If you’re in good financial shape, congratulations.
But, most Americans are not. And it doesn’t matter which generation we’re talking about …
The 2017 MFS Heritage Planning Survey reports 80% of "Millennials" (defined as those born from 1981 to 1997) have either delayed or expect to delay a major life event.
Already, nearly 25% of Millennials have delayed having children and buying a home. According to the Pew Research Center, 32% still live at home with a parent.
"Generation Xers" (defined as those born from 1965 to 1980) aren’t in the clear, either.
The MFS survey disclosed 70% of Gen-Xers reported they would have to delay a life event — or have already delayed a life event — for financial reasons. Only 33% of Gen-Xers reported confidence in their ability to address financial concerns as they arise.
And "Baby Boomers" (defined as those born from 1946 to 1964) are struggling, too.
Research from GOBankingRates published last year revealed 28% of Americans age 55 and over said they don’t have ANY retirement savings … 17% said they have less than $10,000 saved … and 9% said they saved between $10,000 and $50,000.
It’s not a secret nowadays …
There’s a savings crisis in America.
The aforementioned statistics confirm that savings is an issue for most age groups. And it applies to both pre-tax or after-tax accounts.
Well, at least everyone has their emergency fund covered, right?
CNN recently reported 63% of American adults do not have $500 in a savings account to cover an emergency expense.
That’s right. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults don’t have a minimal safety net to tap if and when a financial crisis occurs.
Related story: When More Than Half Have Less than $1,000
While the retirement situation is a bigger long-term story, a new solution attempts to fix the root of the savings problem. It can automate your savings … help you save more money … and allow you to grab control of your financial future to save for the things that matter.
Whether it’s to save for a new car, a new home, a vacation, a laptop, an anniversary gift, a rainy-day fund or something else … I’ve found what looks like a great way to kick-start your savings.
Meet Dobot, "the robot for your dough."
This personal finance mobile app launched in July 2016. Dobot is a free, easy-to-use financial app that helps you save for the things you really care about. It is designed to empower you to achieve financial health and help turn your goals and dreams into reality.
|Image Credit: Dobot|
Dobot’s founders spent decades in the financial services industry, and saw an opportunity to improve the financial lives of all people. With the right tools and a little support, they believed everyone could save more and invest in their future.
Dobot was developed to provide those tools and that support.
With Dobot, you can:
Create Goals. Give your goal a name, set the dollar amount you’ll need and when you’ll need it.
Save Money. After you connect your checking account, Dobot’s algorithm goes to work to determine your "safe savings amount" and transfers small amounts of money each week.
Be Inspired. Dobot sends helpful advice and encouragement via text and email to help you stay on track in achieving your goals.
Punch in what you’re saving for, the dollar amount and when you’ll need it by. And Dobot becomes your personal savings robot …
|Image Credit: Dobot|
While its focus is on Millennials and tomorrow’s investors, anyone can use it. It’s designed to be extremely simple and easy-to-use. No jargon. No complexity.
Dobot is one of the few companies that seeks to combine insights from behavioral and cognitive psychology with conventional investment products. Except at this early stage, there’s no investment return associated with Dobot. Your Dobot savings account earns 0.00%.
But, its focus on the "Nudge Theory" of investor behavior could be much more purposeful. With the savings statistics mentioned earlier, most of us can use a "nudge" — or positive reinforcement through technological breakthroughs — when it comes to be better savers.
So far, Dobot seems to be a big hit with its users …
Here are some Dobot user testimonials:
"I LOVE this app and it’s helped me pay down credit cards so easily. I never even realize money has been taken out. This app is changing my life. THANK YOU!!" — Amanda Z.
"Out of sight, out of mind! If I know the money is going somewhere (i.e. another account), I won’t spend it. That’s why Dobot is so darn awesome!" — Anya H.
"I just wanted to say I’m loving the app. It’s working flawlessly and I’m actually having fun saving money for the first time in my life!" — Sean L.
"Just wanted to let y’all know I appreciate your app and its simple interface. The app makes it easy and almost fun to save money (especially with the pictures to keep you motivated). Anyhow, awesome job and y’all did a great job in creating this app!" — James G.
"I have never actually been good at saving. I haven’t had more than $10 in savings accounts in years, so this is a great start! Awesome!" — Starr L.
"For every paycheck my wife and I get, we automatically save $10! And weekly she saves an additional $5 for a goal we are saving for at a very slow rate. Those are just small amounts, but in addition to what Dobot saves for us it adds up!" — James M.
"You guys are awesome! Love saving money with Dobot’s easy to use app. And I’m stoked whenever I reach a goal." — Niki R.
"This is a very helpful app for a constant spender, such as myself." — Alex J.
"Great app. I use it to teach my kids about saving and how just putting a little away every pay period really adds up. I even started using it to save money for Christmas!" — Jeffrey A.
"I love the program. It is a set and forget and so easy!" — Kendra C.
According to the Head of Product Development at Dobot, the most popular savings goals have been for travel/vacations, new home/home improvement, new car and just plain vanilla general savings.
Also, roughly two-thirds of Dobot user goals are targeted to be reached within a year. And approximately one-third of goals have a target amount of $1,000 or less.
Users are saving before they spend, and avoiding credit card debt as a result!
I reached out to Dobot’s CEO & Co-Founder John Longley, who told me:
"It’s extremely satisfying, and humbling, when our members tell us that we’ve changed their lives. Helping people realize their goals and dreams … that’s what Dobot is all about."
If you’re in a savings dilemma along with most Americans, Dobot may be a good place to start.
Download the FREE app. Connect your checking account (Dobot connects with 9,000-plus U.S. banks). Add or withdraw money at any time (Dobot savings are kept in a bank and FDIC-insured up to $250,000). And if you like it, refer a friend and earn a $5 reward (no limit on referrals).
Tell Dobot what you’re saving for, and it will help you get there.
P.S. If you’re already an experienced saver, you may want to check out two other mobile apps:
Digit is a mobile app focused on helping users put more of their money into savings. Digit learns about your spending habits and makes regular small transfers into an FDIC-insured savings account. It offers a quarterly 1% "savings bonus." However, it charges a $2.99 monthly fee.
Albert is a mobile app focused on providing financial guidance tailored to your specific needs. Albert connects to your accounts and provides recommendations on credit cards, life insurance, or setting up a retirement plan.