It’s America Saves Week

Americans are nearly $6 trillion behind on retirement savings, but an equally important issue is that many individuals, particularly those living paycheck-to-paycheck, have very little money stashed away for rainy days. With little emergency savings, many are forced to defer to high-interest credit cards when unexpected expenses strike. The cycle of low savings and reliance on credit cards in times of crisis can be quite a vicious one, often stifling attempts to get ahead financially.

The good news is that there are ways for all individuals, regardless of income, to increase savings — even by just a tiny bit. To help households boost savings and build wealth, a coalition of nonprofit, corporate and government groups launched the America Saves Week campaign, running February 20th-27th.

Eleanor Blayne, CFP and member of a national partner organization for America Saves Week, tells Reuter’s Prism Money:

I see savings as the gas and a financial plan being the car. A financial plan won’t go anywhere if we don’t start with savings. You can’t begin to invest if you don’t have the savings. Quite simply, without savings, you’re not going to reach your goals.”

America Saves Week aims to provide individuals with savings and debt-reduction assistance through employers, financial institutions, nonprofits, financial educators, and the media. A particular emphasis for 2011 is to encourage automatic saving. America Saves explains that many participating organizations will educate consumers on making systematic, automated contributions into both savings accounts and employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Check out to learn more about the campaign, assess your savings progress and take action to save effectively.