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Savings Guide 2006

Savings story

  We may be saving less than ever, but money DOES buy happiness.
9 best reasons to save money

When it comes to saving money, there are two types of people -- those who save and those who wish they were saving.

Unfortunately, "saving is simply not part of most people's behavior pattern," says Frank Congemi, a Deerfield Beach, Fla., registered financial gerontologist and investment adviser who helps clients with retirement planning. With the rate of personal saving now at record low levels in the U.S., it's a good time for those who know they should be saving to think about why it's a good thing to make do with less now, so you've got more later.

Saving money
It's not just about money -- it's about what the money can do for you, your family and others. Here are nine top vote-getters:
9 reasons to save
1. Desire to retire.
2. There's a train wreck ahead.
3. Expect the unexpected.
4. The price of getting smart.
5. Living your dreams.
6. Let your freedom -- and independence -- ring.
7. Answering opportunity's knock.
8. Building real character.
9. It just plain feels good.

1. Desire to retire.
"Retirement is what I call a long term, long term goal," says Congemi, who likens it to a game of musical chairs: It's somewhere out in the future and all too few think much about it until it's too late. "You run around in circles and when you go to sit down, you're out."  

Peter J. D'Arruda, a financial educator, author of "Financial Safari" and president of Capital Tax Advisory Group in Cary, N.C., agrees.

"Retirement is always something that happens to the old people next door. I see people spend more on their yard every year than they save for retirement. Priorities are out of whack a little bit," he says.

A 2005 Hewitt Associates survey report, "Your Future Financial Security," found that even those participating in company retirement plans believe they should be saving more: The ideal, according to those age 59½ or older, is 19 percent of their income, and those younger see 15 percent as the ideal. But actual savings is far below that, with the older group saving 10 percent of their incomes for retirement and the younger group 6 percent.

Are you saving as much as you can? Take a does-it-hurt test -- make sure it hurts a little bit, says investment expert Jeff Harris, co-founder of The Family Legacy Forum, an organization that helps families handle the emotional and psychological aspects of money.

2. There's a train wreck ahead.
One thing certain about the future is its uncertainty and in an uncertain market the mantra is: Start early, save more.

That murky future, combined with low savings rates and the continual decline in the number of employers that offer defined benefit pension plans has financial advisers worried about what will happen to the masses. "My sense is they're going to be woefully unprepared for their future," says Harris.

-- Posted: Oct. 1, 2006
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