SunTrust CEO: Most Americans Are Under Financial Stress

SunTrust’s (NYSE:STI) new onUp campaign is promoting a five-point plan to help Americans get financially fit. SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers weighed in on some of the key elements to improving Americans’ personal financial health.

“Well, we have a number of things, we’ve got some tips that we think people ought to follow.  We did a survey, which showed that 75% of Americans are under some kind of financial stress, 40% of Americans don’t have $2,000 saved for an emergency, when you switch to Millennials that’s 60%.  One-third of Americans don’t have anything saved for retirement, so our recovery is a bit fragile from that standpoint,” Rogers told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

According to Rogers the first key step to financial health is tracking your spending habits.

“It starts with tracking spending.  You know, making sure that you know what you’re spending your money on, there are lots of apps and budget tools and certainly on our conversation there are lots of tools and resources to use.”

Rogers says that tracking spending habits usually reveals opportunities to cut costs and save money.

“When people start down the process of figuring out where they spend money, they always find opportunities to save, whether it may be ‘I’m eating out too much,’ or ‘I’m spending too much money on clothes or transportation.”

Another key tip according to Rogers is to establish what your financial goals are for you and your family.

“Establishing values.  You know, what’s important to you, is it saving for a deposit on your home, is it starting a college fund, whatever it may be that are your particular values.”

Rogers explained the importance of households setting aside an emergency fund.

“And then back to the other earlier statistic is start an emergency savings fund.  We think that’s just critical and of at least $2,000 for the unforeseen emergency that comes up,” Rogers continued, “and the curveballs are usually health-care related, that something happens to you, your partner, your spouse, your children, your parents and it may be as simple as something happens to your car and you can’t get to work.”

Rogers then weighed in on why participating in a company’s 401(k) plan is so beneficial to an employee’s retirement goals.

“Just simple things like participating in your company’s 401(k) plan if they have one, you know, a company’s match is 100% interest, I mean, where can anyone get 100% interest?”

Rogers sees Millennials as beginning to get more involved in planning their financial future.

“So, it’s important to start early and create that dialogue and we think Millennials are starting but we want to really encourage them to start with a little more vigor.”