Week 1 Challenge:
Savings

Steady Saver Superhero
“Save today, savor tomorrow!”
– Steady Saver

 

Dr. Rich Wisely SuperheroWelcome to the first week of our Superhero Financial Challenge. You should be commended for your desire to improve your financial well-being.

This week, I, Dr. Wisely will share resources that will send your savings soaring into the stratosphere.

No matter the status of your savings today, I will show you how to reach the next level in your super journey. Let’s begin…

Week 1 Challenge: Savings
for Beginner Savers

 

Congratulations on taking the first step of your journey. If you are committed to changing your future, there is nothing that can stop you. Saving money follows the same laws of many other important behaviors. Like many things, it is hard to do all at once but if you make it a habit and build momentum, you will be successful.

You do not yet have much money in savings so we will start you off with the fundamentals. Your first challenge to become a super saver will be to set up a recurring transfer to your savings account and enroll in your employer’s 401(k) account if offered.


Read the suggestions below. After you have completed one or more of these items, email DrWisely@unitusccu.com, include “Super Savings” in the subject line and tell me of your success. This will earn you a chance to win $500!*


How do you increase your savings? It is not easy, but it is simple once you know the way. Follow the guide below and you will be on your way to super savings!

Save up at least 3-6 months’ worth of expenses.

  • Calculate how much money you will spend in an average 3 months. Make a plan to have at least this much, if not twice as much, stored in savings accounts. This will help protect you against a wide range of unforeseen payments such as unexpected injuries, sickness, loss of a job, family member in need, or anything else that could happen. Especially if you lose your job, this will help you survive until you find a new one.
  • Treat this savings as an emergency fund that you DO NOT TOUCH under any circumstances, unless in dire need in a time of emergency.

 

Pay yourself with an automatic recurring transfer.

  • Open a new savings account, separate from your checking and other accounts. If you’re a Unitus member, this is easy through uOnline.
  1. Hover over Open Account > Savings > New Savings Account. Name your account anything you want, like “Rainy day fund” or “Safety net savings”.
  2. Select an account from the drop-down menu (an opening deposit is required). Read and agree to the terms and conditions.
  3. Hover over Transfers & Bill Pay > Transfers > Within Unitus Accounts > Recurring. Designate an account to set up a recurring transfer of at least $20 per pay period.
  • If not a Unitus member, you can follow a similar procedure through your financial institution. Also consider asking your employer to deduct savings automatically from paychecks. Some employers will take care of this for you.


Enroll in your employer’s 401(k).

  • This is the closest thing you will get to free money.
  • First, find out if your employer offers a 401(k). You can do this a few different ways, including:
  1. Ask a member of the Human Resources team
  2. Check the benefits booklet or intranet information supplied by your employer
  • If you are able to enroll in the 401(k), enroll this week. Work with your employer to set up an automatic contribution to the account every pay period. When you set this up, a small percentage (usually around 1-5%, but it can be more) of each paycheck will be put automatically into your 401(k) account, tax deferred. Your quality of life will be just as good as it was and you’ll be steadily saving toward your bright future!
  • Find out if your employer has a contribution matching program. If so, contribute at least as much as your employer will match. If your employer matches up to 3% of your 401(k) contributions each pay period, set up an automatic contribution of 3% each pay period. Of course, if you can afford to contribute more we encourage you to do so.

Weekly Challenge 1: Savings
for Moderate Savers

Congratulations on taking the first step of your journey – you have shown a clear desire to improve your financial well-being! If you are committed to changing your future, there is nothing that can stop you. Saving money follows the laws of many other important behaviors. Like many things, it is hard to do all at once but if you make it a habit and build momentum, you will be successful.

You are on the right track with your current savings. You have a savings account and that’s good. You contribute to it regularly, that’s good. Your first challenge to become a super saver will be to increase your regular savings contributions and maximize contributions on your retirement accounts.


Read the suggestions below. After you have completed one or more of these items, email DrWisely@unitusccu.com, include “Super Savings” in the subject line and tell me of your success. This will earn you a chance to win $500!*


How do you increase your savings? It is not easy, but it is simple once you know the way. Follow the guide below and you will be on your way to super savings!

Upgrade your payments – to yourself.

  • This will help protect you against a wide range of unforeseen payments such as unexpected injuries, sickness, loss of a job, family member in need, or anything else that could happen. Especially if you lose your job, this will help you survive until you find a new one.
  • To truly become a saving superhero, you must have at least 3-6 months’ worth of expenses saved up. Calculate how much money you will spend in an average 3 months. Make sure you have at least this much, if not twice as much, stored in savings accounts.
  • Great job paying yourself each month. Now it’s time to put some more skin in the game. Increase your monthly contribution to your savings account by 20%. If you put $100 in the account last month, put $120 in the account this month.
  • Keep in mind: the more income you make, the more you can save. Your end goal is to have more than 6 months’ savings stored away!
  • Once you have enough saved up, move your money from your savings account into a money market account. Unitus offers a money market account with no fees as long as you maintain an average balance of $2,500 or more.
  • Money Market accounts will provide you higher returns on your savings!

 

Use our resources.

  • We have consolidated a page full of helpful calculators to help you plan and reach your goals. With just a few minutes of tinkering on this page, you can get clear on exactly how much you will need to save on a monthly basis to reach your big life milestones. Plan to get that home loan. Find out how much to save today for a comfortable retirement. Learn what it will take to fund your child’s college education. All of that and much more is available, including the three calculators below:
  1. Want to see how to meet your savings goal? Use the Saving for a Goal Calculator. It will tell you exactly how much you need to save every month to reach your goal.
  2. Saving for retirement? Use the Retirement Planning Calculator to find out what you will need in retirement and how much you will have based on your current income. Combine this with the calculator above to find out how much you will need to save monthly toward your comfortable, secure retirement!
  3. Saving for a child’s college education? The College Planning Calculator will is incredibly flexible in the information it will provide. You can learn how much you’ll need to save monthly for tuition, how much annual tuition you can realistically afford within your budget, how many years to reach your goal, and more.

Optimize your 401(k).

  • Make sure you are contributing at least as much as your employer will match. Increase your contribution if needed, and if you can.
  • Rebalance your current investments. Should you adjust your target date? Do you have the right blend of stocks and bonds to match your current risk profile?
  • Some providers allow you to rebalance automatically. For others, a financial advisor can help you work out the right combination for your current life and risk situation.

Set up or optimize a CD or IRA.

  • CDs (Certificates of Deposit) provide higher returns than a savings account but require you to “lock” that money away in the account for a certain time period or pay an early withdrawal penalty. So if you have some money (say, $1,000) that you are sure you won’t need to access for a couple years, a CD can provide a low-risk way to get more out of your stashed money.
  • IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) help you take advantage of tax benefits while you save for retirement. Through the principle of compound interest, the earlier you start the more you can grow your wealth. It’s never too late to open one.
  • Unitus offers IRAs and Roth IRAs. These are convenient because like with the 401(k), you can have contributions taken right from your paychecks so you save automatically.

Did you know Unitus members have exclusive access to trustworthy MEMBERS Financial Services financial advisors located at Unitus Community Credit Union with decades of experience? Their contact information is provided below for your convenience. Call or email John or Todd from MEMBERS Financial Services to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Tell them you want to discuss your retirement plans and they will help get you on a track that works for your particular goals. Or take advantage of their other fields of expertise including retirement, investments, and insurance.

 

 

Check the background of these investment professionals on FINRA’S BrokerCheck.

Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member of FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America.

Super serious about saving?

We have a secret weapon – our Stewards of Savings, roaming far and wide to make sure good people stay prepared for their bright future. It is said that they will appear when the student is ready. How can you show them you are ready? Answer the call below and a Steward of Saving will reveal themselves to you and help you change your life forever! Click here to get started.

Week 1 Challenge: Savings
for Advanced Savers

Congratulations on taking the first step of your journey – with your savings you have demonstrated a clear desire to improve your financial well-being, and the wherewithal to follow up on your vision! Remember that if you are committed to changing your future, there is nothing that can stop you. With your savings habits and momentum, you have the potential to generate lasting wealth through savings.

You are saving like a superhero. You have more than 3 months’ expenses saved. You regularly contribute to your savings. You are taking full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) account, or your own personal retirement account if your employer does not offer one.

Your next challenge will be to optimize your 401(k), boost your savings even more, and keep momentum on your regular monthly payments.


Read the suggestions below. After you have completed one or more of these items, email DrWisely@unitusccu.com, include “Super Savings” in the subject line and tell me of your success. This will earn you a chance to win $500!*


You make saving look simple! Follow the guide below and bear witness to just how high your savings can soar!

Optimize your 401(k).

  • Set up the auto escalation feature on your 401(k) so that any time your income increases, your automatic 401(k) contributions increase as well.
  • Increase your automatic contribution by 2% or more.
  • Find out if your employer offers a Roth IRA within the 401(k) plan and set up or increase your automatic contribution to it every month.


Boost your savings.

  • What are your average monthly expenses? Could you still live off of say, 80% of that number? (See the note on hedonic adaptation below.) For the next month, take your regular monthly savings and add 20%.
  • Put at least 80% of either your tax refund or your yearly bonus into savings.
  • Add $3,000 or more to your retirement savings.


Keep monthly momentum.

  • Did you just pay off a car loan or home loan? You are in an extremely valuable position. Don’t let that money run free. Take that regular payment and keep paying it monthly – but to yourself! Take that exact monthly payment and add it to a savings or investment account each month.
  • Here’s why this is a great move. Thanks to the psychological principle of hedonic adaptation, you will pretty quickly adjust to whatever style of life you are living, and after a few weeks you’ll be just as happy as if you had “more” things or “nicer” things around. So while it’s tempting to take that free money and splurge, stick with the lifestyle you love today so you won’t run out in retirement.

Want a second opinion on saving?

We have a secret weapon – our Stewards of Savings, roaming far and wide to make sure you stay prepared for your bright future. It is said that they will appear when the student is ready. How can you show them you are ready? Answer the call below and a Steward of Saving will reveal themselves to you and help raise your savings! Click here to get started.

Summon your Steward of Saving

Fill out my online form.

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