Don’t Follow In Your Parents’ Money-Saving Footsteps

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When it comes to saving money, it’s probably a good idea to do what your parents tell you to do, rather than what they do.

Harris Interactive’s latest survey, conducted for reverse mortgage lender and IndyMac Bank subsidiary, Financial Freedom, found that 56 percent of those aged 62 to 75 would have started saving earlier if they had to do it all over again.

Given the high and fast growing-cost of housing, that’s smart advice.

One of the best ways to avoid riskier, interest-only, zero down, adjustable rate mortgages, perhaps with the added expense of private mortgage insurance, is with a hefty down payment in cash that will also net you the best loan interest rate.

A down payment of 20 percent or more tells the lender financially you’ve planned well and long for your home-buying transaction and you’ve got the cash to show a big personal stake in the investment.

Unfortunately, the youngins may not be paying attention — especially women.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Federation of America, along with Visa USA found women squirming about their financial status because 42 percent of those surveyed said they had emergency savings of less than $500 and 55 percent of women, between the ages of 25-34, said that they did not maintain an emergency savings account of at least $500.

“Abysmally low,” is how Keith Millner, senior vice president for the In-Retirement business segment of Nationwide Financial Services, described consumers’ current savings rate.

Americans socked away only 0.6 percent of disposable income in May, according to recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“It’s definitely not enough for a comfortable retirement,” adds Millner.

In yet another recent study, Marketdata Enterprises in “Check Cashing, Money Transfer, Payday Loan Services & Pawnshops: A Market Analysis,” found that 12 million U.S. households, 35 percent of them, are “unbanked,” that is, they have no checking or savings accounts with mainstream banks. Instead those households commonly use alternative financial services, including check cashing outlets, payday loan outlets, money transfer services, and pawnshops.

Chances are, they’ll wind up like their wistful seniors.

The Harris survey also found, if they had to do it all over again:

  • Sixty-percent of seniors would have begun saving before the age of 30.
  • Thirty-four percent of seniors would have begun saving between the ages of 30-39.
  • Six percent of seniors would have begun saving between the ages of 40-49.
  • One percent of seniors would have begun saving between the ages of 50-59.

Why?

Sixty-five percent of those who would have started saving earlier have less that $50,000 in investable assets and 63 percent plan to rely upon the questionable Social Security system as their primary source of income.

The study also found that 39 percent of seniors wished they had allocated a greater amount toward their retirement plan and 27 percent are remiss about not putting more money in less risky investments.

Visa is targeting women with its Save $500 Challenge, a program offering weekly emailed finance and savings tips and eligibility to enroll as an American Saver, an America Saves service open to anyone, which entitles consumers to free information and financial planner advice.

Consumers can also access Practical Money Skills , Visa’s online personal finance curriculum for consumers of all ages and financial needs.

Read your privacy rights before signing up for any free information and, whenever possible, opt out of any credit card offers or other marketing come-ons that could distract you from learning the financial ropes.

While the free information is valuable, Visa is not a nonprofit agency, but a corporate operation that thrives on income derived from the use of credit cards.

The information you received is best learned before you venture into the world of credit.

Written by Broderick Perkins

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