Military Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
July 23, 2012
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
To many people, a budget seems very much like a restrictive diet, with all the negative implications involved. People don’t want to make what seems like unpleasant sacrifices in the here and now just to ensure a comfortable, but nebulous, future. But I like to flip that notion on its head: I like to think about what I’d specifically like to accomplish (Set a Goal!) and then what I am willing to give up to get there (Make a Plan). It’s a delicate balancing act, but it’s one that most successful savers have learned to do, whether consciously or not.
Here is my own personal list of things I am willing to give up (and some I’m not!) in order to build up our new car fund:
July 19, 2012
By Dylan Tansy, America Saves Intern
When people sign up to become savers with America Saves, one of the first things we ask of people is to set a goal and tell us what it is. Having a concrete tangible goal is one of the best ways to maintain motivation, keep perspective, and measure progress. Roughly one in six people that have committed to start saving with America Saves have chosen “paying off consumer debts” as their top financial goal. This is not surprising as approximately 45% of families earning less than $50,000 a year rely on credit for basic needs. While this figure may be disheartening, the truth is that anyone can work toward becoming debt free. Here are five basic pieces of advice that you need to follow if you are serious about taking control of your money:
- Stop borrowing – The bottom line is that your debt will never go away if you are always adding to it. There may be times when you have no other choice but to rely on credit, but you should avoid a revolving balance. Compounding interest will increase how much you owe in the long run and keep you in debt longer. You need to either cut up your credit cards, or hide them from yourself.
Contributing to the TSP: A Few Simple Steps
by Miriam Darden Settles, CFP®
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
You’ve heard about the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), but are you still sitting on the sidelines not contributing? If so, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to save for your retirement with what is widely regarded as one of the finest retirement savings plans in the world. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to reap the rewards of participation.
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC©
Assistant Coordinator, Military Saves
Just about everyone I talk to is interested in saving money. Yet very few people are familiar with their own credit report or know their credit score. Why is this such a paradox? It’s because your credit history can determine how much you pay for your house, car, insurance, utility deposit…the list goes on and on. And aside from that, it can also affect your security clearance, your job prospects and even where you live. Everywhere you go, institutions and individuals will be looking at your credit history and judging you on it, so your best bet is to know what’s in your own report.
July 16, 2012
Tiffany Ching, Union Bank, N.A., Senior Vice President and Regional Manager
Eliminating debt is one of the fastest ways to free up money for savings, investments and other long-term financial goals. Credit card bills, student loans and other debt are not only a burden on a budget, but the balances almost always accumulate interest, adding to your debt.
For some, paying down debt may seem overwhelming, but by putting a plan in place, you may be able to pay off your debt sooner, with less interest, while possibly improving your credit score.
Following are some tips to help you pay down debt with the goal of saving more for the future:
Get a Handle on How Much You Owe
Start by listing the outstanding balance, interest rate, minimum payment and due date for each of your debt accounts. This information can easily be found on your most recent monthly statement. Keep a calendar to remind you of due dates, set up automatic payments where you have that option, and continue to make timely monthly payments on each account.