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Financial Solution: For financial help, look to yourself first

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Saving prepares you for future opportunities and emergencies. While saving, you can also earn money as interest on your account and have peace of mind that you are financially prepared for the unexpected. A rough guideline for the amount you should save is 10% of your income.

An Automatic Savings Plan (ASP) is when you choose a specific amount of money to be automatically withdrawn from one of your accounts on a regular basis and put into a savings account. ASPs are often easy to set-up and free from account charges and transfer fees.

For example if you get paid $1000 each pay check, you should aim to save $100 every pay day. An ASP can help by automatically transferring the $100 into a savings account on each pay day, which avoids the temptation to keep the money in your daily account. If you get a promotion, try adding the extra money directly onto your ASP. This way you will not see the extra money in your account as it goes directly into your savings, therefore you are less likely to upgrade your lifestyle and dispense even more money than before.

Please note you need to have income at regular intervals for your ASP to work effectively. You can find out how to start an ASP very easily from information on your bank’s web site.

If you already have a checking or savings account but it doesn’t pay much interest, you can transfer your excess money into a high-yield online savings account. Some of these online accounts pay more than 4%, and you can link it electronically to your checking account at your local bank, so it’s easy to shift money from one to the other.