According to GoBankRate, 56% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Over half of this group actually said they have ZERO in savings when participating in the study.
When looking at demographics, it is no surprise that 72% of Millennials are in the category for the worst savers. This generation has been plagued with low wages and a government-fueled bubble in college tuition. This has left them saddled with student loans, credit card debt, and part-time jobs with bachelor’s degrees. Even though I am not a big fan of conventional retirement, I do think savings is a must.
No matter where you are in life, here are 3 great ways to save money regularly.
1. Create barriers. Savings shouldn’t be easily accessible. If it is, you’ll be tempted to spend it. In my own personal life, I can tell you that when my wife and I were in our 20s, because our savings was not connected to our checking account, we became creative and thrifty when we needed to be, rather than just simply making a transfer out of our savings.
When I say create a barrier, it just means make a withdrawal inconvenient for yourself or put it in an account where it will take days to become spendable cash. For liquid currency, try a small credit union 30 minutes from your house, and don’t set up online access. Start a whole life policy, where in order to make a withdrawal, you have to pick up the phone and wait 5 days for a check to arrive.
2. Precious metals. I don’t know what it is about holding a physical gold or silver coin in your hand, but believe me, you don’t want to sell it… which is why precious metals do make a great way to save – they preserve your purchasing power over time, and in order to convert your coins into cash, you have to either go find a local shop or call up a bullion dealer, who will force you to go to the post office, send the metal in, and wait for a check or wire.
Savings should be inconvenient to withdraw, otherwise it will just be a regularly tapped source to fill spending deficits. Force yourself to save and not spend too much.
3. Make it automatic. Set up contributions to a Roth IRA or a bill pay that sends a check to your local savings account at a credit union. Have the money taken out — no matter what — on a specific date. The second new income hits your bank account, either have an automatic plan for disbursement into savings or create a habit of making it the first thing you do on a payday.
Savings is the source of wealth; it’s opportunity cash, peace of mind, and what separates the rich from the poor.