My Coast Guard

Taking care of you by paying yourself first!

By Courtesy Saudi Rodgers

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Are you financially prepared for the next emergency? Can you afford to replace a tire on your car if you run over a nail? Can you cover your car insurance deductible and unexpected costs if you are in a car accident? Do you have an automatic plan to save for retirement?  

Saving money can be daunting, but don’t let it take a back seat to your everyday spending priorities. Try making yourself a top financial priority by “paying yourself first.”

The idea is to automatically set aside money with each paycheck. Before paying any other expenses, you’ll take a set dollar amount from each paycheck and put it in a separate account for your future needs. Imagine if you saved $250 per month, within a year that will be $3,000!  

Get started by figuring out how much you can afford to save. You can do this by building a spending plan or budget. Another benefit of establishing and maintaining a spending plan is that it can help you determine where your money is actually going. Knowing how you are spending your well-earned paycheck is a great way to help you identify areas you can improve, implement a few simple changes, save even more money and get closer to achieving your goals!  

Once you’ve determined the amount you can afford to save, start paying yourself first. There are many types of accounts available through your financial institutions to deposit savings. 

  • Savings Accounts are basic low interest earning accounts that allow you to easily deposit and withdraw money without any hassle or penalties. These are easy to establish and often the first place to deposit or hold emergency funds which normally require quick access when the money is needed.
  • Money Market Accounts (MMAs) are similar to a savings account but tend to pay a higher interest than savings accounts. However, your financial institution sets limits on the number of monthly withdrawals and requires minimum cash balance before charging penalties and fees. 
  • Certificates of Deposits (CDs) are also similar to a basic savings account but interest rates are normally higher and deposits are set for a specific time frame (term). At the end of the term, also known as the maturity date, you have the option to withdraw with no penalty or roll it over for another term. 

You can set aside money in a few different ways:

  • Manual contributions allow you to control when you want to make a deposit. This requires setting a schedule or ensuring you do not forget to follow-through.  
  • Allotments and automatic transfers allow your contributions to be automatically deposited into your savings account without you ever having to remember to do so. This is often the preferred savings method as it allows you to set it and forget it. It also helps to eliminate the temptations of spending. 

From there you can enjoy watching your accounts grow and take comfort in knowing you’re on your way to becoming financially prepared. 

Resources:

  • For help creating a spending plan, please reach out to your nearest Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) located at each Health, Safety, and Work-Life Regional Practice (HSWL-RP).  
  • You may also reach out to your Command Financial Specialist for support with basic financial training, budgeting, and referrals.  
  • CG SUPRT offers onsite classes, webinars, online tax filing, and telephonic money coaching sessions under their Personal Financial Wellness Program; for more information, visit www.CGSUPRT.com or call 1-855-CG SUPRT (247-8778).  
  • For additional information and resources for the Personal Financial Management Program, please visit their website

About the writer:

Saudi Rodgers is an Accredited Financial Counselor and has a Master’s in Business Administration. She has over 15 years of experience in personal finance and is one of the Personal Financial Managers for District 8 based at Sector Houston Galveston in Texas. During her spare time she enjoys working out and spending quality time with family and friends. She can be reached at 504-329-1630 or saudi.rodgers@uscg.mil.