Saturday, March 24, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes

We just installed a new do-it-yourself coin machine in our lobbies. It’s so easy to use, that our first customer, a 6-year-old member named Tyler, counted his change with ease. Tyler came in with his sister and mom to make a deposit to his account. He had $16 and a bunch of change in Spider Man bag. Two of our employees led him to the machine (kids love machines) where he quickly walked through the steps, dumped his change in the bin and walked away with a voucher for $7.67 to deposit into his account. So easy a kid can do it! We think the ‘fun factor’ of the machine might encourage him to save more, too.

As Tyler put it, "I'm gonna save my money!"

We can all take a tip from Tyler! By putting away a few dollars each week into a savings account, it adds up quicker than you’d expect. A few years ago I started putting $75 per month into a savings account for my daughter. Now her account is over $1000.

Most Americans just don’t save enough. The personal savings rate in the U.S. is a negative number, yet 77% of Americans think of themselves as the kinds of people who "always look for ways to save money" (Pew Research Center Jan. 24). I think most Americans define “looking for ways to save” as ways to pinch pennies and spend less. But truly saving money in a savings account is really easier than you think if you take advantage of tools like direct deposit, payroll deduction and automatic transfer.

Here’s your best bet for putting away a few extra dollars. Direct deposit your paycheck into your account each payday. If it’s available to you and you’re not using direct deposit I must ask where do you park your dinosaur? Really, welcome to the 21st century. Get direct deposit. Then, arrange for us to automatically transfer whatever amount you think you can put away into a separate savings account. Whatever you think you can afford, add $20. You won’t miss it because if it’s not in your account you won’t spend it. If it is in your account you will spend it. It’s that simple. You’ll adjust your spending to account for the lower amount. It’s really that easy. Then just forget about it. Before you know it, you’ll be sittin’ on a nice savings account.
If it’s for retirement, consider rolling that money into an IRA once you’ve got some money saved up. Our IRA service center can help with that, or call our IRA specialist for help.

If you took this one step today, I promise you won't regret it.

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