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Comments on Auto Savings "Joke"

October 9th, 2007 at 10:35 am

I knew my blog slamming auto savings would garner some reactionary comments from those who are successful at saving money on such programs. And I guess I should give such programs the credit they deserve. They can be VERY helpful, but only for a few. Of course such programs have helped thousands of people save some serious cash, as IMASAVER pointed out to me, with he or she's $19,000 in interest and not having withdrawn a dime this whole year. But unfortunately, IMASAVER is the exception, not the rule. It's wonderful that this person is doing so well, and the reason they are is likely because they have their spending under control. But what about debt? If you have a mortgage or are paying interest on consumer debt, whatever people make in 401(k)s, IRAs and savings accounts cannot keep up with the debt interest. Another thing is taxes. Most people do not understand the full affect that taxes have on whatever they earn in interst on their savings programs, since when you run the numbers using a financial forecasting calculator, you will find that 75% to 95% of savings and retirement funds are subject to some form of tax, and that eats away at whatever interest you're earning. Unless that rate is down around 25% you're not making any money in the long run (and you can get it down, but you have to be aware of how high it is first!) You might get some nice bank statements showing interest earned, but it gets eaten up in other ways if everything isn't working together and few really understand that. The long and short of it is you have to have your spending, debt, and taxes under control and all working together AT THE SAME TIME in order to really come out ahead. A forecasting calculator that looks at the Time/Value of Money will show you what your money's really worth.

Nika asks why such savings programs don't work for most and do I have any statistics. Yes, here's the stats and I've already explained above why such programs don't work for most people.

1. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2007, as a nation we’re saving just under 1 percent of disposable income, which is 6 percentage points lower than the average savings rate for the past three decades.

2. Inflation is a problem but consumerism lives on!: According to a September 2007 article in Forbes quoting statistics from the U.S. Commerce Department, despite rising prices, American consumers continued spending in August. What was especially surprising was that they did so while earning less – a pattern that is not sustainable.

3. The Commerce Department reported in September that personal income rose 0.3% in August, a decrease from the 0.5% rate in July, while consumer spending rose 0.6% in August. Spending was expected to increase 0.4%.

Consumer spending goes on and on, that's why auto savings programs don't work for most. If your spending is out of control, you may earn money in such programs, but you'll more than likely have to take it out to make up for how you spent!

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