Everyone is aware that they need to put money aside for retirement and emergency situations like a broken heater in the dead of winter. Yet, like so many other things in life, putting money down for the future is easier said than done.
Americans aren't the best savers even if they have a low unemployment rate and rising household income. The US Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in October, the typical American saved just 3.1% of their discretionary income. Trading Economics, a distributor of international economic data, places that figure in contrast to the savings rates of 19.3 percent in Japan and 5.5 percent in the United Kingdom.
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According to Nobel laureate and famous behavioral economist Richard Thaler, who was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the assumption that everyone will figure out how much they need to save and really follow out the plan is "clearly ridiculous." Recognizing where you fall short and bolstering those areas with tactics that make good choices easier than you would otherwise have to think about is the key to saving more.
We've done the legwork for you and uncovered strategies with some research to back them up, which may help you save costs further. In 2022, you may start saving more and doing it more efficiently if you follow the advice below:
Think present. Act now
Learning about yourself, and especially your relationship with time, can be the first step in resolving a financial crisis. That's because people's propensity to save money depends greatly on their time orientation, or how they view time in connection to their goals.
Researchers Leona Tam and Utpal Dholakia found in a 2014 research published in "Psychological Science" that people who view life as a series of repeated experiments are likely to save 74% more than those who take a more linear approach. Time is seen as something that can be moved forward, backward, or stopped in the eyes of those who have a linear time -orientation.
The research of Tam and Dholakia indicates that people who have a cyclical mindset are more likely to save money over time since they anticipate that their future circumstances will be similar to the present. Rather than being overly confident in their future savings potential and putting off their savings until later in life, these folks will get a head start and start putting money away today. They are more likely to make saving a habit if they are now preoccupied with the act itself.
People who tend to live in the present moment may be less likely to save than those who focus on the past and the future because they may believe they will be better able to save later in life.
Automate your savings
It really is that easy. Behavioral economists have found that the best way to get people to save more money is to remove as many barriers as possible from the spending process.
According to Shlomo Benartzi, a behavioral economist at the University of California, Los Angeles, writing in the "Harvard Business Review" earlier this year, "if people have to actively think about saving, then they probably won't do it." He believed that automatic installments were the best approach to putting money aside for retirement.
More and more businesses in the United States are moving away from 401(k) enrollment rules that require employees to "opt-in" to join and toward policies that automatically enroll workers upon employment and require workers to "opt-out" if they wish to avoid participation. Fewer people would cash out their 401(k)s due to the increased difficulty of doing so.
Workers are more likely to save for retirement if they are automatically enrolled in a corporate 401(k) plan, according to a study conducted in 2005 by William G. Gale, J. Mark Iwry, and Peter Orszag.
You can set up automatic deductions from your paycheck that will go straight into your savings account, in addition to contributing to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. These days, it's common practice for companies to split your payment between several different bank accounts. So that you are less tempted to spend it, you can have money deducted from each paycheck and deposited into a savings account. You may find it easier to control your spending if you do this.
Automate Periodic Savings Increases
More than 21,000 employees from three separate organizations were followed in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Thaler and Benartzi conducted their famous "Save More Tomorrow" research.
The first of the three parts of the study involved the observation of 315 employees at an undisclosed industrial firm. A total of 160 employees voted to boost their 401(k) contributions annually for four years, with 32 dropping out over that time period.
They concluded that those who were willing to increase their contributions annually saw their savings rates nearly treble as a result.
The program's success exemplifies the force of inertia, or the tendency of a thing or a person to continue going in a particular direction until some effort is made to alter that path. Very few people ever revisited their savings allocations after enrolling, despite the fact that it was likely to increase annually in line with pay raises.
You can get the same or similar outcomes on your own. A good rule of thumb for those who feel they can save more regularly is to put away an extra 1% of their income every six months for retirement. Automatic step-up contributions, where your contribution amount is increased by 1% or 2% annually, are available with several retirement plans.
Certified financial advisor and president of Heller Wealth Management in New York City Larry Heller recommended that you increase your contribution amount for the next three pay periods and repeat until you reach your limit.
According to Heller's interview with MagnifyMoney, "you will be amazed that many people can adjust with a little extra taken out of their income."
Set an Actionable Plan with Negative Consequences
A lack of drive is a major factor in why people don't save more money. The "commitment contract" hypothesis was developed by Yale University economics professor Dean Karlan, who posited that setting a financial penalty for failing to save motivates people to really save.
The terms of the commitment agreement are as follows: People can use it to resolve to do something good for themselves, like saving money for students or spending less time on social media. In accordance with the terms of their agreement, they may be held legally responsible for any losses incurred as a result of their failure to meet the target.
The reasoning behind this strategy is that a contract with negative repercussions for not meeting terms will increase your incentive to conserve money.
Take, for instance, the case of a dedicated animal rights activist who makes a pact with themselves to save $2,000 in five months in order to take a trip abroad, but whose agreement stipulates that, should they break it, they must pay $70 for admission to the SeaWorld theme park.
No savings software that uses financial penalties for failing to save as planned is readily available. However, you can ask a friend or family member to be your accountability partner or join a social media group where members hold each other accountable. So long as you have a goal in mind, they can act as the "bad cop" to keep you on track financially. The expectation is that you will feel compelled to carry out your plan under close scrutiny, in addition to the contractual obligations you have already accepted. And if you don't hit the mark, this companion will force you to pay the price in a merciless manner.
Save that big windfall
Scholars According to a report published in 2008 by Peter Tufano and Daniel Schneider, recipients are more likely to put away money from a one-time payment or distribution than they are from a steady paycheck. It is more like an unexpected surplus of money when you receive your annual tax refund, inherit money, receive a performance bonus, or receive gifts for your graduation or wedding.
Whether it's a year-end bonus or a tax refund, if you're expecting a sizable sum this year, you might want to put most of it aside for future use. You may reward yourself for your efforts by setting aside money for long-lasting purchases like furniture, a car, or a house, while still allowing yourself leeway for the occasional splurge.