As part of America Saves Week efforts, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development (CTED) and Washington Asset Building Coalitions (WABC) are working together to promote Washington Saves Week Feb. 22-March 1.
During these tough economic times — resulting in thousands of layoffs in Washington alone — it is more important than ever for residents to have a personal emergency fund. Most Americans, however, do not have adequate savings to meet major emergencies, let alone accumulated savings for layoffs or retirement.
In 2005, the Personal Saving Rate dipped into the negative. The Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates saving is slowly increasing, but continues to hover around 0%.
"I would encourage all Washingtonians to take advantage of the many resources our state has to offer to improve financial security," Governor Chris Gregoire said. "These are tough economic times that require families to tighten their belts to ensure financial security and long-term well-being."
Financial education partners throughout the state are partnering this year to bring the message of Washington Saves Week to consumers.
"The economic crisis offers more challenges than merely reduced resources," Consumer University's Alicia Diefenbach says. "Financial struggles can be emotionally taxing on families. By attending one of the Washington Saves Week events and asking all family members to come up with money saving ideas for the family, pulling together in times of tight budgets can help the entire family weather the discomfort of a tight budget."
Washington's asset building coalitions are encouraging members of their community to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit during tax preparation time and to set some of the funds aside in a savings account.
"Whether you are 5 or 95 — it's never too late to start saving for the future," Jump$tart Washington Coalition President Scott Kinney says. "Our country's economic crisis perfectly illustrates why saving is so important. This week, we're encouraging everyone to learn how easy it is to set aside money for a rainy day."
All Washington residents are encouraged to find creative ways to save more this week, whether it's by packing a lunch, skipping a latte, carpooling to work or collecting change rather than spending it. Take the money you would have spent and put it in to savings. You'll be surprised how fast it all adds up.