As economic times get tougher for some, I wonder what effect this has on how much people are able to save. Are you finding that you are able to save more this year? Less? The same amount? In addition to your relative savings amount, has your saving priorities changed? For example, has your focus shifted to retirement savings as opposed to an emergency fund? Or maybe you’re trying to save up for a new house now that real estate is beginning to come down.
I also want to remind everyone that you still have some time left today to enter the SmartyPig gift card giveaway. I have two $50 SmartyPig gift cards that I’ll be giving away to a few random comments tonight. This extra money could be a good way to jump start your savings. You have until 9 p.m. EST tonight, so enter now!
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.
I have been trying to put around 20% of my income into savings. It's really hard to do consistently but I think it's important to begin to learn to live below my means. One of my good friends told me that one of the largest problems that people face is living right up to their limits of their income. I would love to plan and save for the future.
Jeremy, ok, I voted "More" but qualify it here in case you think it's bunk:
* I always aim to save more by spending less
* I got myself into higher-yielding vehicles this year (vis last year) but will have no earned income this year
* hence, in %-of-income terms my saving has really jacked up, but in nominal dollar terms my saving has fallen
Saving, investment, and re-investment (re-saving?) all kind of blur together for me. The only thing that is constant for me is a reduction of spending, which by definition always results in more saving.
ABBM, Don't feel bad about $20/mth. It's something to start with. I started with that myself awhile back.
I just paid off 2 items in my life and will be increasing my savings abit. I also will be going on my soon to be husband's insurance, thus freeing up another $90 a week in my paycheck.
With my freed up $ in my check, I will be able to put more money in my 401K as well my ING Direct. I plan on getting all the credit cards paid off shortly. I also plan to have an emergency fund put away. I can't wait for debt freedom
I guess what I had in mind by saving more, was a situation where you actively changed or increased your savings. Retirement, emergency fund, or otherwise.
If you always save a set percentage of your income and you happened to get a pay raise that resulted in more dollars being saved, that wasn't what I was thinking about in terms of saving more.
And yes, I do think that if someone is able to save more, it probably means they are spending less.
Jeremy, before I vote, would you clarify what you mean by "more" and "saving"? Is that in absolute or relative terms? The difference being that "more" in relative (% income, % net worth, % something) terms indicates an opinion that there is more value in saving this year than last year. Whereas someone who has a rising income and invests on a % of income basis (Fiscal Musings touched on this in her/his comment), could actually lower their % savings yet still end up saving "more" in nominal terms. Finally, what do you mean by "saving"? Does saving cover both investment and speculation? Or does it mean only insured depository bank accounts of some sort? You do ask for this in open-ended form for the comments, but you don't say how we should make our vote in this regard. Finally, in your view, is asking someone whether s/he saves more equivalent to asking her/him whether s/he spends less?
It's about the same for me, but I'm being much MORE aggressive with debt re-payment. By mid May, I will have paid off $12,000 in credit card debt and another $4,000 in my oldest daughter's braces. Next up...the car loan. After that, the student loan and then it's all over (except the mortgage!) Woo Hoo!
My only debt is a small ($73K) mortgage, so my savings continues to go toward retirement. A chunk of discretionary income ($425 a month) also goes toward paying off my mortgage.
Increased my pre-tax 401k contribution 1%. I do that each year. It's not a significant change in take home pay, considering it's broken down into 26 payrolls.
I got a significant raise (as opposed to a cost of living adjustment), so I upped my 401(k) contribution 2%. Plus, my household expenses have stabilized after living in my condo for 2+ years. Money has stopped flying out the door - yay!
Now I am adding to my emergency fund.
I'm saving about the same, but the whole situation is different. I'm now self-employed, have a higher house payment than our old rent payment, and have a second child. Yet, after all of that, the savings is about the same.
Saving as much cash as possible, with the intent of purchasing a home (probably in 2009), and also due to general weakness in the economy. Always good to have something to fall back on.
I am so jealous of your Zecco ad, but thats not the point of this comment, lol
Oh sweet and generous Jeremy won't you please bestow upon me the prize of a $50 SmartyPig gift card. This would be the boost we need to get saving aggressively..
That said, I am saving and squirreling away money now more than ever. My shopping addiction has been put on pause especially since Im not working due to internship and this recession business.
Even though money is *really* tight this year, my husband & I bumped up our direct-deposit-to-ING-savings-amount. It isn't much @ $20/mo, but it is double what we were able to do last year. Our main efforts this year are balancing the need to build an ER fund while paying down the heavy debt load we're carrying so we can get in shape to buy a home within the next 2-3 years.
i get a raise, and due to that, i kicked up my 401k contribution. i also hit my goal for my emergency fund. i'll be pushing money to another savings account, instead, so that i won't touch the emergency fund account at all anymore except in emergencies. the new fund will be cash on hand for other investments.
Increasing the Roth savings.
Plus saving for a house, after last year saving for and spending on our wedding.
For retirement, I am only saving more because teh government says I can. I think they increases contribution limits on Roth IRAs by $1,000 this year, and 401(k)s by, what, $500 or so?
If they would just remove the ceilings, I could save whatever I wanted, rather than abide by some arbitrary levels.