The challenges that prevent this usually fall into two baskets: saving and paying off debt.

Saving is serious stuff. It's the step that allows for investing in the future and building our financial security. A study just came out from ME Bank that found less than half of us (46 per cent) manage to save money on a regular basis and 12 per cent of us dip into personal savings just to make ends meet.

Rest assured, saving, investing and still having money left over for life's comforts can still be achieved.

Here are some of my savings/invest/spending balance suggestions which has worked well for me and my clients as well as some of my best saving for investment tips.

1) Take control of your cash

The starting point to freeing up cash is to know where it's going, so get honest and track your spending. This can be a real eye opener but is crucial to be able to free up cash for saving and investing.

2) Get serious about saving

Growing savings requires commitment. Not sometimes. Not when unexpected money comes in but week in week out it needs to become a habit. It doesn't take a lot to get started to see regular savings become a nest egg to be able to invest with.

3) Get clear on how to reach your financial goals sooner

I cover in my events how clarifying your financial goals will get you where you want to go faster. While there are no overnight get-rich-quick guarantees, there are many options to consider to accelerate your savings and achieve your goals sooner, such as reviewing your budget and spending as per point 1), borrowing and joint ventures are a few to evaluate what is right for you.

4) Immediate wants verssu long-term wants

Learn to prioritise and before you spend, think long term. The key is don't dip into your long-term savings to pay for short-term luxuries. With a little planning you can have both and maintain a healthy sense of balance without too many feelings of "going without".

5) Change your perception

When saving and focusing on "going without" it seems like your friends or work colleagues are buying the fancy car, booking the expensive holiday and living it up. Just because they appear more affluent doesn't mean that they are - they could be living off plastic with no savings for all you know! Focus on your own goals and savings.



Banks should seize on the chance to provide services for children aged between six and 13, who currently have $653 million in personal savings, Roy Morgan research showed.

The research showed around 20 per cent of bank customers has children in this age bracket.

There is obviously a major role to be played by parents to encourage their children to save but banks also need to play a role by providing suitable products and incentive, Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris said..

Success in the longer term will depend on a number of factors and experiences over many years but childrens banking should at least provide a good foundation for an ongoing relationship.

Heritage bank had the largest proportion (25.8 per cent) of customers with children in that age bracket while the Bank of Queensland had the lowest at 18.7 per cent.

Out of the big four banks ANZ had the highest at 22.5 per cent, while the National Australia Bank came last with 20.2 per cent. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia had 20.3 per cent.

The Young Australians Survey of 2,800 children showed children save $285 on average, but there is disparity between the balance distribution, with 21.2 per cent having less than $50, while 10.2 per cent have $1000 or more.

Over a quarter of the children surveyed (26 per cent) either have no savings or cannot say if they do.

Morris added that while childrens banking mainly pushes or education rather than savings levels, but with around one fifth having saved less than $50, more children need to be urged to save.

The current trend is not meeting this objective, Morris said.



Treasury Department Assistant Secretary Mark Iwry said the Obama Administration wants to encourage consolidation of retirement savings.

The goal is to have defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans and individual retirement accounts joined in one pool of money or together in a list that workers can readily see.

In the next few years, we will find a way to do it, Iwry told the annual conference of the American Society of Pension Professionals amp; Actuaries in suburban Washington, DC

The Treasury official is aiming for more Americans to have at least some lifetime income from their employers and personal retirement savings. This is a major objective of the Treasury and Labor departments proposal in the last several days to make annuities acceptable in target-date funds that are qualified default investment options.

It is an option plan sponsors have been seeking for years.

But Employee Benefits Research Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Dallas Salisbury says the most optimistic projections are that a third of American workers would opt to put all or some of their 401(k) savings into annuities, while EBRIs own research puts the figure at 15 percent.

Salisbury cautioned even that lower number may be too high.

Looking more broadly at retirement security, the EBRI chief said policy makers and individuals have to look at Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, workplace retirement programs and personal savings holistically.

They have to realize there is only a limited amount of money governments can spend on safety nets for the elderly and only so much that people are willing to save when their first priority is to provide for their current needs, he said.



Goodnews Microfinance Limited, a financial service provider, on Wednesday educated the people La community in Accra on the essence of personal savings and contribution towards the informal pension scheme.

The four-hour event, which attracted a number of people including the La Traditional Council, was organised in collaboration with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly.

Mr Prince A. Ollennu, Marketing Asset Manager SSNIT Informal Sector, said it was important for people to know about the initiative to facilitate their pension savings when going for retirement.

Mr Ollennu said the informal sector pension was a voluntary contributory pension scheme which provided members with benefits based exclusively on their contributions.

He said contributions made by members were divided into two equal parts, with one going into their savings account and the other into the pensions account, adding that, the savings account could be accessed when members were in need while the pension account could only be accessed at the age of 60 or when one dies.

He explained that monies paid by those contributors into the pension account would be given to them with all interest to allow people who were on pension to benefit during retirement.

He said the problem with Ghanaian traders is that they don't have good saving habits and as such more educational programmes would be embarked on to ensure the people were well educated to have a positive habit towards saving.

Mr Eric Asamoah, Managing Director of Goodnews Microfinance, also encouraged the people, especially mothers, to open an asset fund that would enable them to acquire properties and a child fund that would invest in babies for a brighter future.

He said monies invested in funerals and other unprofitable ventures should be minimised and rather channelled into savings for the future of their children.

Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III, La Manste, urged the people to focus on the future since savings was one important aspect of human existence.