It’s all well and good to say you’ll save some money next week. The hard part is actually doing it. But having some of your pay automatically go to savings makes things a lot easier. That proposition is at the heart of a new campaign called Wisconsin Saves.
“The campaign is reaching out to small-to-midsize businesses, working with them to help their employees learn the value of savings and that saving can be easy if it’s automatic,” said William Sullivan, Senior Director and Group Manager, Government Relations, at Nacha, one of more than 50 organizations supporting the initiative. America Saves, which runs the campaign, selected Wisconsin because of its high concentration of such businesses.
Wisconsin Saves works to get smaller firms to establish savings programs where a fixed amount or percentage of wages automatically goes to savings each payday. Splitting your Direct Deposit is the easiest way to start saving automatically by directing a portion of your pay into a savings account. Employees of small businesses are also targeted in the hopes they’ll ask about Split Deposit at work.
“One of the things we’ve learned is that a small business owner wears many hats. They’re the face of the business, they’re the marketing arm, they’re human resources. They’re so eager to get an employee onboarded that they set up the Direct Deposit but rarely offer to split it into a savings or investment account,” said Sullivan.
Having money put aside this way is important, because as Sullivan noted, not all savings are created equally.
“Unlike a 401(k) where you’re supposed to set your target goals and let that money grow for you until you’re ready to retire, this is something where you’re saving with the intention to use it, whether for a household emergency, a big trip, a college education,” said Sullivan.
The Wisconsin Saves effort is also getting a boost from the Macha payments association and its members.
“Macha and its members strongly support Wisconsin Saves,” said Mary Gilmeister, Macha President and CEO. “Many of our members have implemented saving programs online for account holders that encourage savings. We think this is a great initiative and need a network to implement.”
Sullivan has been working with the larger America Saves campaign to ask Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to both promote the initiative in their newsletters “and also sign up their own offices for this savings campaign.”
Wisconsin Saves launched in late April and will continue through 2021, with an eye toward possibly expanding to other states in the future.
“Nacha is extremely proud that we’re part of this initiative,” said Sullivan.