What are other countries doing?
Some countries like Germany are known for their frugal ways. According to this Market Place story Germans even have a National Savings Day where kids are rewarded for depositing their savings to the bank. As a society they didn’t have a positive experience with debt and that has translated to their personal finances too.
Other countries have encouraged savings successfully. According to this article by Sheldon Garon, the author of Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves, in Europe, consumer credit (credit cards and home equity lines of credit) aren’t as widely available as here in the US. Additionally, predatory lending is more highly regulated in Europe.
The article goes on to mention that policies that make saving small amounts accessible (i.e. no high fees) can be effective. Post WWII Japan did just that and “instituted postal savings banks that enabled small savers to open state-guaranteed accounts at the nearby post office.” That bank system is the world’s largest today.
How can we make a change?
We can nurture a culture of savings as well. Last year I wrote a post titled, How to Talk to your Kids About Money: From Toddler to Teen. Setting an example in your own life goes a long way to teach children about making savings a priority. Leading by example can also inspire each other.
America Saves, a non-profit organization that partners with SaveUp, is celebrating their annual America Saves Week from February 25th to March 2 this yearto encourage Americans to stay on top of their finances.
There are a number of other ways America Saves is encouraging us to put our money away.
1. Pledge to Save and Picture Your Savings Goal – This is so important! I encourage my clients to do the same thing. We set goals that are realistic, quantifiable and have a timeline. Then we come up with strategies to accomplish those goals and stay motivated. Log in to SaveUp to view the webinar I presented on this very topic: Personal Financial Organization and Goal Setting.
2. Test Your Savings Knowledge – Included here are some interesting fun facts. I had no idea that the US Treasury estimates there is $15 billion available in loose change we could be saving. They also found that families who have a savings plan save twice as much as those who don’t.
3. Assess Your Savings Progress – This link has a number of tools that will help you answer your financial questions on topics like paying off credit card debt and saving for retirement.
As I mentioned above, SaveUp is a partner of America Saves and is also a motivating tool that can help you track your savings progress and win rewards while doing so. Be sure to participate in America Saves Week, and of course, continue to SaveUp!
This post was written by SaveUp’s personal finance contributing writer, Catherine Hawley, CFP®.
Image source: Woman’s Day