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Automate your savings efforts

While folks often intend to save regularly, those good intentions sometimes don't become reality. Here's why automating the process can help you reach your goals.

Automating your savings can help you live within

Automating your savings can help you live within your means now and have something set aside for later. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/AndreyPopov

More often that not, the easy path is the one you’ll choose to walk. But when it comes to savings, many of the paths facing you may be bumpy.

A new survey by Gobankingrates.com found that 69 percent of the people it had polled had not set up an automatic transfer from their checking to savings, despite this method being one of the easiest ways to save.

Why automate?

“Two words sum up why savings should be automated: procrastination and compounding,” says Brian Cohen, an investment adviser with Landmark Wealth Management in Melville. “Most people look to do something later. The reality is that" people often don't follow through on their good intentions. "When it comes to saving for retirement, that can be lethal.”

Reap multiple rewards

When money is automatically taken out of your checking account and put into savings, you adapt your budget to the amount that's left. This helps you live within your means, points out Bethany Goldzser, who teaches clients at Urban Upbound, a financial empowerment center in Long Island City, Queens, to automate their savings efforts.

If you automatically deposit money into a 401(k), the benefits of your savings increase. “Not only are you paying yourself first, but you reduce your taxable income,” says Marianela Collado, CEO of Tobias Financial in Plantation, Florida.

Things to keep in mind

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew initially" cautions Matthew Crum, a certified financial planner with True North Financial Services in Kinnelon, New Jersey. "Oversaving can cause a cash shortfall and jeopardize your willingness to continue saving.”

Timing matters. Says Crum, “Be mindful of when you’re paid and when the savings are transferred, versus when bills are due. You don’t want a shortfall" that will cause you to incur overdraft fees.

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