I noticed that the attitudes shifted and the body language changed, some of them were staring at me as though I had two heads and one eye. I asked them to put away their blackberries, their red berries and their yellow berries, which made them laugh. Finally, everyone settled down.
“Today, your topic is saving on a low income. I have changed the name, just for you, to SAVING INSPITE OF A LOW INCOME.” You see, although I have changed the name I am still not able to change the destination of your choice”, I said.
“I would like everyone to tell me what they would like to learn about saving money today, write your answer out and then you can read it out loud one by one”, I said.
There were eleven women; they read out their responses, which fell in two categories:
- How much should we save each month?
- How do we stop from dipping into our savings account?
I wrote those questions on the board and asked if this was what the group wanted to learn and whether there were any additional questions.
- How much is the correct amount or percentage to save each month?
“The answer to question #1 is = There is no fixed amount or percentage that will work for everyone. Each person or family has a number that is unique to him or her and what works for me or for your sister or cousin cannot work for you. Your circumstances and needs are entirely yours and yours alone. The one thing that matters the most is to put your savings before, RENT, FOOD, CLOTHES and any other expenses you might have. Your savings must be first and the amount does not have to be hundreds of dollars, you can save one dollar a week or ten dollars a month, what is important is to do it regularly and automatically.”
“The bank would never take a $1.00 a week from my pay cheque and save, that amount it is too small.” One of the women volunteered.
1. How much should you save each month?
There is no fixed amount or percentage that will work for everyone. Each person or family has a number that is unique to him or her and what works for me or for your sister or cousin may not work for you. Your circumstances and needs are entirely yours and yours alone. The one thing that matters the most is to put your savings before, RENT, FOOD, CLOTHES and any other expenses you might have. Your savings must be first and the amount does not have to be hundreds of dollars, you can save one dollar a week or ten dollars a month, what is important is to do this regularly and automatically.”
“The bank would never take a dollar a week from my pay cheque and put it into my savings account, that amount is too small,” volunteered one of the women.
“Yes, they will. All of our dollars are important to the bank and they want it. You see, this is how it works: the bank promises to pay us .25% on our money every month and they then take it and invest it in your brother’s mortgage at 3% which he pays every month. They give us the .25% on our money and the rest belongs to the bank. So yes, our money is very important to the bank.”
“My message to you is to begin small and have the bank make an automatic transfer from your chequing account to your savings account for the amount you want and on the date you want. This method is called the automatic millionaire and with consistency you may actually become a millionaire one day.”
2. How to stop dipping into your saving account:
Give your savings account a name and have a purpose for saving the money. Throughout our lives, every one of us in this room has heard our parents say, “SAVE YOUR MONEY.” They were only able to teach us what they were taught. They passed the same information to us and we are doing the same thing they did, we save today and we use it tomorrow. Now if we begin to name our savings account and have a purpose it, it has been proven that we will not touch the money, because we have a reason for saving that money. The Government of Canada is an awesome teacher. They have a name for every type of savings account they recommend:
- REGISTERED RETIRMENT SAVINGS ACCOUNT
- REGISTERED EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNT
- TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Savings accounts have no particular identity and can be used for different purposes by giving them a name we give them an identity.
You see, they all have a name and we know what we are saving for. We would be hard-pressed to take the money out, not because we can’t but since the purpose for the money is staring us in the face, our memory for saving the money will contribute to us leaving it alone. Name your accounts, all the banks allow you to give your accounts a name that helps you identify the purpose of the money. Use that method and see whether it works for you.
The ladies were pleased with the workshop. The woman who first spoke stood and told everyone this was the best workshop they have ever had. They received tips they could try knowing that I too had to do it the way they now have to.
Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do to take your message across rough seas.