Accumulate wealth not debt during America Saves Week

Join this national initiative and make plans to increase your savings.

Debt in America is at an all-time high. Debt occurs when the wealth generated is less than the wealth consumed.  One can take a look at a real time snapshot of the nation or a state’s balance sheet with just a click of a button on the U.S. Debt Clock website. What can one do as an individual, employer, educator, financial institution or community to help reduce debt? 

A week-long national program is designed to address this very issue. Sign up and join others by participating in America Saves Week, February 24 - March 1, 2014.  Each year, America Saves Week, through its network of participating organizations including Michigan State University Extension,  reaches millions of Americans through a variety of programs, social media outlets, educational messages, and financial tools. In 2013, more than 1,000 organizations signed-up and reached 35 million people across the nation.

Participating in America Saves Week can be easy and fun!  By just signing-up, you can receive saving tips, informational newsletters, financial tweets, connect with a local campaign, make a pledge, and track your savings.

“Start small, think big” is the motto for America Saves Week. It all starts with a goal in mind.  What are you saving for? Try to make your goals S.M.A.R.T., which is an acronym that stands for:  specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Are you saving for spring break, a car, college, a home, retirement, or in case of emergencies? Once a goal is identified, the next step is to develop a plan on how you will reach your goal. How much will you need to save each week, or month, to achieve your goal by the time you set?

As an individual, do you have a savings plan? According to a 2013 survey compiled by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) only about 50 percent of American households have good savings habits. Specifically:

• 54 percent said they “have a savings plan with specific goals.”

• 43 percent said they “have a spending plan that allows you to save enough money to achieve the goals of your saving plan.”

• 50 percent of those not retired said they “save for retirement at work through a 401(k) or other contributory plan.”

• 41 percent said that, “outside of work,” they “save automatically through regular preauthorized transfers from checking to savings or investments.”

• 49 percent know their net worth.

Start saving today for tomorrow.  America Saves Week and Michigan State University Extension  have a wealth of personal finance tools and resources to help you get started today by making a savings plan to reach your goals. Many free programs on money management are offered for adults and youth  across the state and throughout the year.

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