This week is America Saves Week, a good time to reflect on your savings behaviors and figure out if you are properly preparing for the future.
Whether you are considering your savings for a rainy day, or whether you are interested in saving for retirement (or doing both), it’s a good time to reflect on whether or not you are ready for the future.
One of the tools that you can use to ascertain your savings situation is the new ING My Savings Score. While ING’s consumer banking operations in the United States have been taken over by Capital One, the company still exists, and has released this tool.
What is the ING My Savings Score?
The idea is to present a tool to show you where you are right now, with regard to retirement, and where you should be. The first step is to take information about you regarding your current age, your annual income, and your current retirement savings.
Using the calculator, you are shown your current score, and your target score. The tool bases what you “should” have saved up for retirement on your current age an income. My main complaint is that I’m not sure exactly how it works in terms of taking into account years that you might not have been making the same amount of money.
Here is information from ING about how the Savings Score is calculated:
Savings factors are based on retirement at age 67 with pre-tax savings to provide income for 23 years at a 50% wage replacement rate; current income with a 3% annual increase; 26 pay periods per year with a 10% contribution to a tax-deferred retirement account each pay period; an annual inflation rate of 3% both pre- and post-retirement; and a hypothetical investment rate of return of 6% preretirement and 4% in retirement. The savings factor does not include any amounts individuals may be eligible for from Social Security or other retirement benefits.
You can find out more about the savings factors by using the table provided in the tool. Once you have figured out your savings score, the tool recommends some simple and common sense actions you can take to boos your savings, such as taking advantage of employer matches, and using online calculators to determine how much you should really be saving if you want to reach your goals.
For the most part, the tool mainly indicates your shortfall. It’s good for seeing whether or not you are likely to be on track, and once you have seen that information, it’s up to you to decide how you will remedy the lack. It’s enough to scare the crap out of many people, though — perhaps enough to encourage them to start saving a little bit more.
This week promises to be one with a number of opportunities to see what’s available in terms of savings tools online. Take a few minutes to consider you savings situation, from retirement to an emergency fund, and decide what you could be doing differently.
America Saves Week is a good reminder that you need to look to your future.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.