2009 Money moves: Put your 401k and savings on autopilot


By now you've likely automated everything from your cable bill to student loan payments, so why not automate your savings? Setting up an automated savings plan is incredibly simple and automatically paying yourself every month is a great way to avoid living paycheck to paycheck or to save for a major purchase like a house in 2009. Additionally, you can automate part of your 401k management to maximize your retirement savings.

If you want to start paying yourself by automating your savings in 2009, the first thing you need to do is get a high-yield online savings account. After you have that set up, it's just a matter of funneling money from each paycheck into it. If your employer pays you via direct deposit, many times you can ask for a percentage of your pay to go your high-yield account. If that's not an option, you can set up a recurring transfer through to your new online bank in a matter of minutes.

The one problem with 'set it and forget it' automated methods is that you don't have to remember anything; including to increase the amount you save. Matt Wakefield from Seattle has some excellent advice relating to this problem in regards to retirement savings, "I chose to have it increase my contribution one percent per year, effective the week that my raise (God willing, this year) takes effect. That way, it doesn't appear as a takeaway from my paycheck, which makes it hurt that much less." Automatically increasing how much you save every year is so smart it's scary!

That's how to make money in 2009 by automating the saving process. Get real with New Year's resolutions and choose something that is easy to do. Eliminate the painful and easily forgotten manual transfer of funds to your savings account in favor of an easy automated solution. While you're at it make sure all of your auto pay accounts are up to date, so you don't end up losing money to late fees in 2009.