NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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America Saves Week Feb 22-26

America Saves Week  Feb 22-26

            The rate of personal savings for Americans has picked up a fraction since recent economic woes but is still closer to zero than other numerals.   This translates into the fact that most Americans are not saving adequately for retirement, and most lower-income households do not have adequate emergency savings for unexpected expenditures like a car repair. America Saves is planning to offer some encouragement and tips for Americans who want to up their savings ratio.

            America Saves (http://www.americasaves.org/) is a nationwide campaign in which a broad coalition of nonprofit, corporate, and government organizations help individuals and families save and build wealth. All of the info and services are free of charge! Through information, advice, and encouragement, the America Saves program assists those who wish to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, save for a home, save for an education, or save for retirement.  

            Savings ideas from America Saves include:

1. Pay off high-cost debt. The best investment most borrowers can make is to pay off consumer debt with double-digit interest rates. For example, if you have a $3,000 credit card balance at 19.8%, and you pay the required minimum balance of 2% of the balance or $15, whichever is greater, it will take 39 years to pay off the loan. With accumulating interest, you will pay more than $10,000 in interest charges.

2. Buy a home and pay off the mortgage before you retire.
The largest asset of most middle-income families is their home equity. Once these families have made their last mortgage payment, they have far lower housing expenses. They also have an asset that can be borrowed on in emergencies or converted into cash through sale of the home.

3. Participate in a work-related retirement program.
Many employees turn down free money from their employer by not signing up for a work-related retirement program such as a 401(k) plan. If they did participate, with a dollar-for-dollar match they would likely receive an annual yield of greater than 100% on their investment.

                America Saves participants can register in person through a local Saves program or online at http://www.americasaves.org/enroll/..


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