Savings Accounts:  One of My Secret Weapons

Savings Accounts: One of My Secret Weapons

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Savings Accounts Secret Weapon

Three separate clients of mine were almost giddy this week as they talked about their savings accounts.

What they didn’t know was that having them open a savings account is one of my two little secrets to shifting how they look at money … and themselves.

Truth is, not that long ago they were each facing different combinations of paralyzing debt, inability to focus on work, major procrastination, out-of-kilter income and outflow, denial, uncontrolled spending and other destructive money behaviors.

Opening a savings account?

Sounds petty, I know, but it’s not.  And it doesn’t even matter how much or how little is in the account.  There is something magical about putting some funds aside in your name.  Maybe it’s a sign that you’re taking care of yourself.  Maybe it answers a deep question about deserving.  Whatever it is, it’s the cause of a major shift in virtually everybody’s behavior and attitude towards money.

And once the account is open, what typically happens is that spending plans are revisited to see if there isn’t more cash that can be squeezed out to add to the savings.  In fact, online accounts are best because they make it easy to make transfers in.  (And, not to worry, you’ll be surprised at how resistant you are to transferring it back out.)

The holidays are almost here, and the last thing you’re thinking of is opening a savings account.  However, year-end resolutions might be percolating in the back of your mind.  And we know how long those last.

So I propose something different for this year:  instead of making New Year’s resolutions about losing a few pounds or getting up an hour early so you’re not late to everything, make yourself a gift instead.

Scrounge up whatever money you can find, even if it’s just loose change around the house, and open an account in your name.  Better yet, if someone happens to say, “Hey, what would you like for Christmas this year?” … say, “I’d love money instead of a gift.  I’m opening a savings account so I can start having peace of mind this coming year.  And I’d love for you to have a hand in it.”

Because you do deserve that peace of mind.  And this little secret is the most powerful thing you can do to take the first step in that direction.

So here’s to your peace of mind, Savings Buddy!

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Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers will be shared in her upcoming book “Money After Menopause.” Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve.

  • Great tip Sharon, there is something so empowering when you have a savings account…regardless of the size it says “I” matter and I am doing something about it! Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Hard to believe, isn’t it, Denny?  It’s even more powerful if we get in the habit of adding a percent or two of everything that comes in.  That gesture is a constant reminder that “we” matter.  It makes “us” a priority.  And we can all make up for not having that little bit available in our budgets.

  • Thank you Sharon…’paying yourself first’ or perhaps ‘paying yourself’ by opening or contributing to a savings account is great for self-esteem! …Thanks, Hughie

    • Anonymous

      Hughie, seems like such a small gesture, but it’s one of those that carries much more than its own weight in building belief in oneself!

  • Shahina Lakhani

    Thanks Sharon for such a wonderful article. A few months ago I too opened a savings account. Although I only have a small amount in it, every time I look at my savings account, I feel blessed. For me it was a proof that I can be good with money too and that I deserve to invest in myself.

    • Anonymous

      You “got it,” Shahina!  What I suggest is to put a little more in there, each time ANY money comes into your life, even 1 or 2 percent.  No matter how small.  It will continue to reinforce that feeling of deserving and of mastering your money …and it builds that “receiving” muscle that too many of us ignore.

  • Great article Sharon.  We have a savings account already, but you have encouraged me to continue adding to it even if it is only $10 a week or month!  Every little bit counts.  Thanks for sharing and the motivation! 

    • Anonymous

      Jen, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a few dollars every few days, especially if it’s going into an easy online account.  The key is to continually invest in YOU, in your own peace of mind.  Because that’s what that account ultimately is …

  • Sound advice, once again, Sharon! And I can confirm that it is a wonderful feeling to know that there’s something “on the side” in case of major upheaval, which invariably occurs in life! It’s actually something that should be taught at schools – many kids nowadays don’t really understand the true value of money, or what it cost in terms of “earning” the money to buy the goods or treats they so take for granted!
    Am definitely sharing this message!
    Keep ’em coming, Sharon…
    Smiles, Emm 🙂 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Emm, it’s such a joy to get your little missives!  And you’re so right about kids knowing so little.  Unfortunately, we didn’t learn much either, but it sure would be nice to shorten their learning curve!  😉

  • Vicky Horner 3637

    I love the idea of making this a resolution. It feels good to know you can be successful right away.  Great message Sharon!

    • Vicky, as Diane said right above, the impact of that one gesture that says “I count” is far greater than anyone imagines!

  • Anonymous

    You are so right, Sharon, that the small step of opening a savings account is huge in terms of how our mind works, and also huge in terms of creating an opportunity for continued, changed behavior.

    • One small step by womankind, one giant step towards peace of mind! 😉

  • I have always loved having a savings account! I love the message of this article. The feeling of security is comforting. Thanks Sharon!

  • I like this idea of saving and scrounging around loose change. Helps make it feel like real possibility and not just a dream. Here’s to investing in self, life, dreams, and financial stability!!!

    • Marvia, we tend to make such mountains out of the “molehill” steps we want to take, going forward. We don’t need huge amounts of money to open an account. And with online banking, it’s even easier to open one, even with what we can “scrounge” up. And then the magic begins … 😉

  • Susan Schiller

    Excellent advice! I like how you make it an easy step by suggesting to scrounge up loose change – thanks!

    • Sue, what makes opening a savings account so valuable is the simple act of doing it, not the amount deposited. And then the desire to add to it takes over …

  • Yetunde

    Thank you for this lovely advice…..”Loose change around the house, apart from charity, I now have use for you”
    Years ago I used to put in loose change into my children’s accounts . They used to count the pennies and it would be deposited in turns. Going back to doing that.