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Financial Freedom

Plan to Save: It’s Easier Than You Think

From CDs to money market accounts, which way is the right way for you to save?

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— © Corbis. All Rights Reserved

2) Create an Emergency Fund

Life happens. Your air conditioner breaks down, your muffler falls off, your employer downsizes. We all experience those little (or big) curve balls that unexpectedly get thrown our way. To better weather a financial storm, be prepared. Plan to build an emergency fund that will enable you to pay your bills for at least three to six months. Put the money into a safe account that you can get to easily, such as a savings or money market account. If you need to dip into the fund, replace the money as soon as you are able to do so.  Considering the current economic crunch, you also should have a potential plan in case you lose your job.

3) Save for Retirement

The Ariel Investments survey also highlighted that middle-class African Americans are more likely than whites to have curtailed their saving and investing in order to make it through the recession. Twenty-seven percent of blacks who participate in a 401(k) plan reduced the amount they contribute per month (compared with 16 percent of whites). 

Additionally, the Employee Benefit Research Institute reported that Hispanic wage and salary workers were significantly less likely than both white and black workers to participate in a retirement plan.

What will be your source or sources of income when you stop getting a paycheck?

One will likely be Social Security. Learn and understand the rules about Social Security so that you can build your other savings in addition to it. AARP's Retirement Nest Egg Calculator can help you plan today.

Don’t, however, plan to let Social Security to be your sole source of retirement income. Take full advantage of retirement plans that will allow you save something from each paycheck. Participate in your 401(k) plan at work, and if you don't currently have one, consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

It is the worst of times and yet, it is the best of times. Set your goals, decide on a plan and implement it. Financial security is never out of reach if you plan now and wisely manage your savings.

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