By: Chuck Kuster
The goal of our Save Yourself ™ financial education platform is to motivate young people to save money and then invest it wisely.
Unfortunately, this is an up-hill battle because many Americans get discouraged when their savings seem so meager and interest rates paid on savings accounts are so low. Personal savings rates for Americans have again dropped to around 3 – 4%, following an uptick during the recent recession.
What can a parent do to counter defeatist saving attitude? A place to start is to make certain younger children understand that you feel saving money is a priority. Demonstrate how you attempt to save money daily.
When old enough to understand, discuss your annual personal savings goal as a percentage of income. Share the reasons why you are saving money – retirement, college, a new car.
Put saving money into context. Young adults sometimes don’t realize that saving money involves multiple efforts over decades of time. Share related personal information that demonstrates how you plan to accomplish your savings goals. For example, does your employer match paycheck savings? Let’s say you save 2% and your employer matches it. You have 4% savings. Do you sock away an additional 2% each paycheck? That puts your total savings at 6%. Explain how those amounts compound over time or how you have the money invested.
Talk about day-to-day efforts to save money. Discuss specific efforts in “real-time,” too, such as:
- Buying a frozen pizza at a store instead of home delivery can save $10. If you do that once a week, you could save $500 for the year.
- Need the newest mobile apps? They may cost only $2.99. But if you skip buying two a month, you save $70 in a year.
- Can cell phone usage be reduced and savings pocketed?
- Can a rarely used gym membership be dropped?
- Eliminate weekly restaurant splurges and save $100.
- Do you use coupons?
These items can result in $500 to $1,000 to save and invest. Demonstrate the importance of scrutinizing spending decisions.
There are other opportunities to pocket savings. For example, buying a used car or working a second job for a while could boost savings. Any windfalls – a work bonus, overtime or income tax refund – could be socked into savings, too.
My point is these combined efforts to save money can result in a sizable sum.