Automate your financial life
Take control of your finances.
You're busy and likely appreciate smart time-saving strategies. Rather than spending hours poring over bills and financial statements, why not automate some of your financial life?
It's a move that can help make it easier and painless for you to save regularly and pay your bills on time. It also can cut down on the risk of identity theft because you'll have fewer paper statements that could end up in the trash.
Using technology to simplify
- Paycheck deferrals. You can arrange for a portion of each paycheck to be contributed to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. The plan may even allow you to increase the deferral percentage over time — helping you to potentially save more. "Over the years as my salary increased, I increased my automatic savings deduction by half of the net difference," says Judith Graziani, a marketing director in San Mateo, Calif. In addition to funding a primary retirement plan, you also may want to consider a paycheck deferral to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to help build additional savings for your future.
- Direct paycheck deposit. Using direct deposit can make it simpler for you to build an emergency fund. Route the bulk of your paycheck into an account for bills and expenses, and dedicate the rest to a separate savings account.
Graziani deposits a portion of her pay in a savings account that she considers untouchable. "If the money weren't put in my account automatically I probably wouldn't be saving nearly as much," she says.
- Paperless billing. Many businesses will now send their invoices via email, which lets you keep all your bills in one place and cuts down on desktop clutter. Some companies will even shave a bit off your bill or offer a lower interest rate if you choose electronic billing.
- Online bill payment. Setting up automatic payments through your bank is typically a fast and easy process. It's rewarding too: You'll avoid late fees, save on postage and cut down on the number of checks you write.
Making these moves won't entirely liberate you from the task of staying on top of your finances. But they will help make that job a whole lot easier.
Easy access. Anywhere. Anytime.
At the Principal Financial Group®, we are committed to providing you with the latest tools and resources to help you manage your retirement goals. Now you can access your retirement plan and financial information in a variety of ways — from logging in to our secure website to mobile apps and text messaging to social media.
Fast Fact: Starting in April 2011, the Social Security Administration stopped mailing benefit estimates to most U.S. workers. You can still visit ssa.gov to get an estimate of your projected retirement benefits based on your actual work history.
Try online statements
If your employer's retirement plan has them, sign up for online statements from The Principal®.
Are you curious about how much you should be saving?
First, it's important to consider your goals and what your expenses may be in retirement.
1Research with Financial Advisors, June 2011, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Principal Financial Group®. When looking at all responses in the survey, the median is the middle of the responses given.
Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company a member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.