Excuse #1: I know I should be saving, but I just don’t know how to get started. Here’s how to get past that. “Kick-starting your savings is surprisingly simple,” said Madeline Daniels, communications director for America Saves and Consumer Federation of America. “Savers with a plan are twice as likely to make good progress meeting their savings needs for things like rainy days and retirement.”
What’s a great first step? Daniels said it’s “creating a simple savings plan by setting a goal such as saving for your education, then writing down how much you’re going to save each month and how long you’re going to save for.”
Bonus Tip: Once you have your plan, Daniels notes that the easiest way to save is an automatic process. If you have an employer that uses direct deposit, have a portion put into a separate savings account. If you don’t have the option for direct deposit or are self-employed, just set up automatic monthly transfers into your saving account through your bank or credit union.
Excuse #2: Why bother saving money when you can just lose it in the market? The stock market has been a little crazy lately, no doubt. But that’s no reason to bail on investing, or savings in general. Michael Dinich, a financial advisor who runs website YourMoneyGeek.com, said he thinks many advisors forget that the Great Recession of 2008-2009 left a lot of scars. “Many young people either personally suffered during the worst of it or saw their parents lose money,” Dinich said, adding that that’s hard to get over.
Dinich compares getting started with investing to kicking off a new diet or exercise routine. “It sounds totally backwards from what many advisors in the industry do, but I like to start young people off with safe investments like indexed annuities or modified endowment contracts,” he said.
He says this helps set up new savers to have good experiences early on because a negative experience may turn them off from investing or saving. It’s the softer, easier version of saving.
Excuse #3: With interest rates so low, it’s not going to benefit me or make an impact. Eric Nisall, creator of online course Bookkeeping for Bloggers, reminds his clients that “it’s not just about getting rich.”
“It’s also about having another tool in your ‘financial toolbox’ for security and peace of mind that you’ll have something in case of emergency,” he said. “Regardless of the interest rate you may be getting on your savings, anything is better than zero as a rate of return.”
That said, it doesn’t hurt to research the interest rates, fees and fine print anytime you’re putting your money into something new. Check legitimacy before transferring or depositing any money, as well, and be wary of anything that offers returns that seem too good to be true. This will help you avoid scams.