely to save a windfall than a small amount consistently over time? Hack that psychology by saving your bonuses, raises, and tax refunds. This tax season, get ahead of your financial goals by depositing at least $50 of your refund into a savings account. If you do, you’ll also be eligible to win one of over 100 prizes up to $10,000 by entering SaveYourRefund 2019.

BLOG: 3 ways to give your savings account a little boost

By Tammy Bruzon
America Saves Communications Coordinator

What does “saving the extra” mean to you? Whether it is putting change in a piggy bank or moving everything not in the budget into savings, those three little words can mean big money down the road. This America Saves Week, try one (or all) of these three ways to save the extra:

1. Add a savings line to your budget: Rent, utilities, internet. Every important piece of your financial picture gets a designated spot in your budget each month, so why not your savings? We don’t always consider our savings goals a priority in our short term savings and spending plan, but it ought to be. Prioritize your goals by adding a “savings” line with an affordable amount to your budget; pay yourself with each paycheck.

2. Stow away the windfall: Did you receive notice of a raise for 2018? Maybe you have a bonus coming your way for a job well done. Whatever the bounty may be, allocate any unexpected funds to your savings goals. You won’t miss the percentage raise you receive, so divert it into your savings account. You weren’t expecting that bonus, so tuck it away for a rainy day.

3. Split and save your refund: It’s a universal truth: saving at tax time can be a big step toward meeting your savings goals. This tax season, opt to split a portion of your tax refund into your savings account. For many of us the tax refund is the largest check we will receive all year, which provides the perfect opportunity to start or grow your savings goal.

Saving the extra is an easy and quick way to jumpstart your savings. As America Saves Week comes to an end, identify the ways that you and your household can save the extra and add a little boost to your bank account.

SATURDAY

MONDAY

Monday, Feb. 25: Save with a Plan

Did you know? Savers with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully for things like retirement and their (or their children’s) education. America Saves Week is a great time to start a healthy savings habit. Create a simple savings plan when you take the America Saves Pledge for a chance to win up to $750.

Events

SmartPath Webinar: "Get Your Money Right"
• Noon-1 p.m.
• Online
Register online at uab.edu/learn

 

Tweet Chat

America Saves Week 2019 Kickoff
• 11 a.m.
• Hosted by America Saves (@AmericaSaves) and Military Saves (@MilitarySaves)
• Follow along with hashtags #ASW19 and #MSW19

 

Saving at Tax Time through SaveYourRefund

By Lindsay Ferguson, America Saves Director of Strategic Engagement

More than half of all Americans have no savings to help them cope with even small emergencies. Yet more than 100 million taxpayers get refunds from the IRS each year. For many individuals and families, that tax refund is the largest check that they will receive all year, the perfect windfall to start or grow an emergency fund.

In the 2019 tax season, SaveYourRefund will once again offer tax filers the chance to win cash prizes for saving a portion of their tax refunds. Now in its seventh year, SaveYourRefund is a partnership between Commonwealth and America Saves that provides fun and exciting incentives for Americans to save at tax time when households making less than $50,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. A chance to win one of two $10,000 grand prizes or one of 100 smaller prizes of $100 is enough to turn a savings skeptic into a savings believer.

Last year, SaveYourRefund helped over 3,400 tax clients save over $2.9 million and gave away $35,000 in cash prizes. We’re looking forward to building on last year’s success and continuing to reward those who save at tax time with 100 weekly prizes and two $10,000 grand prizes.

TUESDAY

Tuesday, Feb. 26: Save the Easy Way … Automatically

Never miss a beat when it comes to savings. Make it so easy you never have to think about it by setting aside money for savings automatically. Learn how to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account, or have part of your paycheck automatically deposited into a savings account. Already saving automatically? Find ways to automate other aspects of your financial life in 2019.

Events

The Importance of Saving
• 1-2 p.m.
• West Pavilion Conference Room B
Register online at uab.edu/learn

 

Tweet Chat

Twitter Storm: America Saves Week 2019
• 2-3 p.m.
• Hosted by America Saves (@AmericaSaves) and Military Saves (@MilitarySaves)
• Follow along with hashtag #ASW19

 

Save Automatically: What you don’t see you won’t miss

America Saves Blog

The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. This is how millions of employees save through 401(k) and other retirement programs at work. It is also how millions of Americans save at their bank or credit union.

How to Save Automatically

The best automatic saving is when you make a decision to do so, then it just happens:

  • Every pay period, your employer deducts a certain amount from your paycheck and transfers it to a retirement or savings account. Ask your HR representative for more details and to set this up.
  • Every month, your bank or credit union transfers a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings or investment account. Talk to your local bank or credit union to set this up.
Why Automatic Savings Works

Over time, these automatic deposits add up. $50 a month accumulates to $600 a year and $3,000 after five years, plus interest that has compounded. Soon you will be able to cover many unexpected expenses without putting them on your credit card or taking out a high cost loan.

If you can’t afford to save even $50 a month, there are alternatives. Many banks and credit unions will transfer as little as $25 monthly from checking to savings and, as an added bonus, waive any monthly savings fees.

I Don’t Have Enough Money to Save

But if even $25 is too much, just save your loose change. If every day you just put some or all of the loose change in your pocket or purse into a jar, and don’t spend it, you will find that in a year you will probably accumulate over $100.

Just saving loose change has persuaded many Americans that they are able to save. And when they become convinced that they can save, they find other ways to build an emergency fund or save for other goals.

Everyone has the ability to save. At America Saves, we say “Start Small, Think Big.” You can start with only $10 a week or month. Over time, your deposits will add up. Even small amounts of savings can help you in the future.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday, Feb. 27: Save for the Unexpected

That day you blew a tire. The time your dishwasher overflowed. That vacation when your child got sick far from home, and the doctor wouldn’t take your insurance. We all have those unexpected events in life that can lead to financial stress, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Putting aside a few dollars a week into a savings account for unexpected costs can build financial security – and relieve a lot of anxiety! Saving for the unexpected starts with small, regularly scheduled contributions that build up over time.

Tweet Chat

America Saves Week #CreditChat with Experian
• 2 p.m.
• Hosted by America Saves (@AmericaSaves)
• Follow along with hashtag #creditchat

 

Save for Emergencies

America Saves Blog

Nearly a quarter of savers who take the America Saves pledge chose “emergency savings” as their first wealth-building goal. And they have the right idea. Research shows that low-income families with at least $500 in an emergency fund were better off financially than moderate-income families with less than this amount. Yet most Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected emergency.

What is an emergency savings fund?

An emergency savings fund consists of at least $500, usually in a savings account that you do not have easy access to. Saving for this fund starts with small, regularly scheduled automatic contributions that build up over time.

Why should you start saving for emergencies?

Maintaining an emergency savings account may be the most important difference between those who manage to stay afloat and those who sink in debt. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that you can afford to pay unexpected expenses. That’s because keeping $500 to $1,000 of savings for emergencies can allow you to easily meet unexpected financial challenges such as repairing the brakes on your car or replacing a broken window in your house.

Not having emergency savings is one of the reasons many individuals borrow too much money, resort to high-cost loans, or increase their credit card balances to high levels.

How should you build your emergency savings?

The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. This is how millions of Americans save. Your bank or credit union can help you set up automatic savings by transferring a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings account. Learn more about saving automatically.

Where should you keep your emergency savings?

It’s usually best to keep emergency savings in a bank or credit union savings account. These types of accounts offer easier access to your money than certificates of deposit, U.S. Savings Bonds, or mutual funds. Though these are useful tools for long-term saving, they are not ideal for an emergency fund that you may need access to more quickly. But not too quickly! Keeping your money in a savings account makes it much less likely that you will use these savings to pay for everyday, non-emergency expenses. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s why it is usually a mistake to keep your emergency fund in a checking account.

How can you get started?

Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully. This includes setting a goal to build an emergency fund and deciding how much you want to save each month. This is where we come in. If you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself to save, take the America Saves pledge to save money, build wealth, and reduce debt. We’ll keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your goal to build an emergency fund.

THURSDAY

Thursday, Feb. 28: Save to Retire

Studies show few Americans have adequate savings for retirement but it’s never too late – or too early – to start saving. Saving now for retirement will help ensure you have enough money to enjoy a comfortable standard of living when you stop working. Participate in a work-related retirement program such as a 401(k) or open an Individual Retirement Account (or IRA). Already saving for retirement? Try increasing the amount you save by 1 percent each year.

Events

SmartPath Webinar: "Improving Your Credit Score"
• Noon-1 p.m.
• Online
Register online at uab.edu/learn

 

Tweet Chat

Saving for Retirement
• Feb. 26, 2 p.m.
• Hosted by Wise Bread (@WiseBread)
• Follow along with hashtag #WBchat

 

Make Your Tax Refund Work for You

By Justin Chu, Program Associate, Taxpayer Opportunity Network

Every year, the middle of April marks the end of the federal tax return filing season. For many Americans, that can mean seemingly endless forms, paystubs, and other paperwork. However, tax time can also be a unique opportunity for saving for your future! You can maximize tax time in three easy ways and have your tax refund work for you.

  1. Put your refund into a saving account: For people claiming some of the unique tax credits that benefit hardworking families around the country such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, their tax refund may be the largest sum of money they will see the entire year. By opening a savings account, you can deposit a portion or all of your refund and let the amount grow over time. Luckily, you can do this using the IRS Form 8888, which will divide your refund over multiple accounts.
  2. Put your refund into a savings bond: IRS Form 8888 now allows you to easily and seamlessly purchase Series 1 US Savings Bonds as you prepare your tax return! These 30-year bonds are backed by the United States government and they pay you interest yearly. Bonds are a great, low-risk option to grow your savings.
  3. Get your taxes prepared for free: If you make less than $54,000 a year, you can your taxes prepared at no-cost by IRS-certified volunteers in your local community! The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has served millions of Americans for more than 45 years. If you qualify, you can find your local VITA program using this tool; at these VITA sites, you can find expert information to help demystify the tax code and to prepare your taxes.

These three steps are only a small sample of how you can leverage this annual process. Tax time can be confusing but you can maximize your tax return to build for a more sustainable future. Don’t delay and be sure to start your own saving story today!

⇨ Visit the UAB FINANCIAL WELLNESS PROGRAM to explore more resources for UAB employees.

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