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Almost Forgot: It's America Saves Week

By Dian Vujovich

You’d think saving money would be first and foremost on my mind given the times. But what can I say–somehow I forgot that February 22 -March 1, 2009 was America Saves Week.

Oh well, there’s still time to get into the spirit and make a conscious effort to sock a few pennies away.

This is the third annual America Saves Week, a program that initially was started to help lower income people pick up some tips and ideas about saving. Now, however, all of that has been expanded and its purpose has become one that helps promote savings and savings behavior to everyone.

News from their Web site, (http://www.americasavesweek.org) revealed that last year more than 80 national organizations were a part of the program, 75,000 people attended 1,800 events around the country, and “tens of thousands joined the America Saves campaign and committed to begin saving.”

That’s pretty impressive. Equally as impressive are all the companies and organizations that are a part of the program and all the solid info available at AmericaSavesWeek.org.

To whet your better-start-saving-today whistle, here are some questions from the Test Your Savings Knowledge section of the Web site. Following the answers are my savings comments:

Q. How much loose change is available for Americans to save?

A. The U.S. Treasury says that Americans hold about $15 billion in loose change.
(Time to start digging through those sofa cushions.)

Q. What is the typical amount of emergency savings that Americans need?

A. According to one recent survey, the typical amount Americans spent last year on unexpected expenditures was $2000. Surprisingly, lower-income households in the survey cited the same amount. (Two-thousand dollars? That ‘s it?)

Q. What are the two most important types of emergency expenditures?

A. According to the same survey, two-thirds of unexpected expenditures were related to medical care or motor vehicles. (What about spa emergencies? )

Q. How long does it take to completely pay off a $1000 credit card balance if monthly payments are 2% of this balance and there is a 24% penalty interest rate?

A. One will never pay off balance. All payments pay off only interest owed. (Oh my.)

Q. About how much more do families with a savings plan save than those without such a plan?

A. According to one study, if family incomes are the same, those families with a plan save about twice as much as those who do not have one. (Trusts, anyone?)

Q. If they have no other income, how much must someone who retires at 65 have saved in order to be assured of an annual income of $50,000?

A. For a male at age 65, he should have $620,000 saved to ensure an average income of $50,000 a year for life, for a female at age 65, she should have $665,000. (Why does life cost women so much more than it costs men?)

Q. If one saves $200 a month with a 5% annual yield, after 30 years how much savings will have accumulated?

A. Over $170,000 will have accumulated, and most of this amount will represent interest earned and compounded. (And that will get we what?)

Glad this savings thing is only for one week.

Read the rest of the story at
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/20/business/0222-pay-graphic.html?ref=business and weep.

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