“Saving saves lives,” as the saying goes. If you’d like to be better at saving money, we’re here to help. Having liquid savings that you can access is a good idea for both emergencies and opportunities. That way, in either scenario, you can have a cushion to fall on. You’ll be glad you have some savings even if everything goes smoothly: there’s nothing like the peace of mind that you’ll be okay no matter what life throws at you.
Despite the critical role savings plays in our lives, even the best saver could be doing even better. While many people have a small cushion, the typical recommendation is 3 to 6 months of income. And we’d suggest that there’s no limit to how much you can save! While something is certainly better than nothing, there’s no real “maximum” when it comes to your emergency/opportunity fund. (After all, the more you save, the more opportunities you can enjoy.)
Are you ready to be a better saver? Tackle these five steps below to up your savings game!
5 Steps to Better Savings Habits
1. Start Now
Seriously, the best time to start saving is yesterday. Yet today is the next best thing! Even if you don’t think you’re in a position to save, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of doing so. Otherwise, you’ll get in the habit of NOT doing so. If you can put away just a few dollars a month, you’re going to be in a better position than if you hadn’t.
You don’t build a savings account overnight, it takes patience and dedication. So just working on establishing that habit can work wonders. Then, next time you pay off a bill or a credit card, or next time you get a raise, you can bump up your numbers. You’ll already be in the habit of saving, so you won’t have to work hard at it when you’re more tempted to spend. Something is better than nothing, and you’ll be more than ready to save the excess by the time there IS excess to save.
2. Have a Multi-Purpose Account
One reason we love to call savings a fund for emergencies AND opportunities is because having a multi-purpose account is much more efficient. Many people get into the habit of creating separate pools for different savings objectives, which can lead to them spreading their money too thin. Many accounts with fewer dollars won’t be as strong as one account with your full “saving power” funding it.
An ideal place to store your savings is in a whole life insurance policy. By paying premiums on this permanent insurance, not only are you protecting your life, you’re also earning equity on the death benefit. This equity can be used however you like via the policy loan provision, without having to withdraw funds. This means you can fund an emergency or opportunity of any nature without reducing your account. You’ll continue to earn interest and dividends on the full amount of your cash value account. Then as you pay back the policy loan, just like a line of credit you’ll be able to use that money again for something else.
A multi-purpose account gives you flexibility because you create the largest pool of capital possible that you can use for any reason possible.
3. Save More and More
As we hinted above, one of the secrets to being a better saver is to increase your savings capability slowly over time. The typical goalpost for many people is 20% of every paycheck. This is a fantastic place to start… yet don’t be discouraged if that’s not where you are. Whether you can save 1% or 50%, everyone starts somewhere.
Then, any time you get a raise or have a little extra, save at least a portion of it. In no time, your capacity for savings will increase, and your pool of money will be better for it. There’s no magic number to achieve, just a habit to be created and honed over time. Slow and steady progress is going to help you level up your habits.
4. Pretend You’re Paying Bills
There’s no question where priorities lie when it comes to expenses—you’ve got to pay the bills. Yet in between bills and savings are dozens of other expenses. So by the time you think to save money, you’ve probably got less of it than you anticipated. A great way to get better at saving money is to act as if your savings transfer IS a bill, so you pay it first before you spend your money on other things. You won’t have to deprive yourself of “fun money,” you’ll just re-prioritize it.
The beauty of whole life insurance is that your premium payments act as both a bill and a savings deposit. That’s because every time you pay your premium, your cash value increases. You get the perks of a life insurance policy, with the capability of a savings account that earns interest and dividends.
(Note: When you’re just starting out, it’s not going to increase at the same rate as your premiums. That’s because the insurance company uses a portion of that money to cover the costs of insurance in the early years. However, after about 7-10 years, it’s common for your cash value to increase at a rate greater than what you pay in premiums.)
5. Save Automatically
The final piece to becoming the best “saver” you can be is to automate your savings. By that, we mean the equivalent of putting your savings on “auto-pay.” That way you don’t even have to think about it, your money automatically transfers to your savings account. Or, via a program like Currence can help you prioritize savings so you don’t have to think about it at all.
By creating this automatic system, you can save without having to think about it, no matter how much you’re saving.
Ready to Be a Better Saver?
Are you ready to create that savings habit and automate your savings? We’re happy to connect you with a Prosperity Economics Advisor who can help you buy life insurance or open an account with Currence so you can start saving today, as efficiently as possible.