Charles Schwab has proposed eight ways Americans can increase their savings, the company announced Monday.

The personal savings rate in the United States is now below 3 percent, which is more than 50 percent below historical averages, Schwab says, so Schwab has proposed Savings Fundamentals to help people increase their savings.

The first step is to contribute enough to receive the full employer match for any company 401(k) plan that is available.

Second, Schwab says, pay off credit cards and other high interest debt, then set up an emergency fund to cover three to six months of expenses.

Next, in the order of importance, is contribute the maximum amount possible to tax deferred retirement accounts such as an IRA; save for a child’s education; save for a home; pay down debt such as mortgages that are tax deductible, and invest to help build up savings.

Schwab has also launched a Web site designed to make saving less daunting that can be found at