Military Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
August 2, 2012
By Lila Quintliani, AFC®
Assistant Coordinator, Military Saves
I heard a statistic I found really shocking the other day: according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, 50% of 60 year olds have less than $37,300 in their retirement accounts. As you might guess, that’s not nearly enough to live off of in retirement. In fact, according to the Boston College analysis, Americans are a collective $6.6 TRILLION dollars short of the amount they need to retire. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on working to age 75. Nor am I counting on Social Security (or any type of pension) to make up the entire shortfall. The only solution I see is to save now for later. My husband and I are consciously not living to the full extent of our paychecks now. We are delaying gratification for the sake of a nebulous future that we are only starting to be able to visualize. And I’m here to tell you, sometimes delaying gratification really stinks. So sometimes we *do* “live in the present” – we go on vacations, or buy gadgets, or go to a Broadway play. But always, always, we are socking away a part of our pay.
I realize it’s tough to save in today’s economy. It’s also tough to save when you’re starting out, and not making much. But if you make it a habit, and commit to saving even a small percentage of your salary, then you’ve made a start. You can always bump up the percentage later on.
July 31, 2012
By Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager
Cars, credit, and home repair and construction once again topped the list of complaints made to state and local consumer protection agencies, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI). Thirty-eight agencies from across the United States provided information about the most common, fastest-growing, and worst complaints they received in 2011.
“The information compiled in the survey helps us as consumer protection agencies follow trends in consumer fraud, educate the public, and share information with each other, which will ultimately assist us in our investigations against fraud,” said Tonya Hetzler, Interim President of NACPI.
July 30, 2012
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC®
Military Saves Assistant Coordinator
There are some topics in personal finance that can be terribly exciting (Buying a house! Investing in stocks!), but then there are others that are about as thrilling as watching paint dry. Insurance falls in to the latter of the two categories, but it is a vital part of your financial safety net. And really, you can’t get to the fun stuff until you have covered your bases with the boring stuff first. When I teach classes on basic personal finance, people’s eyes glaze over when the subject of insurance comes up, yet many military folks either don’t have any type of insurance on their belongings, or are carrying vastly insufficient coverage on their things.
Are you struggling with credit card debt? If so, you’re not alone. Paying off credit cards and other higher interest debt is one of the most common goals that people try to save for. Unfortunately, having to pay off a large amount of debt with ridiculously high interest rates can make you feel hopeless, especially if your budget is already stretched. But it turns out that you don’t necessarily need to make huge sacrifices to become debt free much sooner than you may have thought was possible.
Let’s take a look at an example. Suppose you have 4 credit cards. One has a balance of $1,800 at 19.8%. The second has a balance of 1,500 at 16.99%. The third has a $1,100 balance at 16.7%. The last has a balance of $1,000 at 5.9%. If you just make the minimum payments, it would take over 30 years to pay all that off! Sounds pretty discouraging for someone on a tight budget, huh?
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: