Category: Savings

How Much Income Should You Save? What's the Best Savings Rate?

When it comes to setting your Retirement or Financial Independence date, the most important variable in your control is your […]

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How To Define 'Savings'

The issue of the declining savings rate in America has been mentioned as one of the ways in which the younger generations are falling behind economically. The credit crisis caused massive deleveraging in America which increased the savings rate, but most of it was due to consumers reducing debts and liabilities as opposed to building assets. There could be many causes of this, but to name one: in times of uncertainty, consumer tend to brace themselves for a more hazy future by building net worth as quickly as possible. A decrease in stock prices and home prices eliminated much of the buildup of household assets which needed to be counteracted by an increase in savings. Also, credit standards have tightened, which has further compounded the problem and increased the deleveraging among American households.

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How Do You Define Savings?

We apologize in advance if this discussion is too concentrated on minutiae and definitions, but we'd like to clarify an issue (with the help of our readers!).

Let's just throw it out here: "How do you define savings?". It's a serious question, and you're going to get two articles with serious answers... one from yours truly and another from Cameron, our resident Economist. Let me lead with my definition: 'savings' , in my mind, is any money set aside from current earnings that is easily accessible, liquid, fungible, and have a reasonable chance for maintenance of principal and appreciation.

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Health Savings Account Arbitrage

The Health Savings Account, or HSA was introduced in 2003 and has revealed itself to be a solid choice in saving money on health insurance. Beyond the obvious saving advantage that comes from empowering consumers to pay for most of their everyday medical expenses, the HSA also has a hefty tax benefit. HSAs are free from federal tax when accumulating, compounding and distributing money (although some states, like California do tax it). Of course, the tax benefit is only when using the HSA for qualified medical expenses. After the beneficiary turns 65, non-qualified distributions are taxed at the normal tax rate, just like a traditional 401(k) or IRA.

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