By Laura Royer
As a Personal Financial Manager (PFM), helping your military clients find a way to save money when they are not currently saving can be overwhelming and challenging, especially when they don’t believe they can afford it. Saving money is much easier than your client may think, but it will require them to make some changes in their habits and to start saving, slowly and steadily, while increasing savings over time. Here are some great tips to help your clients get started with saving money now.
- Stop Making Saving Money an Option. Most people believe saving money is important, but many are not saving money at all. The main reason for this is because households are still giving themselves the option to save money or spend it. The first thing your client must do to start a savings program is to stop asking themselves if they can afford to save money and just do it. If they ask themselves, “should I save money?” they’ll usually always say no.
- Have Your Client Start with Saving Any Amount. Some people avoid saving money until they believe they have “enough” to save. If your client is putting off saving because they can only save a little bit of money, help them understand the value of having something saved rather than nothing at all. The only way for your client to save a sizable amount of money is for him or her to start with the habit of saving money now. For example, have your client start with an amount like $5 per paycheck.
- Make Savings Automatic. Now that your client has established an amount of money to save, encourage them to set up the savings to be automatically deposited into a savings account. They can do this through the military’s or employer’s direct deposit process or have their financial institution auto-transfer the money over into a savings account. The key is to have it done without the client thinking about saving the money.
- Increase the Amount Being Saved. The goal is to for your client to increase how much he or she saves by a minimum of $5 per paycheck, at least every 3 months. By doing this, they will be saving a minimum of an extra $20 to $40 per month within a year’s time. This practice is what helps people increase the amount saved with ease, rather than worrying about having a large deposit to begin saving.
- Attach the Amount to a Savings Goal. Why is your client saving the money? Is he or she saving it for emergencies, to buy a home, to buy a car, or for some other reason? Naming the goal will help your client leave the money alone because the goal will remind them of why the money is being saved in the first place.
With these basic savings strategies for getting a personal savings plan started, it is easier to help your client take action and watch their savings grow.