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
Discover what your current and future net worth are with America Saves’ Personal Wealth Estimator! By listing your financial and nonfinancial assets and debts, the Personal Wealth Estimator is able to calculate your current and future wealth for 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years in the future.
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
Learn how you can start your own financial fitness program that will enable you to live comfortably during your retirement years. The financial fitness steps and tips along the way also help you achieve all types of savings goals. IRAs, savings accounts, dealing with unexpected financial crises—hey are all addressed!
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
In four short steps, identify income, list expenses, compare income and expenses, and set priorities and make changes—you can make sure your day-to-day expenses do not distract you from your long-term spending goal. One of the 10 Basic Steps to Getting Smart about money!
4) Do you have credit card or payday loan debt? If so, are you reducing this debt?
Utah State University Extension’s November 2001 Financial Fitness Fact Sheet: Reducing Credit Card Debt
Use this simple table to list all of your credit card debt, and then follow the financial fitness tips listed to help you develop a plan to kick that credit card debt. While it won’t disappear overnight, step-by-step actions will eventually reduce the debt once and for all.
AARP’s Payday Loans Don’t Pay basics
Instead of considering a payday loan, read the story of Nancy, a consumer who used a payday loan for a quick $200, but ended up paying $500 in fees because she could not afford to pay the loan back. There are alternatives to payday loans and ways to prevent financial emergencies. Additional resources and links are also provided in this tip sheet from AARP. Don’t make the same mistake Nancy did!
5) Do you spend less than your income and save the difference?
InCharge’s Spend Less Calculator
Ever want to know how much extra money you could save each month if you cut out that daily coffee or weekly dinner? Use this handy calculator to determine your monthly savings if you spend less per month. See how eliminating certain budget, utility, and entertainment expenses will help you save big in the long run!
6) Do you have sufficient emergency savings to pay for unexpected expenses like car repairs and medical treatment?
AICPA’s Emergency Savings Calculator
Saving for a rainy day is always important, and with the Emergency Savings Calculator you can calculate how long it will take you to build up your emergency savings fund by taking emergency expenses, living expenses, and insurance deductibles into consideration. Don’t be caught in a lurch, use the calculator and find out how much extra you should save per month to be prepared for life’s unexpected events.
7) Are you saving enough for a retirement where you have a desirable standard of living?
Ballpark E$timate Worksheet
The Ballpark E$timate helps you quickly and easily determine how much money you need to save to live comfortably in retirement. Ballpark takes issues like Social Security benefits and earnings and converts it into language and figures that are easy to understand. Be directed onto a health savings path! (Available in both an Interactive and Non-Interactive version)
8 ) Do you save for retirement at work through a 401(k) or other contributory plan?
FINRA’s 401(k) Investing Advice/Homepage
Smart 401(k) Investing tips is full of advice on how to open a 401(k), different plan options, strategies on proper investing, as well as rules on how to manage, move, and withdraw funds from your account. Confused about the terminology? Visit the 401(k) glossary for help. Take charge of your 401(k) and become an expert!
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
Learn how consistent contributions to a savings account can add up over the years. Watch your wealth grow with the magic of interest!
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?
Before you consider frivolously spending your tax refund, consider using the extra funds to contribute to an IRA, make an extra credit card payment, buy a savings bond, or one of many other options that will benefit your financial future.
11) Are you building equity in your home or other property?
AICPA’s Tapping the Equity in Your Home
Before tapping into the equity of your home to send your child to college, remodel your home, or pay off your credit card debt, visit this site to consider the pros and cons of this possibly risky measure. While it may permit a higher borrowing limit, your home is considered collateral if you cannot make the payments. Only you can decide if this option is right for you.
12) Do you expect to pay off all mortgage loans before retirement?
AICPA’s Mortgage Payoff Calculator
With the AICPA Mortgage Payoff Calculator, you can discover how much money in interest payments you can save if you increase your monthly mortgage payment. Simply input the number of years remaining on your mortgage, the total length, amount, interest rate, and possible additional monthly payment you can make to determine how much money you will save overall!
Take action and enroll as an America Saver today.