ING Direct, one of the pioneering online banks, has announced its new "We, The Savers" push, encouraging Americans to focus on finance fundamentals and put saving first.
In a letter on their Web site, CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann writes that we've made some mistakes, but can emerge stronger:
There's no denying it: America is in a tough financial spot, and some of the people in our financial industries have a lot to answer for. Eventually, they will. In the meantime, there is no way to turn back the clock on this crisis and not much the average person can do to alter its course. It has to play itself out, and we have to believe – and insist – that those responsible will play their parts in fixing it.
But what we can do is make sure, as the song says, we don't get fooled again.
Below is a 10-point plan for exactly that. If you live by it, you'll be in control of your financial life. If everybody lives by it, we'll live in a stronger nation. We urge every American family to read it, talk about it together, commit to it. Then print it out and tape it to your refrigerator door. It's a declaration of financial independence that will put your future into your own hands, where it was always meant to be.
ING's 10-point plan is as follows.
- We will spend less than we earn.
- We will use our home as a savings account.
- We will take care of our money.
- We will defend our credit worthiness.
- We will ignore unsolicited credit card marketing.
- We will know the cost of borrowing.
- We will invest for the long term.
- We will take care of the things we have.
- We will remember what matters.
- We will be heard.
We can't argue with any of the points — the level of finanical knowledge in the U.S. is way too low, and anything that can be done to improve it is a step in the right direction.
What We Would Add
Here's what we would add to the decleration:
- We will remember that cash is king.
- We will attack debt to reduce it whenever possible.
- We will not be swayed by the hysteria and panic in the media.
What would you add to ING's Decleration of Financail Independence?