February 25th through March 2nd marks the 17th annual America Saves Week. The saying that “a penny saved is a penny earned” is well ingrained in American society. Whether saving to buy a family home, saving for our children’s education, or saving for a secure retirement, the notion that people should set aside some of their income today to provide for a better tomorrow is a powerful concept that has fueled the growth of our families, our communities, and the nation as a whole.
At the same time, saving is difficult. According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, only about 55% of households reported saving in 2016. Saving is hard, of course, because finances for most families are stretched to meet a variety of pressing demands all the time. No matter how good the intentions to save for the future, it always seems that some unanticipated and non-negotiable contingency manages to thwart the best intentions – for example, when the family car unexpectedly breaks down.
In light of all the uncertainties that make saving so difficult, it’s important that families have access to reliable, low-cost, and efficient savings options. Forum members, as large banks that channel savings into investment to grow the real economy, take saving very seriously. Across the nation, Forum members operate over 16,000 bank branches and offer multiple online options where families can open savings accounts and get important financial information to help them save for the future.
Bank of America and J.P. Morgan offer savings accounts without a monthly fee to children under 18 as a means of teaching kids about the benefits of saving. Citibank offers the Auto Save feature as a free service that allows customers to automatically transfer funds from one account to a savings account. Similarly, Wells Fargo offers a Way2Save account that automatically transfers $1 from your checking account to your savings account every time you make a debit card purchase or pay a bill online. Automatically putting money in a saving account or tying saving to everyday purchases is a good way of helping families secure their financial futures. Finally, the offer of online banking services is a huge boon to families looking for low-cost and efficient options to boost their savings. Like other Forum members, Goldman Sachs offers online savings through Marcus, which helps busy people manage their finances quickly and easily using the latest technology.
Saving for the future is one of the best decisions families can make to improve their financial well-being. Forum members are committed to being stewards of American families’ savings and offer a number of products and services to help families save.
Moreover, the data suggest that American families are saving more as the 55% of families that reported saving in the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances is up from 53% in 2013. While this is good news, all of us should consider doing a little more to help secure our financial future during this year’s America Saves Week.