America Saves Week is a national campaign organized by various nonprofit, corporations, and government groups aimed at reaching increasing awareness that people need to save money and reduce debt. Its primary focus: encourage people to act by making a commitment to save, invest, and build wealth.
"This year, the focus is on making saving automatic," said Nancy Register, associate director of the Consumer Federation of America in Washington, D.C., and national director of the America Saves campaign. Here are three ways to do that:
- Sign up for or increase the amount you’re putting into your employer’s tax-deferred retirement plan (commonly called a 401(k) or 403(b)). The money comes right out of your paycheck, so after the first one or two pay periods, you’ll never even notice that you’re putting it away.
- Open an individual retirement account (IRA) and set up regular deposits from your checking or savings account. The maximum amount you can contribute to an IRA in 2008 is $5,000, which comes to $96 a week.
- Build an emergency fund by setting up automatic deposits into a money market mutual fund or savings account. A well-funded emergency savings account has three to six months of living expenses.