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America Saves Week 2/19-2/25/12

February 19, 2012

America Saves Week starts today through the 25th. What is America Saves Week? It’s an opportunity for every person to access their saving status and raise awareness for healthy finances in their life. I try to promote healthy spending habits through this blog – follow The Market Squawk by email or on Facebook for the latest – and I always encourage creating a budget and knowing where your money goes. Managing your money may be difficult at first, but with practice (and perhaps a program or spreadsheet to help keep track of expenses!), you can learn how to not only reduce your spending, but save for the future as well.

If you join America Saves, here is what you will get:

Take action and join America Saves today. When you sign up, you create and commit to a basic savings plan.   You’ll also receive savings advice and information through newsletters   and emails. You can test your knowledge of savings with our savings quiz, or use the Access Your Savings Progress guide to assess the current state of your savings. As you are developing your plan to save,  these tips may help you cut costs on food, clothing, home heating and other expenses. offers fantastic links to access your savings progress to see if you are in a comfortable financial situation. Click “read more” for the questions and direct links!

Assess Your Savings Progress

Use the questions — and the resources listed beneath them — to assess your savings plan.

1) Do you know your net worth, that is, the dollar amount representing all your assets minus your debts?

America Saves Wealth Calculator 

2) Do you have a personal spending plan with specific goals and plans for achieving these goals?

Department of Labor’s Savings Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future

3) Do you have a personal spending plan that allows you to save enough money to achieve these goals?

NEFE’s Create a Spending Plan-Draw a Spending Map So You Don’t Get Lost 

4) Do you have credit card or payday loan debt?  If so, are you reducing this debt?

Credit Cards Utah State University Extension’s November 2001 Financial Fitness Fact Sheet: Reducing Credit Card Debt 

Payday Loans AARP’s Payday Loans Don’t Pay basics
5) Do you spend less than your income and save the difference? 

InCharge’s Spend Less Calculator

6) Do you have sufficient emergency savings to pay for unexpected expenses like car repairs and medical treatment?

AICPA’s Emergency Savings Calculator

7) Are you saving enough for a retirement where you have a desirable standard of living?

Ballpark E$timate Worksheet

8) Do you save for retirement at work through a 401(k) or other contributory plan?

FINRA’s 401(k) Investing Advice/Homepage 
9) Outside of work, do you save  automatically through regular preauthorized transfers from a checking  account to saving or investment account? 

AICPA’s Savings Calculator

10) Do you save a portion of tax refunds, gifts, bonuses, or other financial windfalls?

Choose to Save’s tips on What to Do With Your Refund?
11) Are you building equity in your home or other property?

AICPA’s Tapping the Equity in Your Home

12) Do you expect to pay off all mortgage loans before retirement?

AICPA’s Mortgage Payoff Calculator

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