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By Alliant Credit Union
Bringing in a solid income, but still not saving quite as much money as you’d like? Don’t stress – there are many ways you can up your savings game that involve just a few small changes. These tips from NPR and Kiplinger can help you reach your savings goals without pinching every single penny and drastically changing the quality of your daily life.
Invest in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
This is a win-win for many reasons. If your employer matches a percentage of every dollar you contribute, you’re essentially being paid to save money toward retirement. Sometimes, a company will match 25% to 100% of your contribution, and up to 6% of your salary. From a psychological angle, even the most disciplined savers have an easier time saving when the money comes directly out of their paychecks. Be aware that many companies will automatically enroll you in a 401(k) plan and set contributions at merely 3% of pay, which is not enough to save for a successful retirement, so you’ll need to adjust your contributions according to your goals.
Find the right financial planner.
The right financial planner can help you reach your goals and save money, depending on your financial situation and needs. To find the right fit for you, look for financial planners who specialize in the area you need the most help with. For instance, if you need help preparing your tax returns, check out planners who have passed their IRS-issued test. This will ensure you get the most money back with help from an expert who knows the ins and outs of the IRS.
Once you do find a financial planner that meets your needs, make sure you give them a background check. You can determine whether they’re a Certified Financial PlannerTM professional by visiting CFP.net, and/or do a broker check with FINRA. If they give advice about investing in securities, you can do a broker search on the SEC’s website. The right financial planner is out there, it just takes a little time and research. But once you do find the right one, they’ll help you reach your financial goals by formulating a plan that matches your unique needs.
Change your saving psychology.
The way you think about saving is one of the most important factors in successful money management. For example, rather than viewing the $300 coming out of your paycheck and going into your 401(k) as lost income, think of it as deferred gratification – knowing you can use it when you’re ready can make it easier to see the dent in your take-home pay. By changing the way you look at saving, you can make a huge impact on your savings decisions.
Understand your savings accounts.
Pay close attention to your account fees. One percentage point or $10 a month may seem small now, but over 20, 30 or 40 years, those fees can eat up huge chunks of your savings. Do the math and see for yourself the long-term impact of bank fees on your finances, then consider a savings account with no fees – making the switch could save you more money than you think.
Learn more about Alliant’s High-Rate Savings account.