The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was signed into law on March 11, 2021. This $1.9 trillion stimulus bill aims to provide additional economic relief to taxpayers, businesses, and other employers through various provisions including a third round of direct payments to eligible individuals, an expansion of the Child Tax Credit, additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and many more. Approximately, $850 billion is directed towards individuals and $65 billion is directed to businesses. Key provisions we find to be relevant for individuals, businesses, and other employers include $1,400 direct payments.

Direct Payments

ARPA provides a third round of stimulus payments up to $1,400 for individuals ($2,800 for taxpayers filing jointly) and qualifying dependents (as defined in Sec. 152). Eligibility for this recovery rebate credit is based on 2020 or 2019 Adjusted Gross Income and the limits are as follows:

Filing StatusEligible for Full PaymentIncome Phaseout BeginsNot Eligible
SingleLess than $75,000$75,000Greater than $80,000
Married Filing JointlyLess than $150,000$150,000Greater than $150,000
Head of HouseholdLess Than $112,500$112,500Greater than $112,500

Child Tax Credit

For 2021, ARPA expanded the Child Tax Credit amount to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children 6 – 17. The standard Child Tax Credit amount and phaseout amounts still apply but this additional tax credit is available to those whose Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) are as follows:

Standard Child Tax Credit:

Filing StatusMAGI ThresholdReductions
Single or Head of Household< $200,000This credit is reduced by $50 for each $1,000 of income over these limits.
Married Filing Jointly< $400,000

Additional Child Tax Credit through ARPA:

Filing StatusMAGI ThresholdReductions
Single$75,000This expanded portion of the credit ($1,000/$1,600) is reduced by $50 for every $1,000 of income over these limits.
Married Filing Jointly$150,000
Head of Household$112,500

This additional credit is fully refundable meaning, if eligible, no tax liability is necessary for the full refund amount. Advanced payments for this 2021 credit will be distributed from July 2021 through December 2021 and will be based on the most recently filed tax return unless eligible individuals opt-out of advance payments through a soon-to-be established IRS online portal.

Earned Income Tax Credit

For 2021, the applicable minimum age is decreased from 25 to, in most cases, age 19. Special conditions apply to students and other youth. The maximum age a childless taxpayer can qualify is eliminated and the maximum EIC amount for childless households increases from $540 to $1,502.

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

ARPA increases and expands the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit from $3,000 for one qualifying individual or $6,000 for more than one qualifying individual to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and $16,000 for more than one individual child. If AGI is less than $125,000, the credit is 50% of the expense amount; this credit phases out completely for AGI over $440,000. This credit essentially means the maximum credit is $4,000 for one qualifying individual and $8,000 for more than one qualifying individual. This credit is fully refundable.

Unemployment Benefits

ARPA increases the total number of weeks benefits are available to individuals who cannot return to work safely from 50 to 79 weeks. Supplemental unemployment payments will remain at $300 per week after March 15, 2021 until September 6, 2021. For those who claimed unemployment benefits in 2020, up to $10,2000 of unemployment benefits can be excluded from income for those with AGIs less than $150,000.  For married couples filing jointly who both received unemployment in 2020, each spouse can exclude up to $10,200.

Student Loan Discharge Taxability

Qualifying student loan debt forgiven between December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2026 will not be taxable as income.

Expanded PPP Eligibility and Funding

ARPA provides additional funding for eligible businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program as well as expands eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services. Applications are due by May 31, 2021.

Employee Retention Credit and Paid Leave Credit Programs

The American Rescue Plan extends the availability of the Employee Retention Credit for small businesses through December 2021 and allows businesses to offset their current payroll tax liabilities by up to $7,000 per employee per quarter. This credit of up to $28,000 per employee for 2021 is available to small businesses who have seen their revenues decline, or even been temporarily shuttered, due to COVID.

The American Rescue Plan also extends the availability of Paid Leave Credits through September 2021 for small and midsize businesses offering paid leave to employees who may take leave due to illness, quarantine, or caregiving. Businesses can take dollar-for-dollar tax credits equal to wages of up to $5,000 if they offer paid leave to employees who are sick or quarantining. More details are provided in IRS Notice 2021-20: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-21-20.pdf

Targeted Grants

Additional funding for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants is available for small businesses in low-income communities as well as targeted grants for restaurants, bars, lounges, and food trucks.

Excess Business Loss Limitation

ARPA extends the excess business loss rule (Code Section 461(I)) through 2026 which limits the deduction for excess business losses for noncorporate taxpayers. This provision was enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and originally was set to end at the end of 2025. Section 461(I) limits up to $250,000 for individual filers and $500,000 for joint filers but the CARES Act removed these limitations for the 2018-2020 tax years.

To learn more about how Acumen can help you Invest Intentionally®, please contact us.

Sources:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#toc-H5A2CF32D1697421DA46ACD1A7E094453

https://home.treasury.gov/news/featured-stories/fact-sheet-the-american-rescue-plan-will-deliver-immediate-economic-relief-to-families

https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2021/mar/tax-components-coronavirus-relief-bill.html

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/american-rescue-plan-act-2021-tax-reports

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-most-important-items-in-the-1-9t-4232245/

This report is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Do not act or rely upon the information and advice given in this publication without seeking the services of competent and professional legal, tax, or accounting counsel. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. The information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however no guarantee is made or implied with respect to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness.   It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® is a Registered Investment Adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® unless a client service agreement is in place.

Global markets have recently been rocked by fears of the Coronavirus outbreak.  Many economists and health organizations are relating the virus to the SARS outbreak from 2003, another highly contagious respiratory infection.  Just for comparison, the chart below shows the beginning of 2003 for the MSCI All Cap World Index and displays the way the infection affected markets at the beginning of the outbreak versus what happened after investors had enough of the selling.  Per the MSCI ALL Cap World Index, markets fell more than 12% at the beginning of the epidemic, and later returned 64% through the end of the year.

MSCI ACWI 01/01/2003 – 12/31/2003 provided by Bloomberg

We are not able to put an exact number on how we expect markets to react in the coming months to the newly spreading virus.  Nor are we able to say for how long similar fears will affect the global economy.  What we do know is history tells us these are both very difficult results to predict.  We also believe there are reasons for investors to remain optimistic.  For one, China has reacted to the outbreak more quickly than it has in the past.  Also, advancements in medicine should relieve a little of the stress brought about by the virus.  Risk velocity is also much higher today than it ever has been, which can cause greater market reaction to events such as the Coronavirus outbreak.  This is especially true when assets are priced as high as they are currently.  We believe a disciplined approach to long-term investing remains and will always remain the proven way to achieve positive investment performance.

To learn more about how Acumen can help you Invest Intentionally®, please contact us.

Grant Allen, Portfolio Analyst

About the Author: Grant Allen is a Portfolio Analyst for Acumen Wealth Advisors in Chattanooga, TN.  Grant holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance-Investments from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Gary Rollin’s College of Business and has successfully passed Level One for the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) designation.  The CFA® consists of three levels of exams, each requiring a recommended 300+ hours of study, minimum of four years of work experience, and multiple letters of recommendation.  Exams cover Quantitative Methods, Economics, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Portfolio Management, Wealth Planning, and Ethics.

 

Information used in this commentary was obtained via Bloomberg L.P.

MSCI ACWI (All Country World Index) is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed and emerging markets.

The opinions expressed in this commentary should not be considered as fact. Information contained herein is not and should not be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell securities. The information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however, no guarantee is made or implied with respect to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness.   It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. Comments concerning the past performance are not intended to be forward looking and should not be viewed as an indication of future results. Any charts, graphs, and descriptions of investment and market history and performance contained herein are not a representation that such history or performance will continue in the future or that any investment scenario or performance will even be similar to such chart, graph, or description. All indexes are unmanaged, and an individual cannot invest directly in an index. Index returns do not include fees or expenses.

Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® is a Registered Investment Adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. No advice may be rendered by Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® unless a client service agreement is in place.

One of the most significant pieces of retirement legislation in recent history, the SECURE Act, draws from a wide-array of bipartisan bills and seeks to make it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans, and for individuals to save for retirement.

The legislation was incorporated into Division O of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, which was approved by the House and Senate, is expected to be signed into law by the President.

The legislation includes:

For more information about the SECURE ACT, please visit: https://www.napa-net.org/news-info/daily-news/key-secure-act-provisions-and-effective-dates

Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® is affiliated with RPAG and utilizes their robust retirement plan consulting tools and resources to deliver enhanced value to plan sponsor clients. RPAG™, a wholly owned subsidiary of NFP (NFP Corp.), provides retirement advisors premier technology, systems, training, and resources through its practice management platforms.

This Veterans Day, Acumen Wealth Advisors, is deeply grateful to all the veterans and active duty military for their service.

Charles Schwab said the discount broker’s latest move to zero commissions was a longtime goal to deliver to investors.

KEY POINTS

“It was sort of the final solution for investors,” the chairman and founder of Charles Schwab told CNBC’s Bob Pisani on the “Halftime Report” on Monday. “We have a great deal for investors. You can buy and sell stocks for no commission.”

As of Monday, the brokerage firm is no longer charging commission fees for U.S. stocks, ETFs and options trades. Last week, Schwab announced it would be slashing its trading commission costs from the previous $4.95 to zero. Brokerage rivals E-Trade, Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade all dropped their commission fees in the last two weeks in the latest move in the brokerage fee wars.

“We joined the New York [Stock] Exchange in 1981, many years ago, and so prices then, when we first came on board, we were about half price. We kept coming down every year to now,” Schwab added.

The company, with a market value of about $54.7 billion, is hoping the lost fee revenue will be made up for in other parts of the business, such as fixed income. The stock took a hit after the announcement, though, on fears the change will hit margins.

“We make our money on other relationships — you might want advice, you might want fixed income or things like that — we’ll make a little bit of money there. But commissions on stocks are now free,” said Schwab.

The firm, which holds about $3.72 trillion in client assets, relies on the efficiency of technology for its low fee structure.

“What we try to do is offer things that customers really want, and they definitely want lower prices. So we’ve been a company that’s been involved with that by using technology for many, many years,” Schwab added.

The firm’s founder said consolidation in the retail brokerage industry is a “logical conclusion that will occur.”

Schwab retired as CEO in 2008 but remains chairman and is the largest shareholder.

 

PUBLISHED MON, OCT 7 201912:43 PM EDT

UPDATED MON, OCT 7 20194:19 PM EDT

Read full article by CNBC HERE.

 Acumen’s Weekly Briefing

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday proved to be important days within the market to economists and analysts.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced they were lowering the Federal Funds Target rate by 25 basis points.  Chairman Powell said this was a Mid-Cycle policy adjustment and cited low inflation and trade fears as possible threats to the current economic expansion.

One day later, the U.S.  announced it was imposing a 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods.  Although negotiations were planned to resume next month, along with another tariff increase, President Trump attributed the announced tariff to China failing to adhere to previously made agreements between the two countries.  The primary two failures were the increase of Chinese purchase of U.S. agricultural products and the halting of fentanyl sales by China to the U.S.

Finally, Friday saw new employment seeming to be unimpressive for the second month in a row.  From headline numbers, the U.S. economy’s employment situation seems to support the idea of a longer expansion ahead with continuously increasing nonfarm payrolls and incredibly low unemployment.  However, a deeper analysis beyond headline numbers show stagnant wage growth and low quality of actual jobs being created, as the number of employees working multiple jobs and part-time jobs continues to increase.

The past three days of data is important, and we will be watchful of a greater chain reaction of weaker economic data and news that could point to a bigger market pullback.   The Fed’s announcement on Wednesday seems to be fully supported by the announcements and data which followed on Thursday and Friday.  Friday’s employment data could be viewed as a result of the trade announcement on Thursday.  The Fed clearly pointed to trade worries as a result of their pivot in monetary policy.  They also alluded to slowing business investment and wage pressures.  The current trade spat has made it very difficult for businesses to forecast demand or make equipment-purchasing decisions with a longer-term horizon.  This spat causes many companies to be more cautious with business investment and wage increases.  We also received data on Friday from the Census Bureau showing Mexico and Canada both edging China out for the largest total goods trading partner to the United States for the first half of 2019.

There seems to be a looming question right now over whether the Fed’s policy change will stunt the impact of the current trade environment, in hopes that progress is soon made before recession worries really seem to sink into headline economic data.  There is hope the policy change by the Fed will mirror what we saw in 1995 and continue the expansion for another four to five years.  This is possible with trade progress, as our economy has not showed heavy signs of weakness other than aspects having been affected by trade.  Either way, it has been proven trade worries will bring an increase of volatility back into the market, as the Dow and the S&P both posted weekly losses.  If global growth continues to slow because of unresolved trade issues, volatility will continue to increase.

Regards,

Grant Allen and the Acumen Portfolio Management Committee

 

 

The opinions expressed in this commentary should not be considered as fact.  Information contained herein is not and should not be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell securities.  The information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however no guarantee is made or implied with respect to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness.   It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.  Comments concerning the past performance are not intended to be forward looking and should not be viewed as an indication of future results.  Diversification does not protect against loss of principal.

Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® is a Registered Investment Adviser.  Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.  Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital.  No advice may be rendered by Acumen Wealth Advisors, LLC® unless a client service agreement is in place.

You can now submit a claim for the $700 million Equifax data breach settlement—here’s how

If your information was compromised during the massive 2017 Equifax data breach, you could be entitled to up to $20,000.

On Monday, Equifax agreed to pay nearly $700 million to settle federal and state investigations into how it handled a massive data breach that affected nearly 150 million people.

The settlement includes $425 million to directly help consumers affected by the breach. The restitution fund will start with $300 million dedicated to consumer compensation, with an additional $125 million at the ready if the initial funds run out.

The Federal Trade Commission opened up the online claims process on Wednesday, where affected consumers can file a digital form (or print one out and send it in) to claim some of that settlement. The deadline to submit a claim is January 22, 2020.

The settlement provides a cash payment of up to $20,000. “Go into this with your eyes open,” Charity Lacey, VP of communications at Identity Theft Resource Center, tells CNBC Make It. “Part of this claims process really puts the onus on the consumer to justify that they deserve that.”

Here’s what you need to know before you file.

Are you eligible?

The Equifax data breach was one of the largest in history, with about 56% of Americans affected. Hackers were able to get access to a multitude of consumers’ private information, including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, credit card numbers and driver’s license numbers.

You can use this online tool to submit your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number to see if your information has been compromised.

What does the claim cover?

There are four types of relief you can claim from Equifax under the terms of the settlement:

Credit monitoring: Affected consumers will have the opportunity to receive at least four years of credit-monitoring services through Experian and up to an additional six years of monitoring with Equifax. If you already have credit monitoring in place, you can request a $125 cash payment.

Time loss: Consumers can submit claims for any time they had to spend dealing with data breach — $25 per hour, up to 20 hours, according to the FTC. The claims form notes that if you claim 10 hours or less of compensation, you’ll need to write out the actions you took and an estimate of the time you spent on each task. If you claim over 10 hours, you need to submit supporting documents “showing fraud, identity theft, or other misuse of your personal information.”

Monetary loss: Consumers will be able to claim up to $20,000 for any losses or fraud that were the results of the breach or any out-of-pocket expenses they may have incurred, such as paying to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports. You’ll need to attach supporting documents, such as receipts, to show how much money you spent.

Partial reimbursement for Equifax credit monitoring: If you paid for Equifax credit monitoring or identity theft protection subscription from September 7, 2016 to September 7, 2017, you can be reimbursed for up to 25% of your subscription payment.

What should you claim?

Submitting a claim can be “overwhelming,” so take it slow, Lacey says. At the very least, you should claim the free credit monitoring for up to 10 years. “There should be no reason whatsoever not to file, especially the basic claim — the credit monitoring — or if you have credit monitoring, the claim for $125,” says Jack Gillis, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. This is probably what most consumers will file for, Gillis adds.

If you plan to file a claim for time or monetary loss, you’ll want to gather your documentation before you even start filling out the online claims form. Documenting any time or money you spent because of this breach will be crucial to receiving compensation. “If you don’t have good records, you may not be able to see the full benefit of what the settlement is providing,” Lacey says.

When thinking through your potential compensation, cast a wide net, says Allen St. John, a technology and privacy expert with Consumer Reports. “They’re never going to give you more than you ask for,” he tells CNBC Make It. Make sure you include not only the time you spent at the bank, but also your travel time getting to your local branch. “Your time and your money are valuable,” St. John says, so make sure you are properly reimbursed.

Be as clear as possible when submitting information, and keep copies of everything including any documents you submit and also the completed claim form. St. John recommends taking screenshots.

Keep in mind that you can only really claim reimbursement for the time and money you lost — not any future harm or emotional turmoil you may have suffered. “It’s unlikely that many consumers will get the full $20,000 — not only because they won’t be able to find the documentation, but because it didn’t actually cost them $20,000.” Now it may have cost them $100,000 in angst, anxiety, pain and mental stress, but that’s not at issue, Gillis says.

It may also be worth waiting, Lacey says. If you’re in a rush you may forget to include some of the steps you took. Plus, consumers have until November to file objections to the settlement and that may have an impact, she says. “You don’t have to hit ‘submit’ today,” Lacey says.

What happens if you don’t file a claim?

Under the terms of the settlement, there are services that you are entitled to — even if you don’t file an official claim, the FTC says.

The biggest benefit: increased access to free credit reports. Starting next year, you can request up to six additional free credit reports per year from Equifax through 2027. This is in addition to the one free credit report all Americans can request annually from each credit bureau — Equifax, Experian and Transunion.

The settlement also allows anyone whose information was accessed to get free assisted identity restoration service for at least the next seven years. This service will help you fix any fraud or identity theft issues caused by the breach. If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud caused by the breach, call the settlement administrator at 1-833-759-2982.

Going forward, Lacey says it’s important for consumers to take breach notifications seriously and document what you do in response. The Identity Theft Center’s ID Theft Help app has a case log manager tool that can help you track any actions you take in response to a breach.

“This may be the new norm when it comes to these things,” Lacey says.

 

Published Thu, Jul 25 2019  8:30 AM EDTUpdated Thu, Jul 25 2019  1:48 PM EDT

Megan Leonhardt@MEGAN_LEONHARDT

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/25/how-to-claim-your-compensation-from-the-equifax-data-breach-settlement.html

Presidential Ideas Festival

The University of Virginia’s Miller Center recognizes understanding the governing challenges of the past can help solve policy solutions for the future.  They have realized each challenge is an opportunity for further exploration and learning.

On May 21–23, 2019, the Miller Center is assembling political insiders, top scholars, and students—future leaders and influencers—for the Presidential Ideas Festival: Democracy in Dialogue.  The three-day event includes working sessions about specific aspects of the presidency.  These sessions will serve as presidential workshops through which participants with different points of view will investigate the issues and emerge with solutions.  It is a unique process encouraging a real-world approach to problem-solving.

We invite you to live stream these sessions online.  Here is a list of the presentations and times for the three days.

The Miller Center

The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia specializing in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history.  It strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation’s most pressing and current governance challenges.  To have a more informed democracy, leaders understand in order to comprehend the present, they must understand the past first.

Every year, the Miller Center brings together Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, by hosting events with intelligent dialogue among scholars, politicians, journalists and citizens.  These gatherings bring valuable outlooks to discussions on issues and serve as models of respectful conversation.  In the end, our democracy depends on how we talk to each other, and what we do when we disagree.  They “believe that opposing positions can both have merit; that we can investigate questions of fact and discuss questions of opinion; that we can be open to changing our minds; and that our political system benefits from compromise.”

Chattanooga’s Connection to the Miller Center

White Burkett Miller was a lawyer from Tennessee living from 1866 to 1929.  Miller co-founded Burkett, Miller, and Moore in 1906 in Chattanooga, TN with his uncle, T. M. Burkett, and C. C. Moore.  In 1919, he co-founded another law firm with his sons, Burkett and Vaughn.  Upon Linton Martin becoming a partner, the law firm became Miller, Miller and Martin.  Miller and Martin has been a leading law firm in the Southeast with four offices for more than 150 years.

Burkett Miller founded The Miller Center in 1975.  He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1914 and was a well-known Tennessean.  Burkett Miller established the Miller Center of Public Affairs in memory of his father, White Burkett Miller.

 

Photo Source: Karen Blaha Flickr

6 Fun Ways to Save As a Family

By Janet Alvarez, WiseBread.com 

Meeting financial goals as a family can be challenging. But inspiring your family to help and contribute to a financial goal doesn’t have to be a painful process, especially when the result is an exciting family vacation, a new family car, or college savings. In the spirit of America Saves Week, I’ll share some ideas on how to save as a family for all those items and bucket-list experiences.

1. Gamify It!

In my family, we often make a game of who contributes to a joint family pot for that month’s fun activity. A game of monopoly can turn into a real contest, as anyone who loses is asked to contribute a small amount to that month or week’s activity of choice (such as a meal out, or family movie). Of course, contributions should be proportional to earnings – teens might contribute $5 from their part-time job or allowance, while adults would be expected to contribute much more. Still, the spirit of the game is focused on sharing and enjoying together – and because everyone has a stake, we enjoy it all so much more.

2. Making Money Can Be Fun

Every year around the holidays, my entire extended family likes to take a vacation somewhere warm, so we start planning and saving a year in advance. By each contributing to the holiday vacation fund, our money goes much farther, and we’re often able to visit really cool places we might’ve not otherwise afforded. Of course, if we can easily afford to contribute our share, we do so, but when money is tight, we find fun ways to raise cash for our share of the contributions. Last year, for example, some of my cousins hosted a bake sale. Others sold items they’d knitted, art they’d produced, and so forth. All of the proceeds went straight into the family vacation fund.

3. Sell, Sell, Sell!

A family garage sale can be an enjoyable and rewarding way to raise extra cash for shared activities or purchases. If your family wants a new flat-screen TV, game console, or other piece of technology or furniture, why not start by selling what you already have and don’t need? A traditional garage sale is one good way to raise cash, as is selling unused items online (this tends to be the better option for selling electronics and gadgets).

4. Match It!

Often, children’s only way to save is to use their holiday or birthday gift money. It can be challenging for kids to save money they so badly want to spend and enjoy immediately, so it’s important to offer incentives for doing so. One idea is to match dollar for dollar every bit of money they save from their gifts. That ensures kids get the immediate gratification of knowing their saved gift money is being doubled, but also enables them to feel empowered by having chosen to save and contribute to family goals.

5. The Envelope Method

When saving for multiple goals, the envelope method is an excellent way of keeping all the monies separate for their intended uses. Simply mark each envelope with a stated goal and contribute regularly to each until the goal amount is met. For small children, it can be rewarding to contribute to smaller family goals, such as ice cream or a movie rental. A $10 or $15 goal can mean a $1 or $2 monthly contribution from their allowance. This helps children learn the value of saving and builds confidence in their ability to do so.

6. Your Credit Union Can Help

Your local credit union can be an excellent resource for helping your family save together. From traditional savings accounts or CDs to holiday savings accounts, your credit union can help you select a financial product that can help your family in reaching its shared goals faster. For larger goals, in particular, a shared family account can be an excellent resource for keeping your family on track to realizing your financial wishes.

Happy saving!

Janet Alvarez is the news anchor for WHYY/NPR and the Executive Editor of Wise Bread, an award-winning publication focused on promoting financial literacy.

Did you know that the easiest and most effective way to save is automatically? Saving automatically is at the heart of America Saves Week. And, it’s how millions of employees save through 401(k) and other retirement programs at work. It’s also how millions of Americans save at their bank or credit union.  It’s a great way to build wealth and financial security, and it’s easy to set up!

How to Save Automatically

How to Reduce Debt Automatically