You want to balance your present needs with your future needs, between saving too little or too much. If you are on track, we generally recommend saving no less than 10% and no more than 20% of your income. You may have to save more than 20% if you are behind or want to retire before your Social Security full retirement age.
How do I know if I am "on track"?
There are so many ways to define this. Is it earning enough to make ends meet, having no debt, having some money set aside for a rainy day? We want to suggest using the Financial Life Cycle, which divides your life into ten typical financial stages and provides specific wealth-building strategies for each stage and financial ratios that mark the transition from one stage to the next. With this approach, you can look at your current stage and compare it to your desired stage.
You can get a quick assessment if you are on track, behind or ahead of your peer group, using our FREE financial assessment tool.
Where to put the money I save?
The best location for your savings is inside an employer retirement plan or IRA. This way, savings will be stashed away for future use. And yet, the money is accessible in case of a real emergency.
How to get started?
Behavioral economists have discovered that our brains are programmed to consume. That may help explain why it is easy to spend and difficult to save. We can overcome this natural tendency by set ourselves up so that we become automatic savers instead of automatic spenders. Here’s how to do it:
- Set up automatic savings by having 10% (or more) of your paycheck automatically deposited into your 401(k) or IRA.
- Set up automatic bill paying from one checking account or credit card.
- Set up automatic tracking or accounting. The monthly statement from the single account becomes your record of expenses. You can sign up for one of the FREE online automatic accounting services such as Mint or Yodlee to get a bigger and more detailed picture of your finances.
- Finally, stop impulsive spending by cutting up all the credit cards except one.
Next, you should get your FREE subscription to Plan And Act and start by taking your FREE Financial Assessment today.
If you have questions about financial planning or implementing strategies that can help you grow your portfolio to your retirement level, please visit www.planandact.com.