Putting your savings on autopilot is the best way to ensure that you really do amass any savings at all. The thing is, most of us are slightly lazy and weíre just so busy that itís hard to think of tomorrow. But you can save without any pain if you automate it.

  • Pay Off Consumer Debt First ñ If you still have high interest cards, you need to put any extra money you have into that before you start a savings account.
  • Build Your Emergency Fund ñ If you do not have an emergency fund, you should build that before you save anywhere else. Most of the time an emergency fund should be right in the account that will need it, as you need to be able to move it quickly and without penalty.
  • Fund Your Short-Term Savings ñ If youíre saving for a car, a house, education, or something that youíll use in the next year or so, youíll want to fund that too. There are special cards that will revert some of your money to savings.
  • Fund Your Long-Term Savings ñ After all the above is eliminated, youíll want to add to your long-term savings. Long-term savings may be savings for something that will happen in five years or more.
  • Fund Your Investments ñ Investments are always considered long term and in this case, we are referring to this as retirement savings. Retirement savings is something you should start working on with your very first job. Try to save 10 to 15 percent of your pre-tax income in investments, assuming you started with your first job or at least in your low 20s.
  • Set Up Payments with Your Bank ñ Set up auto withdraws for all the above via your bank. You can also set these things up with your payroll department if you want them to send the money directly to the accounts mentioned.
  • Increase Your Savings ñ At least yearly, evaluate how your investment accounts are performing to find out if youíre meeting your goals. You should know how much you want to have by the time you reach a particular age. And if youíre not on the path, you can correct it now by increasing your automatic investment payments.
  • Check the Fees ñ Always double check how much it cost to do any transactions in your investment accounts. Some accounts charge per transaction, so if thatís the case you will want to save the money and make fewer transactions. If they charge nothing for deposits, that opens you up to deposit any windfalls or raises right away.

What do you think about putting your investments and savings on autopilot? Do you think this is a good plan for the future? And what do you think the pros and cons are of investing automatically? If you invested just $100 a month starting now for the next 30 years, what would you have? Itís a good thing to imagine the potential and understand the benefits of automation so that you can start investing now.


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