Welcome to America Saves Financial Challenge

Dear America Saves Challenge Participant:

Welcome to the online 2014 America Saves Challenge (ASC). This free five-week program, open to anyone who enrolls online through March 2, 2014, will be held from Sunday, February 23, 2014 through Saturday, March 29, 2014, for a total of 35 days. Research indicates that it only takes about 21 days to form a new habit so, if you start performing the ten Challenge activities daily, you could be well on your way to improved financial security when the ASC ends.

It has been well documented that, when people monitor their behavior and measure their how they’re doing, they often inspire to do better and achieve positive results. Participants in the ASC are “on your honor” to report your activities accurately. If you “cheat” on the reporting your points, you are only cheating yourself by not following recommended daily practices.

Note that you have 7 days to input your data for a day’s activities. For example, your points for Sunday, February 23, must be entered online by Sunday, March 2. If you wish, a paper tracking form can be downloaded to keep track of your points before they are entered online. The link for downloading the paper tracking form for the ASC is http://goo.gl/71GIyO.

Prizes will be awarded for participants who report the highest point totals. At the end of the ASC, you will also be sent the link to an online survey to evaluate the SSHW Challenge program. The online ASC is housed on the Web site for the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) Challenge. If you haven’t already done so, please download the Challenge User’s Guide on the SSHW Challenge home page: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw. It will tell you everything you need to know to navigate the Web site and input your data.

If you have any questions about the SSHW Web site, check the SSHW Challenge FAQ page at http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/challenge/challenge-faq.pdf or send an e-mail to oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu. If you find any “bugs” in navigating the site, let us know that, too, so we can notify our IT team immediately to correct them.

Please note that ASC participants will have an opportunity to replace one daily personal finance activity with a unique daily personal challenge of your own. This will make the Challenge more “personal” for you and provide an opportunity to practice new behaviors if you are already doing all of the 10 pre-selected activities. Just make sure that the activity that you select is something that can be done every day. You can earn a maximum of 100 points for each day that you participate in the ASC.

As you check the boxes with your personal data, you will see your point totals for each day of the week and for each of the ten activities you are tracking. You’ll also see a bar graph that compares your personal progress to the average scores of everyone else participating in the Challenge. Daily motivational messages will also be provided to participants via e-mail.

Best wishes to you as you participate in the 2014 America Saves Challenge. We know that behavior change is difficult. We also know that success is sweet. Your motivation and attitude are key factors. What you think about, you bring about!

To keep you on track, you will receive short daily motivational messages that describe one thing that you can do each day to improve your finances. Below is your daily message for the first day of the 2014 America Saves Challenge:

Sunday, February 23, 2014
Welcome to the America Saves Challenge! We’re glad to have you on board. Taking control of your money is very important. If you do not do it, no one else will. There are smart phone applications that can assist you in tracking and controlling your spending. Visit http://aol.it/19L5yq3 to learn more about apps to manage your finances.

Elaine Courtney and Ricki McWilliams (University of Florida) and Barbara O’Neill (Rutgers University)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *