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Get Serious About Saving

By on February 23, 2011

We received some great feedback about the steps to save money in our first article. Now, in Part II of our series on savings we’re still  talking about ways to keep money in your bank account but also the underlying principles that will help us all be financially prosperous. 

Principle I     In an effort to dissolve the economic divide between African-Americans and Caucasians we must learn to respect money and not look at saving as something “other folks do”.  By becoming more informed about money matters, the difference between good debt, bad debt, etc. you will build your tool box of financial tools and be able to apply them to your life.  Once we educate ourselves, we will be more inclined to share with our loved ones.  It’s the only way to become financially independent.

 The Ariel Investments 2010 Black Investor Survey notes that African-Americans are more likely than Caucasians to curtail their saving and investing in the last two years in order to make it through the recession.[1]

  • Nearly half of all African-Americans (compared to 31% of Caucasians) dipped into savings to make ends meet.
  • Additionally, 27% of African-Americans who participate in a 401(k) (compared to 16% of Caucasians) reduced the amount they contribute per month.  African-Americans are nearly twice as likely as Caucasians to have reduced contributions to 401(k) plans.
  • The median amount African-Americans contribute to their retirement plans is $230 per month, compared to $337 a month contributed by Caucasians. The median assets African-Americans have accumulated in their current retirement plans are $56,000, compared to $106,000 accumulated by Caucasians.
  • Of non-retired African-Americans, 22% (compared to 14% of Caucasians) borrowed or withdrew money from a retirement account.

 Principle II     Plan for the future or else. The number of Americans overall who admit they have no retirement savings is on the rise. There are many reasons why this is but the fact of the matter is that “paying yourself first” whether a Roth IRA, retirement account, etc. is the only way to stay out of the poor house in your golden years. 

A staggering 8 million baby-boomers will be turning 65 this year at the rate of 8,000 people per day, according to the AARP. The group notes that for them, “age 65 probably won’t be a magic milestone marking the beginning of retirement. It will just be another year before they get closer to their goal. In this new world, 70 is the new 65.”

 Principle III     Be patient and diligent when it comes to meeting your savings goals. Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time sensitive. For example, “I will save $150 per month this year by taking my lunch to work vs. eating out and put the money into a retirement account.”This example is specific, has a measurable amount, realistic because money is saved from eating out, it’s a realistic goal given the average cost of lunch and it has a timeframe.

 As you see success revisit, your goals, increase the savings amount, and consider different investment opportunities. Ronald Wadley will talk about different investment options in the next article.

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