Column: Security in Savings
By Treasurer David McRae
More than half of Mississippians, about 56 percent, have fewer than $1,000 in savings. What’s more, about 38 percent have no savings at all. So, what happens when the tires wear out on your car, a child gets hurt, or there’s something on your home that needs repairing? It can be a scary situation, which is probably why about 53 percent of Americans report feeling anxious about their finances.
April is Financial Education Month, so I’ll be spending the next few weeks focused on sharing some tips and tricks to help families improve their saving skills. With so many in Mississippi living paycheck-to-paycheck, there are no easy solutions. But even a few dollars a week can make a big difference – and depending on your goals, the State Treasury may be able to help you save for some of life’s biggest expenses, such as getting a college degree.
Today, only about two out of every five people keep a budget, so creating a financial plan would be a productive first step for most Mississippians. Budgets help you map out your financial goals, such as paying off credit card debt, buying a home, or saving for a child’s college tuition. Regardless of the objective, having a budget will also give you a baseline from which you can track progress. Most importantly, it helps make you aware of where your money is going and how much you can feasibly spend and save each month.
The State Treasury has a number of resources that can help you create a budget. I encourage you to visit Treasury.MS.gov/FinancialEducation to learn more.
The truth is that it doesn’t take much money to feel a bit more secure in your savings. Even small amounts can add up quickly.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey did some of the math for us. “If you invest $100 a month for 40 years (a normal working lifetime), you’ll have $1,176,000 saved for retirement,” he writes. “Most of us blow $100 just eating out each month, so think about how much you’ll have if you get out of debt, have an emergency fund, and then invest 15% of what you make.”
I encourage you to take time this week to reassess your own finances. Sit down and make a budget. Could you find an extra $25 a week? Try putting it into a savings account – or better yet, consider investing it. Before long, you’ll feel more secure in your savings, and possibly less anxious about the state of your finances.
For resources to make budgeting easier, please visit Treasury.MS.gov/FinancialEducation. Happy Financial Education Month!
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi. In this role, he helps manage the state’s cash flow, oversees College Savings Mississippi, and has returned more than $20 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov.