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Did you know that last year (2006) the nation’s savings rate was negative 1%? This means that the average American spent 1% more than they earned after taxes. There has been great discussion about how this is the lowest savings rate since the Great Depression, when there was a negative 1.5 percent rate in 1933.

So why not be un-American, and set up a long-term savings plan?

Suze Orman has partnered up with TD Ameritrade to provide the Save Yourself Plan: Sign up before 3/31/08, agree to deposit as little as $50 a month, and at the end of 12 months, TD Ameritrade will deposit $100 in your account. As of this post, you get 3.82% APY on your money as well. Just remember, you cannot touch the money for a year or else you forfeit the $100 bonus.

http://www.saveyourself.com/ (Code is: 701)

Suze Orman has a financial column in my “O” magazine that I regularly enjoy, which is where I first heard of this plan. Even though the plan is part of Suze Orman’s “Women & Money” promotion, it is open to both men and women aged 18 or older.

This is not the highest APY out there for a MMA, but considering that you only have to deposit $600 total over the course of a year (at least $50 per month for 12 months) and that you get the $100 cash bonus at the end of a year, it’s actually a great deal! I’m signing up for one now. And think about it this way — if you sign up now, you will get a nice $100 bonus just in time for Christmas 2008!

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