What Is an Automatic Savings Plan?

An automatic savings plan is a type of personal savings system in which the plan contributor automatically deposits a fixed amount of funds at specified intervals into their account. The typical structure of this type is an automatic transfer from an individual's bank account into a savings or investment account every two weeks. Every time the individual receives a paycheck from his or her employer, the designated amount is automatically transferred into the individual's savings account.

Key Takeaways

  • With an automatic savings plan, the saver arranges for a specified portion of their paycheck to be automatically deposited into a bank account, on a periodic basis.
  • This kind of savings plan is convenient for someone who wants to steadily build up their savings without having to manually deposit funds every few weeks.
  • In addition to boosting your savings, an automatic savings plan can help you with budgeting and with managing spending habits, as you can't spend money that has already been transferred into a separate account.
  • To set up a plan, link your savings and checking accounts, request direct deposit from your employer, and ask that part of your paycheck be deposited into savings, with the rest going to checking.
  • Another possibility is to request that an automatic transfer be made from your checking account into your savings account, each time a paycheck is received.

Understanding Automatic Savings Plan

An automatic savings plan has other advantages than just the convenience of not having to manually deposit funds into savings each month. For instance, this system makes it easier to stick to a personal budget, since it is harder to overspend and dip into your savings once they are automatically removed from your bank account.

This system also helps investors continue to contribute savings to their investment portfolio over a long period of time, which can often become emotionally difficult to keep up after suffering losses on a few investments or other experiences.

Much like with a 401(k) or other retirement savings plan that has an automatic component, an automatic savings plan can be a way of taking the emotion out of investing.

Direct Deposit Into Savings Plan

It’s not difficult to set up an automatic savings plan. Once you have established a savings account, link it to your checking account. From there, request direct deposit through your employer. You can opt to have part of your paycheck directly deposited into your savings account each cycle with the rest going into checking.

Savings Plan Example

Another option is to set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account each time you're paid. A common automatic savings plan is offered through Capital One, which takes less than one minute to set up, according to their website. Customers indicate how much they’d like Capital One to put away and how often; Capital One then takes care of the transaction in a customer’s “360 Savings Account.”

Automatic Savings Plan and a Personal Financial Plan

An automatic savings plan can be a critical part of a larger personal financial plan. Personal finance encompasses all financial decisions and activities of an individual or household, including earning, saving, investing and spending. There are specific products associated with personal finance like credit cards, life and home insurance, mortgages and a range of investment vehicles. Banking is also considered a part of personal finance, including checking and savings accounts, along with financial apps like the payment services PayPal and Venmo.

Certain apps like TransferWise and Wave offer more complex services like remittances. (These are funds that an expatriate sends to his or her country of origin.)

Taxes are also an important consideration in a personal financial plan. Even keeping in mind particular deductions like the student loan interest deduction can go a long way toward reducing what you have to pay the U.S. government each year and saving that money for future use.