“America Saves Week” is a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America. This organization uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to abet savings in low- to moderate-income households. The ultimate goal is to build wealth.
This year’s dates for “America Saves Week” are Feb. 22 to 27.
This mission aligns with MEDA’s longtime aim to build community capital for the low-income Latino community. This is especially true of the two-thirds of the nonprofit’s clients who are immigrants, as they first need to learn the rules of money in this country to be put on the path to a better life for their family.
There is a definite need for education when it comes to household finances across the nation. This is showcased in the ninth annual “America Saves Week” survey, released today, which found that just 40 percent of U.S. households report good or excellent progress in meeting their savings needs.
Other data from the survey:
- Saving at least 5 percent of one’s income (49 percent)
- Saving enough for retirement, with a “desirable standard of living” (52 percent)
- Automatic saving outside of work (43 percent)
- No consumer debt (38 percent)
It’s not all bad news.
The survey indicated that two-thirds of Americans are making at least modest savings progress, with 70 percent reporting at least some progress in meeting savings needs. There were 66 percent of respondents stating that they were saving at least some of their income, while 63 percent reported having an adequate emergency fund to pay for unexpected expenses such as car repairs or unexpected doctor visits – bills that seem to pop up each month.
Director Kathy Stokes of the American Savings Education Council explains the need for Americans to save as follows: “Saving just a small amount can add up over time. ‘America Saves Week’ is a great time to encourage people to start saving for retirement, even if the amount seems small.”
MEDA’s Financial Capability Program Manager Jackie Marcelos echoes this statement, “Part of our coaching of clients is to get them to understand how a $5 cup of coffee can add up over time. Save that $5 and see what happens after a month … after a year.”
Financial Capability is the thread that ties together the various free programs offered by MEDA.
There has been definite impact, with 1,256 positive financial outcomes reported by clients in 2015. This is based on a formula with the acronym DISC: reducing Debt, increasing Income and Savings, and bettering Credit.
As we celebrate “America Saves Week,” this is the ideal time to make a budget and a long-term plan for your family.