In this video from Your Life, Your Money, entertainer D. Woods discusses how she has learned to manage her money given the inconsistent income she earns in the music industry. Woods explains her method of saving, which involves organizing her finances in separate bank and credit union accounts for saving and checking. She also discusses the option of saving with a CD, or certificate of deposit, which offers a higher interest rate than a savings account, but for a set period of time. Experts in the video advise having at least three months of living expenses saved as an emergency fund.
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In this fast-paced, consumer-oriented world, saving money is difficult for even the savviest consumers. With easy access to credit and pressure to have the newest and best of everything, saving money can be a challenge. It's important to remember that saving is not only a way to protect against risk and take care of financial responsibilities, but it’s also an avenue for fulfilling your future goals and dreams.
Unless you have a lot more money than you need, saving can be a challenge because it often means not spending money on something you want and setting money aside for something else—or delayed gratification. Once you start saving and see your money grow, you will know it’s worth the effort.
The simplest way to start is by opening a savings account at a bank, where you earn interest on your money. Another popular savings account is a certificate of deposit, or CD, which offers better interest rates than a regular savings account but requires you to keep your money in the account for six months to one year. Money market accounts are similar to bank savings accounts but usually require larger deposits. The interest rate on money market accounts is higher than for a regular savings account. It is also possible to have money deposited automatically into a savings account when you receive a paycheck, so that money is never perceived to be available for spending. Compound interest—or earning interest on your interest as well as on the money you deposit—can help make your savings grow even faster.
Let’s look at some of the reasons to save. The first one is financial security. This is essentially insurance against unexpected financial calamities. Life can be full of unexpected events, which can include financial problems like job loss or unexpected bills. For this reason, some financial experts recommend having an emergency fund – or a financial “safety net” – of three to six months worth of living expenses.
It is also important to save money for any future financial goals. You may want to buy a car or own your own home, start a business, finance your children's education, save for retirement, or even go on your dream vacation. Goal-setting is an important part of this savings dynamic. It is not always easy to come up with the large sums of cash needed for these financial goals in a regular salary payment. But it is possible to put away some money each month, which will eventually grow into the amount you need to achieve your goal.
Saving is critical for your financial security. But it can also help you afford your dreams. Saving money requires discipline and planning, however there are many mechanisms available to help you become a responsible saver.
Donald Faison: That’s my girl “D. Woods” from Atlanta. I first met her when she was a member of Danity Kane, the platinum-selling pop group that got its start on the TV series –“Making the Band”. Now she’s trying to make it on her own. She’s already gained fame, but she’s still working on her fortune.
D. Woods: I’ve been a part of the entertainment world since I was very young. I started off in dance school when I was about three years old, my sister and I got into theater. I got into, um, recording music and I didn’t even think about really getting paid from it. It was just what I wanted to do forever. Danity Kane was formed on a reality show contest. Thousands of girls tried out, and I was one of the five girls that were chosen. Our debut album, um debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, which was totally unexpected by some, but it was what I meant to do from the very beginning. It takes a lot of money to support a pop group. Especially being females because there’s the glam squad, there’s the wardrobe, so it gets really expensive. And, you know, the record label either has to pay for it or we pay for it out of our pockets. I save just to be able to, um, conduct business, there’s a lot of things I have to pay for myself.
Donald Faison: Before joining Danity Kane, D. was trying to make it on her own in New York City but she was having trouble making ends meet.
D. Woods: So I decided to move back home to Atlanta. I was like, hmm, but then who wants to live at home? My mother’s going to be in my face, she’s all in my business. But sometimes you just have to make that sacrifice. And it was a really good decision because it took a lot of pressure off of me. It was definitely good for me to save because I was able to get the car that I really wanted. I call her Myrna, Myrna the Mercedes. Once I did start making money, me and my mother decided to refinance the home. And so I’m paying part of the mortgage, so it’s like I have equity in this house as well.
Donald Faison: By joining forces with her mom, D. was able to begin saving.
D. Woods: My mother definitely sat me down when I got my first big check, and she said, look, okay, take this and put it over here, forget that you even have it. And it definitely came in handy because there was a big dry spell, and it was scary.
Donald Faison: Today she has three different bank accounts which keeps her organized and makes it easier for her to budget and save.
D. Woods: First I have a checking account and I have a savings account attached to that checking account. But then I have another savings account and that’s at a credit union. Then I have a CD, which I can’t touch and that gains more interest.
Beth Kobliner: A CD, or certificate of deposit is like a savings account except that you promise that you'll keep your money in there for a set longer period amount of time, maybe a year, or even as long as five years. And you get usually a higher rate on a one-year CD than you would get from a bank savings account.
Best Rates on CDs as of Jan 2009
6 month CD - 3.42% Interest
1 Year CD - 3.70% Interest
5 Year CD - 4.24% Interest
D. Woods: I guess the concern is just how to, number one, get the money before you can save it. Being in the entertainment industry, it’s not a secured, set amount of income. Sometimes you’ll make a lot of money in the month of November, and you won’t make any money until February. That’s the, the beautiful thing about how I was trained, because my instructors always instilled in me to be a wellrounded artist. So I go from being a recording artist to being a choreographer to being an actress to being a writer always thinking of ways to keep working.
Beth Kobliner: Well, in tough economic times, people really need to have a set savings cushion for them self of money. The key is to save three months’ worth of living expenses in that fund.
Host Donald Faison: While it may take you a while to build that fund, remember that your savings will be earning you money. The bank pays you interest for the use of your money while it’s deposited. The interest rate may be just two or three percent a year, but if you just stashed it at home, you’d actually be losing money, since the cost of everything is going up and your money wouldn’t be growing.
D. Woods: When it comes to like seeing my interest grow and knowing that I’m saving and knowing that I’m building equity it does feel good. You know, you see those stories about people who were on top of the world at one point, and then it’s like where are they now? They’re broke, or they died in debt I definitely don’t want to be one of those stories.
Host Donald Faison: D. has got her act together but a lot of us have had a hard time thinking long term when we’re young.
STREET FEED: How much do you save?
James: I like to go out so I spend most of my money and, uh, I don’t really save anything.
Phillip: I definitely put a lot of money away for any type of emergencies, especially within a savings account.
Jackie: My mom still is like, “Do you want to like spend that paycheck on coffee or do you want to save it for later?” So, I usually choose the coffee, though. [laughs]
Kylie: I’m not saving any money [laughs] right now. I’m living basically paycheck to paycheck.
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