Your savings rate is an important part of your budget. Are you saving more than you spend?
How much money do you want to save? Many people struggle with this question, but it is a crucial one. If the answer is ‘as much as possible,’ then you need to have a serious conversation with yourself.
Knowing how much you want and need to save is crucial.
What Does Savings Rate Mean?
The savings rate is the amount of a person’s money that they save instead of spending. The more they save, the less they spend. It can be hard to save money in today’s economy because people often have to spend a lot of their money on things like food or rent and it is hard to have enough left over for other things.
The savings rate is the percentage of disposable personal income that a person or group of people save rather than spending on consumption. The savings rate reflects the rate of time preference for an individual. A savings rate of zero means that a person is not saving any money, while the savings rate might be 20% for someone who saves $20 out of every $100 spent.
The savings ratio is the percentage of income that people save each year as opposed to spend on consumption and other expenditures. It can also refer to net savings after taxes.
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of finance tips, but one that cannot be overlooked is your savings rate. The thought-provoking conclusion? If you’re not saving money consistently and effectively, it could derail your retirement goals or even leave you broke sooner than later. But don’t fret–I’ll walk through everything from what a savings rate actually means to how much yours should be so we can pinpoint where improvements are needed!
What is Your Savings Rate?
Your savings rate is an important measure of how you’re managing your money. A higher percentage means that more of the funds in your paycheck is being set aside to provide for a rainy day or retirement, which can be stressful for some people who worry about what could happen if they were unable to work full-time and had no other income coming in.
It’s always good practice not just to put away 10% but rather try saving as much as possible even when it feels like there isn’t enough left over after bills come due each month because this will ensure long term success with financial stability without sacrificing quality time spent at home with family or friends during all stages of life.
A high savings rate ensures that more than one shortcoming may arise before savings are depleted. What’s more, if savings rates remain consistent over time, there is a better opportunity to increase savings amounts in the future and continue building wealth as well as reduce stress about short-term expenses that might not be covered with other sources of income or savings.
A low savings rate can indicate one or both of two things: either the savings are being used for emergency purposes, or that they’re not savings at all but rather just a temporary source of funds.
The first thing to do is find out what your savings rate actually is and work towards improving it if necessary. Here’s how:
- Make a budget so you know where every dollar is coming from before calculating the savings rate
- Track savings and spending to see how much is being saved each month, then compare it to your income. If you’re saving less than five percent of what’s coming in every year, that might be a sign that savings need work!
- Pay off high-interest debt first so savings can grow faster with lower monthly payments
- Automate savings so you don’t have to think about it
- Create a savings goal and set up automatic deposits from checking into savings each month. That way, money is taken out before the next big expense of the month comes due (a car payment or mortgage).
Why Knowing Your Savings Rate is Important
Your savings rate is arguably one of the most important components in your financial plan, and for good reason.
It’s what you have complete control over! You may not be able to predict how much money will come from investments or when you’ll die, but you can decide on a budget that includes regular contributions into an emergency fund and retirement accounts so that no matter what happens with finances down the line, there won’t be any worry about constantly coming up short.
The best way to get ahead financially is by investing in yourself instead of what the market’s doing. One powerful investment you can make? Increasing your savings rate through cutting costs and increasing your income!
Through controlling expenses, focusing on a high-savings rate, and seeking out opportunities for higher paychecks – all possible with an increase in skills like how to negotiate salary or ask for more money at work–you have substantial power over achieving financial goals even when markets are plummeting.
As you are probably aware, one of the most important aspects to consider when planning for retirement is what percentage of your income should be saved. This could make a big difference in how much money you have during those golden years – or whether that dream vacation with your grandkids will become an everyday occurrence!
In addition to being something which we all hope pays off handsomely down the line and makes working hard worth it, research has shown saving as little as 10% more per month can mean spending nearly four fewer hours at work each week – freeing up time for family activities like attending soccer practices or going on long-overdue trips together.
How to Calculate Your Savings Rate
The savings rate is the number you get when you divide your monthly savings by your monthly gross income and then multiply that decimal by 100.
It is important to know how much of your money you are saving. You can figure this out by dividing what’s left over after paying for bills and other necessities into the amount that was earned in a year, which will give you an idea about the percentage saved at any given time.
You might think it would be better to save more than 10% but if we’re not careful with our spending habits then there won’t be anything left once retirement rolls around!
Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial goals that people have. It’s amazing to think about how much you could potentially save if your employer offers a 401(k) or another type of plan through their company as well!
Be sure to calculate these contributions into your monthly savings in order to maximize what will be available when it comes time for you to retire and live on those funds instead.
Saving money can sometimes seem like an impossible task – with rent, student loans, car payments all seeming so high up there every month where does saving ever come?
However, putting just $100 per paycheck away from each check towards something (like retirement!) means big things are possible way down the line while also setting them right now too!
Saving for retirement is a daunting challenge, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. By calculating your savings rate with gross income rather than net pay you can get an accurate picture of how much money you need put aside if the goal is to save enough so that at 65 years old and retired all your living expenses are taken care of without dipping into any funds from other investments such as social security or pensions.
Example: Cahmariah is saving $550 a month towards retirement and also saves $200 each month for an eventual down payment on her home. She’s maximizing the amount of savings she can put into these areas because this will be what helps to sustain her in future years! Retirement plus other savings divided by monthly gross income.
$550 + $250 = $750 / $5,000 = 15% Savings Rate
Camariah is an average saver, she saves 15% of her annual income. If we calculate it on a monthly basis, Camariah would be spending about $1k per month in retirement savings which isn’t all too shabby!
Camariah has been saving for the future and averages to save around 25-30% each year.
Savings Rate Recommendations
The average saving rate is 15%. While not a bad rule of thumb, there are some factors that can change this:
- What would happen if your income increased?
- How will inflation affect you and what should you do about it?
- Age you started to save money
- Number of years you are able to save money
- How much do you need in your retirement years?
You might be wondering about the best age to start saving for your retirement. This is a tough question, but it becomes easier with some math!
Suppose you begin at 25 years old and save $1000 per year until 60-years-old on an investment that earns 8% interest annually. The amount of money you have accumulated after 30 years would then be approximately $1,508,500 or more than three times as much!
How much money do you need to have when your retire in order for the lifestyle you want.
The other factor that should be taken into account is, of course, what kind of retirement lifestyle will we wish to lead?
If you start saving early, the CFP Board recommends a 10-12% savings rate. If you don’t save for your retirement until after age 40, it is necessary to increase that whole percentage to 20% because of inflation and interest rates which are higher later on in life.
When you want to retire before the general retirement age range of 65-70 or have other big goals, it is important that your savings rate adjust.
That’s why a personalized financial plan can be extremely helpful in determining what percentage of your income should go into saving for these purposes based on how old you are and if there will always be another source of income such as social security.
How Your Savings Rate Impacts Retirement
The amount of money you have saved will drastically affect your future. The one factor that has the biggest impact on how long you’re going to live comfortably is not time or rate of return, but savings rate.
Time and growth rates are important also, although they depend a lot on what investments we choose for our portfolio; however, saving more now can exponentially increase the size of our nest egg later in life when retirement becomes an inevitability.
Boosting Your Savings Rate
It’s partially about budgeting, but a lot more. For many people who want to save money and invest wisely for their future, there are several behavioral problems that need addressing in order to be successful: spending less is not just a math problem; it requires re-assessing what constitutes the quality of your life so you can prioritize saving over all other financial decisions.
Some tricks may work better for one person than another because every single individual operates differently–some will have an easier time reducing wasted income while someone else might need to alter their savings allocation.
Some people are just better at saving and will be more successful than others, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on the savings game altogether–we can always start small!
Financial planners recommend starting out with a savings rate of 12%, which is about one-tenth of your income.
When you set out to raise your savings rate, remember that it’s about adopting a mindset more than anyone tactic or action. If keeping up with the Joneses is important for you, don’t expect to ever make much money; because there will always be someone who has a richer lifestyle and whom you compare yourself against.
Investing in high-ROI investments is not sexy, but there’s no more effective way to build long-term wealth than by taking the time and discipline it takes. Invest your every possible cent on these types of assets as they will compound over a period of time for even better results!
How to Boost Your Savings
Set a savings rate target: How do you budget? Do you start with your expenses or with saving what’s leftover? Most people head straight to their monthly bills, figuring they can make more cuts later on. But that just sounds like continuing all your current eating habits when trying to lose weight: it misses the point of making cuts.
The key principle for successful budgets is cutting costs-not by a little bit but by as much as possible in order to create savings and achieve financial stability sooner rather than later!
Instead, start with a target savings rate, and the higher it is, the faster you can build wealth.
A quick way to see this in action is by looking at retirement savings. Today’s investment advisors recommend saving 15% of your income for adults who plan on working an average 40-45 year career followed by a 20-30 year retirement where they withdraw 4%.
You don’t have to work until you are old and grey. Boost your savings rate so that the number of years left in your career is reduced. I know people who retired before turning 30 by setting aside 75% of their income for retirement, which gave them more time with family while still having a steady source of revenue coming into their bank account each month!
But what if you don’t want to work 40-45 hours per week? Simple: Increase how much money you save every day as this will chip away at the amount necessary on any given paycheck from one year down to only 3 months’ worth (if saving an average of $100/paycheck). In my experience, it’s not just doctors or lawyers who get to retire early; it’s also those who are living below their means and savings rates of 50%+ every month!
The first step is setting a target savings rate. Pick a percentage, look at what that leaves you to spend, and then budget your expenses based on that figure.
Ask for a raise: Increasing your savings rate isn’t just about spending less. You can attack the problem from the other direction by earning more as well, but you have to avoid lifestyle inflation and keep expenses down even if income rises.
One way to do this is to get a raise by pursuing a promotion at work. Laying the groundwork so that when you approach your boss, he or she will be more inclined to give in and offer some extra cash! Work hard, don’t be late for anything including meetings. Go above and beyond will get you noticed in a good way.
Another way to ask for more money is by negotiating your salary. This might sound less than intimidating but if you do it right, the pay increase will be a win-win situation for both parties!
Ask with compassion: One of the best ways to get what we want in life (especially when asking for something we think others should give us) is to make the ask with kindness and compassion.
It’s true that money is a sensitive subject, but it doesn’t have to be tough or off-limits just because you’re not as skilled in negotiating for pay increases as you are at doing your job! The best way to get what we want from others (and ourselves) is by asking with compassion.
I know you might be thinking, “that’s easy to say but not so easy to do,” and I totally understand! It can feel really hard to soften your tone or change your attitude when asking for something that we want a lot-especially if it means having fewer savings because of our request. But in the end, we can’t take savings for granted and so we have to find a way to be compassionate with ourselves.
How does it work? Like this: Say you want an increase in your monthly savings rate, as well as the ability to reduce how much is automatically taken out of each paycheck into savings-a nice one that’s being raised from 20% to 30%.
One of the best ways I found out how to improve my salary was through climbing up to higher levels within my company.
Being stuck in a rut at work can be the worst feeling. However, it is possible to find more fulfilling employment elsewhere if all other routes fail. Many employees are able to secure better terms of employment by changing jobs than they were receiving from their current employer and often even negotiate for higher salaries with new employers!
Negotiating your salary has long been viewed as how one optimizes his or her earnings but not everyone feels comfortable about doing so face-to-face when negotiating an offer letter; going behind someone’s back doesn’t feel fair especially since many people will do anything just make you leave after finding out that you’re unhappy working there.
That being said, sometimes this drastic measure may really pay off which takes away any guilt associated with the process.
The reality of job-hopping is that while it can help you to switch industries or reach a higher salary, employers are more likely to view this as an unstable and unreliable candidate. Not only does the new company have extra work in trying to train their newest employee on how things operate there but they also risk someone who may not stay long enough for them to reap all the benefits from training time investment.
Hybrid checking/savings account: Savings accounts and checking accounts are both convenient for many things. But what if you could have the best of both worlds in one account? If so, I would recommend opening a high-interest savings account with your bank now!
But what if you could get all of the benefits of a savings account (i.e. higher interest) in a single checking account?
Now, you can get the benefits of savings to account with no worries about having one for transactions and another to earn interest. Plus, there’s nothing not to like when it comes to earning more money!
Pick apart your budget: What are you willing to give up so that your savings can grow?
The biggest way for all of us to boost our savings is by tearing down the budget and assessing recurring monthly expenses. The ones that really take a toll on any extra money we have lying around – believe it or not, these are typically things over which you hold some form of control!
Monthly recurring expenses can be a scary thing. Some of the big ones are insurance, your mortgage, and utilities. If you’ve never taken time to look at what these monthly costs might add up to over ten years or more in total – it could cost you thousands!
The best way for most people is to start saving earlier rather than later – even if they only save just $10 per paycheck in an emergency fund- that will help take some worry off their shoulders by knowing they have something set aside instead of being caught without anything when emergencies arise (and we know how often those happen!).
Some reoccurring payments we overlook are
- Cell phone
Add more to your 401K: You could take advantage of your employer’s retirement contributions as a way to increase the amount you save. Many employers offer matching contributions, which is like getting an instant return on your investments in savings!
If you want to save more money for the future, there are a number of ways that will help. One thing people often forget is their 401k contribution – it’s easy enough and just takes a few minutes! Read more about retirement.
Do your research on how much should be saved in retirement accounts. If you’re unsure about where to start, consult with an expert or financial advisor who can go over all of your options before signing up for any account plans or investments!
If you’re looking to boost your savings, remember that a 401k contribution is pre-tax. When boosting your contributions, this means the increase won’t show up as much in checks because it will be deducted from taxes automatically and save money overall.
For example: if you have $1250 contributed for the tax year 2018 and make no other adjustments or withdrawals during the year–you’ll receive approximately $625 back through reduced withholding at work ($1700 minus 25% of salary).
If you’re not saving for your retirement right now, it’s time to start- and this will make the process a lot easier. Your employer may offer up to 6% of matching funds just by contributing 4%. That means if you save $1 monthly out of every paycheck ($12 in total), then they’ll match that amount as well!
Another example, say your employer offers 100% matching for the first 4% of salary contributions made towards 401(k) or 403(b) accounts with an additional 50%, but only on what is contributed past their initial contribution limit: 2%; so after adding 5%, 1/2 (50%) matched percent from them would be 3%. All you have to do is contribute at least 12
One way to additionally contribute more towards retirement without noticing too big an impact on paychecks would be by taking advantage of any raises or bonuses received while employed; these additional funds can go into one’s employer-sponsored plan (up until annual limits) with similar benefits!
Start a side hustle: My number one tip for boosting your savings is to simply earn more money. There are a million ways you can do this – from asking for raises at work, freelancing on the side, or even taking up some part-time jobs in order to increase what’s coming into your wallet each month. The reason earning more money is so important?
Well, it allows you flexibility and freedom that budgeting alone just doesn’t provide; there will always be things that aren’t feasible with only cutting costs as an option (for example: getting out of debt), but when we’re talking about saving and growing wealth over time, then income really matters!
You don’t need to break the bank in order to save for a rainy day. With so many options available, you can take control of your financial future by earning extra income- and use that money as an investment into your savings account or retirement fund.
Are you looking for a way to earn some extra cash this year? There are so many ways, from working overtime at your current job or taking on an additional gig.
You could take advantage of the increasing popularity in online work such as Uber driving and start delivering food through Doordash! The possibilities are endless with all these options available today that can help you make money outside of what may be already offered by your employer.
Side gigs are not only a great way to make more money, but they also diversify your income streams and can provide you with valuable tax deductions unavailable for traditional W-2 employees. Many people start their side businesses while working full time then grow it into something bigger.
Read more about Side Gigs
Automate savings: Saving more money is a behavior problem, but it is not an insurmountable one. It’s true that discipline alone will probably never get you to your target savings rate if the underlying root cause of why you don’t save right now isn’t addressed first – and in many cases, it won’t! However, there are other ways we can help our brains function better so they’ll do what we want them to without needing as much willpower or self-discipline.
Saving more money is a behavior issue – which means simply restraining yourself from spending any extra income on frivolous things like lattes doesn’t cut it when trying to reach your saving goals fast enough.
The simpler you make your money management system, the more likely it is to work well. With automated transfers coming out of my account on payday, I never have an excuse to overspend because there’s no temptation in seeing that cash sitting around waiting for me!
Instead of relying solely on ourselves when we want our spending under control and monitored closely (which can be difficult), get the money out before you spend it by setting up automatic recurring transfers from a checking or savings account every time they are paid.
It doesn’t take any effort at all once set up with direct deposits arriving into their accounts after payroll has been processed as long as they use these funds intelligently instead of letting them grow stagnant while yearning for something new and enticing.
Another way to keep your finances in check is by setting up a savings account or brokerage account at another bank. By making it harder for you to see, the temptation of dipping into those funds will be lessened and your future self will thank you!
Cook most meals at home: There are many different things to consider when it comes to budgeting for food. People typically spend the most money on groceries, but sometimes they might feel like treating themselves to a nice dinner at a restaurant – which is an entertainment expense and not related to eating out or even cooking!
There are also ways that restaurants can charge more than just what you’re paying for your meal; this includes wine and tipping. And as if these prices weren’t already too high enough, some places have been known recently in charging double of what their customers would pay outside of living costs (such as gas).
The 3rd largest expense in most people’s budgets is food. Sure, dinner out every once in a while sounds great – until you get that bill!
Cooking your own meals at home is cheaper and healthier than eating out or ordering take-out. To save even more money, try cooking a batch of make-ahead freezer meals to cook when you don’t have time for anything else!
As I cook more, my skills have improved. It’s a virtuous cycle that makes me enjoy cooking even more! My favorite dishes are easy to make so it doesn’t take much time or effort from the start of the meal prep until eating–everyone loves this kind of food in our family both on weekdays and weekends during holidays too.
This leaves you with less money for other things like groceries because instead of spending $10 each day at McDonald’s, we spend about only $5-6 per person making home-cooked meals every day after school and work which is also better healthwise than fast food plus your house will smell amazing when you come back home (even if there isn’t anyone else living here)!
Reduce housing costs: Housing is the biggest expense in most people’s budgets. That means it has the biggest potential to save you money! There are many ways to “house hack,” and have someone else pay your housing bill for you. The classic model involves buying a small multi-unit property, moving into one of the units, and renting out all others that come with this type of real estate investment. You can even use an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment if needed (which makes financing easier).
The idea of building a small home on your property to rent out for extra income is an attractive one. You can use the in-law suite as housing, and you’ll be able to offer it at higher rates than ordinary apartments because they come with all amenities included.
The beauty of this option is that not only will you be rewarded by earning more money from renting, but also if someone rents a room in your house then their portion of mortgage costs could help alleviate some burden off yours!
Purchasing land seems like an expensive investment and may not always have potential buyers interested; however, there are ways around this issue such as: constructing accessory dwellings (in-law suites) which renters love due to all the amenities they come with.
Or you could build a tiny house and live in it yourself while renting out the other, larger portion of your property to others who need more space such as retirees or growing families.
An Airbnb can be a great way to make some extra cash on the side. Or if you don’t want more people in your home, consider renting out space for storage.
There are many ways to get creative with your mortgage payments. You can bring in a foreign exchange student through a service that pays a monthly stipend, which may cover over half of the cost of your home payment!
Cancel subscriptions: Chances are, cable TV isn’t the only money-sucking subscription you have each month. Sit down and take a look at your last two months’ statements. What recurring subscriptions do you spend all of that hard-earned cash on? Chances are they’re not improving your life as much as you think!
Could it be possible that there is something else out there sucking up all of those precious dollars every month? I’ll admit, sometimes I find myself paying for subscriptions without thinking about my bank account balance because these services make me feel good in some way (Netflix helps with boredom; Apple music satisfies my music needs). But what happens when we go through each subscription and make cuts? How much money can you be putting towards retirement?
The subscription box industry has grown to a multi-billion dollar phenomenon in the United States. Companies love these boxes because they only have to make one sale and then can keep earning money from you every month, but are subscriptions worth it? Pick through your current subscriptions with a fine-tooth comb—any that don’t leave you jumping for joy each time shouldn’t be around anymore!
Get a cheaper phone and plan: The four largest mobile phone carriers – Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile – spend a massive amount of money on branding. They charge premium rates to customers who are willing to pay for their brand names in order to get the best service possible with network quality and customer support.
Yes, they also maintain large mobile coverage networks. But what sets them apart is their willingness to share access with other carriers; for example, Boost Mobile uses Sprint’s 4G/LTE network and Cricket currently uses AT&T’s wireless network while MetroPCS utilizes T-Mobile’s4G/LTE.
Generic drugs are the same as their branded counterparts, except they have a different name. The only thing that makes them any less effective is branding! To help you save on your cell phone plan, read up on these ways to reduce its cost without sacrificing service quality or size of data usage allowance.
Transportation: The cost of transportation is the second-highest expense in most people’s budgets. And it’s far, far higher than expected.
The average American spends around $9000 on car costs annually which can be a big dent to your budget as well from insurance and gas expenses all the way down to parking fees!
Living car-free doesn’t seem like a realistic option to most, but it comes with many benefits. It’s time we seriously consider the idea and make an informed decision of being car-free. When I lived in Boston, there was no need for a car, everything was within walking distance. I now live in Florida so I have to have a car, everything is not within walking distance here. I miss car-free days.
Might be hard at first, but in reality, you’ll save money every month that way since your expenses for gas will go down significantly – not much more than $25 per week!
You can use this extra cash by living within walking distance from grocery stores or daycare (or whatever else suits your needs).
Some people may have trouble imagining themselves without access to driving around town whenever they please; however, if someone is willing enough there would be significant savings over owning a vehicle outright such as upfront costs.
You could always bike or walk to work instead of driving. You can also carpool with others, take public transportation, and utilize ridesharing programs like Uber and Lyft more effectively! Why not try some new ideas for saving money on transport costs?
Stop paying for cable: You are out working and spending time with the kids, so exactly how much of that cable are you watching? Not worth it!
I like to watch my shows on Hulu and Netflix. I pay for Hulu, which comes with Disney, Amazon Prime at $12.99 per month is also an option that has the streaming service as well! I use a Roku device so we can access these services when we want a show or movie fix. When I didn’t have much money, Netflix was all I could afford- but later on, adding another streaming app allowed me to find new favorites while still making it affordable!
Watch less TV, live better and longer. It’s a fact of life that there are many more hours in the day than you can find things to do with yourself.
Screens like TVs consume our time by filling it up with unimportant entertainment (that we pay for), leaving us feeling unsatisfied but too lazy or apathetic to fill those holes through meaningful pursuits such as hobbies and socializing.
When we give ourselves permission to ditch the screens, often without even realizing it at first because they’re so ubiquitous in modern society, then suddenly all this newfound free-time is just waiting open before us! What will you make happen?
Now’s the perfect time to really turn up your savings. If you follow these strategies, it’ll help get things going and take the personal finance game to new heights!
You’ll be surprised to find that you can improve your savings rate by a huge margin if you make some minor adjustments. By adjusting the way in which we spend our money, it’s possible for us to reduce spending and increase saving at the same time- all without feeling deprived!
You might think there is no room left after paying off your bills each month but what about those little things? The coffee shop on every corner or taking an Uber instead of riding public transportation – these are just two examples out of many ways people waste their hard-earned cash when they could easily save more with less effort.
You’re probably familiar with the old adage, “it takes money to make money.” But there is a measure of truth in it. The more you put into passive investments and capital for business opportunities, the higher your return will be on that investment because you are generating income from those funds without doing any work or having any responsibility whatsoever – so naturally, they produce an infinite amount of revenue!
If we can invest our hard-earned cash wisely then as time progresses we’ll end up earning more than what was originally invested (provided nothing goes wrong). It also leads me to my next point: investing more.
In the beginning, not everyone knows where to find money in order to invest. You will need a plan and discipline, or else you won’t make it past your first investment.
It’s something that no one talks about either – how do I get my initial cash for investing? The answer is simple: live below your means! Cut out any unnecessary expenses so when an opportunity arises you are prepared with some extra savings on hand.
It’s not fun to drive a 17-year-old Honda while your colleagues and friends drive brand-new Audi’s.
The story with wealth is that it doesn’t happen instantaneously. It’s a process – one where you have to be disciplined and save your money wisely for the future in order to create lasting success now or later on down the line.
To get there, we should avoid buying things just because they’re shiny new models of our favorite cars, but instead, start investing in stocks or an IRA account so that we can leave having made real progress towards financial freedom by building up equity…in ourselves!
Now’s the perfect time for some more serious savings on your part.