ICBA is proud to be participating with the nearly 2,000 organizations nationwide that are encouraging Americans to save as part of America Saves Week, which runs Feb. 25 – March 2, 2013. The week-long national campaign helps raise awareness of the importance of creating savings funds, building an emergency fund and paying off debt.
As a former community banker, and a community bank customer, I know firsthand that community banks are excellent resources for consumers to utilize during America Saves Week and every week of the year. Main Street bankers are willing to take time and discuss ways to help consumers reach their financial goals. Beginning to save for your future can be daunting at times, but it is something every American needs to consider. No effort is too small, and with the help of your local community bank, creating and maintaining savings funds is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Set a goal: People are more successful when they have certain goals in mind, so create and share a savings goal with your family and friends. Start small—even saving your loose change can get you somewhere. If you set aside $1.50 a day for one year, you can garner an emergency fund of at least $500. Aim to start a path toward building an emergency fund of savings with six to nine months of living expenses.
- Make a plan: By creating a spending plan, which is a guide to help you take better control of your finances by tracking where your money goes, list your expenses and compare them to your income. The plan will help prioritize necessities and wants for the month. Attempt to use your credit cards more efficiently, too. Doing that can help ensure that you will not take on too much debt and can minimize interest charges.
- Save automatically: Join a retirement plan at work, if possible and maximize your employer’s matching contributions. Many employers offer regular payroll deduction, which is one of the best ways to start and keep saving money. Make it a routine to automatically put aside a certain amount of money each paycheck. Every penny, nickel and dime counts!
So head over to your local community bank and find out ways you can start investing in your future now. And don’t forget to visit www.banklocally.org to find a community bank in your town today.
— Terry Jorde, senior executive vice president/chief of staff at ICBA