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									Spring 2009




American
                                       Saver                                                       You Can Build Wealth



   W
   Extension Leads Saves                            MILITARY SAVER
   Week Efforts
           ith some 2,000 organizations partici-
                                                    Making Savings a Part of Marriage
           pating in America Saves Week ’ 09,
           the third annual event drew record
                                                                                                      In Eckhardt’s role as the Military

                                                    C
                                                            apt. Rob Eckhardt is the first to
  participation. Millions of people were                    admit that he hasn’t always been      Saves representative for his Air Force
  reached through local and national media,                                                       squadron, he works to find appropriate
  over 60,000 attended events, and tens of
                                                            responsible with money. But less
                                                                                                  investment vehicles for other troops,
  thousands opened or added to savings
                                                    than 10 years after a rocky start to sav-
                                                                                                  get more troops signed up for the
  accounts or took other action to increase
                                                    ing, Eckhardt reports that he and his
                                                                                                  Thrift Savings Plan (a retirement sav-
  their savings.
                                                    wife are free from credit card debt, have
                                                                                                  ings program for government employ-
         Even among so much activity, however,
                                                    a down payment on a home, and are

  the Cooperative Extension Service stood out
                                                    saving regularly for retirement. And, as      ees and members of the military), and

  for its significant contribution to Saves Week.
                                                    the Military Saves representative for his     helps spread the message about the

  An America Saves campaign partner since
                                                    Air Force squadron, he’s helping others       benefits of saving.

  2001, the nationwide educational network
                                                    make similar progress.                            During Military Saves Week,

  affiliated with land-grant universities and the
                                                         Eckhardt credits his personal success    Eckhardt planned a briefing and held

  U.S. Department of Agriculture provides com-
                                                    to working with his wife and “building
  munity education on a variety of topics,
                                                    up good habits that we were able to stick
                                                                                                                 “It was such a mental
  including personal finance.
                                                    with even after we got out of debt.”
         This year, Extension educators led
                                                         “I started from a pretty bad place,”                    relief for me to know I
  Saves Week outreach efforts in more than 75
                                                    he said. “I was a young single guy in                        had no credit card debt.”
  communities in 29 states. In many places,
                                                    Vegas, and it was not a lifestyle where
  educators lined up community coalitions to        you were thinking about your long term                       Capt. Rob Eckhardt with wife Elizabeth

  promote savings and enroll Savers, including      future.” He listed some things he now
  banks and credit unions, schools, public offi-    considers financial mistakes: leasing a
  cials, local non-profits and community service    brand new car when his old car was suf-       individual follow-up conversations for
  organizations.                                    ficient, spending too much money on           almost everyone in his squadron. “The
         In addition, Extension-led efforts         nights out, and racking up over $5,000        message I’ve been trying to get out is to
  included:                                                                                       eliminate debt, as much as possible,”
  • financial fairs, seminars and workshops;
                                                    in credit card debt.
                                                                                                  he said.
  • savings drives coordinated with local
                                                         But when he met his future wife and
                                                                                                       In talking with younger troops,
     financial institutions;
                                                    got engaged, Eckhardt and his fiancé
                                                                                                  Eckhardt recounts an experience he
  • events for children and families, including
                                                    began to prioritize getting out of debt and
                                                                                                  had in a cell phone store in Italy, where
     “ Piggy Bank Beauty Contests;”
                                                    becoming financially stable. Their com-

  • free tax preparation for low- and moder-
                                                    bined credit card debt was nearly             he is now stationed. As he was waiting

     ate-income individuals;
                                                    $25,000, so they started out by getting       in line, he listened to the young airman

  • media coverage; and
                                                    rid of their credit cards and setting a       in front of him debate about whether

  •proclamations from local elected officials.
                                                    budget. Eckhardt also shipped to Iraq         he should get a new iPhone, even

         Many of these and other Saves Week
                                                    shortly after his engagement, and the tax-    though he’d recently bought a new

  activities were funded by a grant from
                                                    free combat pay he received made it easi-     Blackberry and opportunities to use

  Capital One.
                                                    er to make ends meet.                         cell phones on base are limited.
         “ America Saves provides an ‘action
                                                         The couple saves money by “eating             “He was saying he would just blow
  component,’ where we give people an
                                                    at home 90 percent of the time,” he said.     his whole paycheck on a phone that he
  opportunity to save, which is a natural next
                                                    They also began tracking their spending       would barely use and had no need for,”
  step to educational programs,” said Nancy
                                                    and analyzing their budget together and       Eckhardt said. “So I would tell that
  Register, director of the America Saves cam-      would “celebrate if we paid off a credit      story, about how foolish it seemed to
  paign. “ That complementary relationship is       card or reduced some debt significantly.”     me that they would not be looking for
  one of the reasons we’ ve had so much suc-        He also credits his wife for being “very      ways to save money – after all, I’m not
  cess working with Extension educators and         responsible” about sticking to the budget     all that old and I’m trying to look for
  value the partnership.”                           while he was overseas.                        ways save.”


                w w w . A m e r i c a S a v e s . o r g
                                            Savings Strategies

                                            Emergency Funds Can Ease
    Financial Market                        Economic Concern
       facts                                        new report from the America           2) Set up an account at a bank or
        April 2009
        Money market
        accounts
        1-year CD
                                0.44%

                                1.32%
                                            A       Saves campaign, released in
                                                    February during Saves Week
                                            ’09, shows the effect the economic cri-
                                                                                             credit union.
                                                                                              But do so carefully, paying atten-
                                                                                          tion to fees, minimums, and other
        5-year CD               2.26%       sis is having on personal finances.           potential costs. Most banks and credit
                                                 Over three-quarters of people sur-       unions offer low- or no-fee savings
        U.S. Savings Bonds                  veyed said they are “concerned” or            accounts, and banks may waive their
        EE Bond                 1.30%       “very concerned” about the impact of          fees if you have another type of
        I Bond                  5.64%       the current recession on their personal       account with them. You want to be
                                            finances. When compared with                  sure you can get access to your account
        Mortgage Rates                      responses from the previous year, a           in case of emergencies. However, some
        30-year fixed rate                  slightly smaller percentage said they         people think it helps to make the
        mortgage           5.20%            believe they are saving enough for            emergency account inconvenient to
        15-year fixed rate                  retirement, and fewer said they expect        access, so that they aren’t tempted to
        mortgage           4.75%            to pay off their home mortgage before         spend it for non-emergencies.
        5-year adjustable                   retirement.
        mortgage           5.27%
                                                 Economic worry can be a major
                                            source of stress for individuals and          3) Find money to save.
        Sources: The New York Times,
        “Data Bank,” pg. BU 11, April 12,   families. It is cited as a top factor in          Many people start by saving loose
        2009 and www.savingsbond.gov,                                                     change, since saving 50 or 75 cents a
        April 16, 2009.
                                            divorces and marital fights. In addi-
                                            tion, financially stressed individuals        day doesn’t feel like much, and you
                                            report lost sleep, constant worry, and a      can accumulate hundreds of dollars
                                            sense of being out of control. Women          over time. Look for and cut back on
Family Wealth
       facts                                report an especially high level of con-       small, unnecessary expenditures.
                                            cern over money.                              Carrying a notebook to write down
                                                 That’s one reason experts recom-         everything you spend for a week can
        Americans Report                    mend setting aside savings for emer-          help you to find savings opportunities.
        Economic Concern                    gencies. It’s not difficult to do; individ-   The America Saves website
                                            uals at almost every income level have        (www.AmericaSaves.org) offers many
        “Concerned” or “very       77%
        concerned” about the                been able to build emergency funds.           practical savings tips from experienced
        effect of the recession             An emergency fund of $500 or a little         Savers.
        on their personal finances
                                            more can keep unexpected expenses
                                                                                          4) Involve your family.
        Saving enough for             49%   from becoming a financial nightmare.
        retirement                                                                            By explaining what you’re trying to
        Expect to pay off their   76%           The following tips can help you           do, and getting input on what expenses
        mortgage before retirement
                                            build your emergency fund:                    can be cut, you can make growing
        Own property and either 67%
                                                                                          your emergency fund a shared goal.
        have no mortgage debt               1) Make it automatic.
        or are paying down this
        debt                                    The most successful savers have             Uses for an Emergency Fund
                                                                                             Home or car repair
                                            money automatically withheld from
                                            their paycheck or automatically trans-
                                            ferred from a checking account into a            Unexpected hospital visit
                                                                                             Job loss
        Source: February 2009 Opinion
        Research Corporation survey com-    savings account. Once you set up an
                                                                                             Trip to visit a sick relative
        missioned by the Consumer
        Federation of America               automatic savings plan, you don’t have
        (www.americasaves.org/press).       to do anything more to see your emer-            Paying a parking or speeding ticket
                                            gency fund grow.


2
A Quarter Saved
    is a Quarter Earned
                                             Take advantage of discounts
N     o one knows better than
      Savers how to find the extra
dollar here and quarter there that,
                                         and/or incentive programs provid-
                                         ed through your employer. For
                                                                                    Send your savings tips to:
                                                                                    American Saver, c/o Consumer Federation
over time, add up to substantial         example, the company I work for            of America, 1620 Eye St., NW,
savings. Here are a few of their         offers discounted rates for comput-        Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20006.
                                         ers, fitness center memberships,                 If we select your tip for publication,
favorite savings tips.
                                         movie tickets and passes to sum-           we will send you a check for $25 (the
                                         mer festivals. Check your corpo-           initial purchase price of a $50 EE
                                                                                    Savings Bond) and an application for a
                                         rate intranet or talk to your human
                                                                                    $50 EE Savings Bond. We recommend
    I only purchase clothing that’s      resources representative. And don’t        purchasing a savings bond at a local
on sale. You will be amazed at how       forget the best deal of all – invest-      bank or credit union. Please include
much you can save by planning            ing in your 401(k)!                        your name, address, and phone number
ahead and waiting until the item                                  TINA MERWIN       so we can contact you.
goes on sale. Plus, I only buy                                   MILWAUKEE, WI
clothes that are machine washable
and iron them myself, which helps
me avoid dry cleaning costs. This            To cut my food cost down, I                  Plant a victory garden!
adds up to a substantial savings         started making a monthly menu                                                         PAMELA PRICE
for my family over the year.             and base my grocery list on the                                                   WILMINGTON, DE
                                         menu. By doing this I’ve saved at
                        JOSEPH COLLINS   least $200 a month.                       Editors Note: Fruit and vegetable gardens maintained by indi-
                         VACAVILLE, CA                                             viduals and families for their personal use were dubbed ‘victory
                                                                    JEANIE PRIEB   gardens’ during World War II, as these gardens contributed to
                                                                                   the war effort by easing pressure on the public food supply.
                                                                 CHARLOTTE, NC     Planting your garden can not only provide you with fresh,
    I work out at a gym five days a                                                healthy, locally grown fare, it can help you achieve financial
                                                                                   ‘victory’ by reducing your food costs.
week, and I used to buy a bottle of
water for almost every workout. I            It’s now fashionable to not only
decided to start reusing the plastic     pack your own lunch instead of
                                         eating out, but to also use a cloth
bottles, which saves me $30 a
month. Just that small change has        lunch bag. Packing your lunch in a          American
                                                                                                     Saver
helped me save money and helps           reusable bag eliminates the cost of
protect the planet.                      disposable bags and helps save the
                                         environment.
                     GRACIELA CALDERA                                                 American Saver is the quarterly newsletter of
                 HUNTINGTON PARK, CA                               GAIL BOBISH
                                                                LANDENBERG, PA        the America Saves campaign, a national
                                                                                      program to encourage and assist Americans
                                                                                      to save and build wealth more effectively.
    After making a personal com-
mitment to paying off my credit              One way to establish a savings           The campaign is coordinated by the non-prof-
card, I determined how much I            discipline is to “save” an amount            it Consumer Federation of America (CFA),
would have to pay each week in           equal to whatever is spent on non-           supported by national foundations, and

order to pay off my bill within a        essential indulgences. Put a match-          advised by dozens of non-profit, government,

year. There were weeks when I            ing amount in a cookie jar for               and business groups. A generous grant from
                                         expenditures for beer, wine, ciga-           Wachovia Bank supports the publication and
couldn’t make the payment, but                                                        distribution of the American Saver.
overall I didn’t get discouraged.        rettes, designer coffee, etc. If you
Once I could see how I could pay         can’t afford to save the matching            Questions about how to start a local savings
off the debt, it didn’t seem that        amount, you can’t afford the $4              campaign in your area should be directed

overwhelming.                            super almond low-fat latte.                  to: Nancy Register, America Saves, c/o
                                                                                      CFA, 1620 Eye St., NW, Suite 200
                                                                C.R. STEVENSON
                        TINA SHOCKLEY                                                 Washington, D.C. 20006; 202-387-6121
                                                                SCHAUMBURG, IL
                      GREENWOOD, DE                                                   (phone); 202-265-7989 (fax); nregis-
                                                                                      ter@consumerfed.org.

                                                                                      American Saver Editor: Barbara Roper
                                                                                      Assistant Editor: Rose Garr


                                                                                                                                                      3
   News                                     F R O M        L O C A L       C A M PA I G N S
   Note: This is not an exhaustive list of the activities of all America Saves sites, but rather a sampling of activities from several of the local
   campaigns. For a more complete list of America Saves campaigns, be certain to visit our website at www.americasaves.org.

        York County Saves (ME) hosted                events during Peninsula Saves Week.                hand to help celebrate the occasion
   “Surviving to Thriving: Getting                   More than 300 new savings accounts                 were Delaware State Treasurer Velda
   Through Today’s Tough Times,” a free              were opened at participating banks and             Jones-Potter, New Castle County
   program focused on helping families               credit unions during the Week, with                Executive Chris Coons, and America
   spend wisely, budget, and save during             total deposits of over $60,000.                    Saves Director Nancy Register.
   tough economic times. The program                      Over 400 people attended an Eco-                   DC Saves held its 2nd Annual DC
   was designed and presented by a part-             Nomic Living Expo hosted by                        Saves financial fair in April. Over 20
   nership that included the York County             Okaloosa Saves (FL) during Saves                   exhibit tables included financial institu-
   CA$H Campaign, York County                        Week. The event included exhibits,                 tions, employment training programs,
   Community Action Housing Services,                workshops, and the “Piggy Bank                     youth financial education programs,
   the Strong Fathers Network, and                   Pageant.” A highlight of the day                   and legal services. The campaign also
   Women, Work and Community.                        included a talk by financial expert                offered 10 seminars ranging from credit
        Wisconsin Saves kicked off Saves             Deborah Owens, who advised the audi-               and savings to foreclosure prevention
   Week with a press conference in                   ence to “Nickel and Dime Your Way to               and starting your own business, offered
   Milwaukee headlined by Wisconsin                  Wealth.” Remodeling expert Danny                   one-on-one credit counseling, and had
   State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass. The              Lipford talked about “Going Green on               certified financial planners available to
   press conference was featured on local            a Budget.” The campaign also did                   address questions on all areas of finan-
   TV and in newspapers statewide. The               extensive media outreach and was fea-              cial planning and management.
   campaign also hosted saving workshops             tured on billboards, radio, television,                 Colorado Saves Week organizers
   and a training event to encourage local           and in newspapers.                                 in Ft. Collins held a create-a-piggy-
   community organizations and financial                  Kansas City Saves reached more                bank contest at a local mall, attracting
   institutions to get involved in the cam-          than 200,000 citizens this past winter             both youth and adult Savers competing
   paign.                                            thanks to partnerships with several                to win U.S. Savings Bonds. Governor
        Pierce County Saves (WA) spon-               media outlets that featured savings                Bill Ritter also declared Feb. 22 to
   sored a “Connect With Your Money”                 advice and profiled successful savers              March 1 Colorado Saves Week.
   day-long event that included financial            during Saves Week.                                      Illinois State Treasurer Alexi
   workshops and motivational talks.                      First State Saves kicked off Saves            Giannoulias hosted a “Smart Women
   Three area banks and four credit                  Week in Delaware with a tribute to                 Smart Money” seminar in March for
   unions promoted savings and helped                Rashmi Rangan, executive director of               Champaign County Saves. More than
   customers open new savings accounts               the Delaware Community Reinvestment                275 people were on hand for the event.
   during the week.                                  Action Council (DCRAC). The cam-                   The campaign continues to offer free
        More than 1,000 people in the                paign gave Rangan the 2009 Saving                  weekly classes and other ongoing
   Newport News, VA area were reached                Star Award in honor of her dedication              events.
   through classes, publications and other           to financial education in Delaware. On

                        w w w . A m e r i c a S a v e s . o r g




                                                                                                             Washington D.C. 20006
                                                                                                             1620 Eye St., NW
 PERMIT NO. 8772
WASHINGTON, D.C.                                                                                              You Can Build Wealth
     PAID
  U.S. POSTAGE
                                                                                                             AmericaSaves
    PRSRT STD

								
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