Happy New Year to everyone. Like me, you are probably happy that 2008 is behind us and hopeful that 2009 will be better for the economy. Let's start the year off right with one resolution. If there is one thing we can all do to better our circumstances it would be to save more.
As a nation we save less than 3 percent of our income. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute most people between the ages of 19 and 39 have less than $10,000 in savings. Almost 60 percent of workers over age 55 have saved less than $100,000. Nobody under age 60 can be really sure what Social Security benefits we'll receive when we reach retirement, so the onus is on ourselves to save what we need if we hope to retire.
In addition to retirement it is important to have an emergency fund to handle the unexpected expenses, such as a roof repair, and the unexpected job loss. A good rule of thumb is to have 6 months of living expenses tucked away in a high-earning money market account.
So do this one thing for yourself in 2009. Set up a direct deposit from your paycheck to a savings account, or an automatic transfer from checking to savings. If you don't think you can spare the money, start out small - $10 or $50 per week. Once you have adjusted your spending to accomodate this change you can increase the amount. If you have a loan that ends this year, redirect the loan payment to your savings.
Here's wishing you a great 2009 filled with joy and happiness - and peace of mind knowing you're building your financial resources.
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