With Mother’s Day upon us, now’s a great time to honor the lessons and wisdom of our mothers. There’s one simple “motherism” that’s critical, especially when it comes to financial matters.
Prepare for emergencies.
Sadly, a recent survey by Bankrate indicated that many Americans have not heeded that advice: just “46% of the country’s consumers save less than 5% of their annual income.” Even more troubling is that “18% save nothing.”
Prepare to save.
With the uncertainty in the job market and soaring healthcare costs, a financial emergency could strike you or your loved ones at any time. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of money to get started. Here are five simple steps you can take to build savings – and peace of mind.
- Ready, set your target …save. The first step in saving is to determine how much you need to save. Experts recommend that the amount in your emergency fund be between three to six months of your monthly living expenses.
- Determine your budget. Once you know how much you’ll need, figure out how much money you can save each month. The best way to accomplish that is to look at your income and expenses to determine where your money is going.
- Reduce expenses. Once you’ve analyzed your budget, look for ways to reduce expenses. For example, if you spend $200 a month dining out, consider eating in more and banking the savings.
- Open a savings account. Be sure to put the money you save into a savings vehicle, not your checking account. Additionally, it’s a good idea to make access to the savings account more difficult. For example, try not to get a debit card with your savings account, which just makes it easy for you to get at your funds.
- Automate your savings. One of the easiest ways to save is to have your savings direct deposited as part of your pay.
Once you’ve established your savings plan, be patient and stay the course. Your hard work will be paid off with peace of mind and security. And let’s face it, Mother always said, “Patience is a virtue.”