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Investing in yourself

Americans are saving less and spending more, a trend documented by the U.S. Commerce Department. While income has increased dramatically in the last 34 years, we are saving a smaller piece of the pie.

In 1970, Americans had $736 billion in disposable income, saving $69.5 billion or 9.4 percent. In 2003, disposable income climbed to $8.2 trillion, yet Americans saved a mere 1.4 percent.

If you are like many Americans who need to save more, start today by paying yourself first. A simple two-line budget is all that's needed to begin a savings plan. Write your monthly income on the first line and then decide how much you should save each month. Your monthly savings goal could be a percentage of your income or a specific dollar amount. The remaining funds are your living expenses -- food, shelter, clothing and entertainment. You should have at least three to six months' living expenses available for unplanned expenses, in addition to saving for major purchases, college education and retirement.

The easiest way to save is to make automatic deposits into a savings account every payday. Most companies allow employees to direct deposit earnings into one or more accounts. Try opening a separate account for each savings goal. San Diego County Credit Union customers can rename accounts for easy online tracking.

You work hard for your money, so make your money earn more for you. With a higher deposit rate, it will take less time to achieve your savings goals. Credit unions typically offer higher deposit rates on Savings, Certificates and Individual Retirement Accounts compared to other financial institutions.

San Diego County Credit Union provides customers with a variety of savings products including short-term Certificates, which provide a higher return than traditional savings accounts.

Designing your own plan according to your future savings needs, making automatic deposits and selecting accounts with higher rates will help you successfully achieve your goals.

For more information about the credit union or to open an account, visit www.sdccu.com, call toll-free (877) SDCCU-4U or stop by any of our 21 branch offices.

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