How Much Should I Save From Each Paycheck?

So you want to become rich? You know that in order to become wealthy you need to put aside some of your income into something that will create more money and compound over time. When you break it down, that’s really how easy it is to become a millionaire. That’s all great, but you might be asking yourself, “How much should I save from each paycheck in order to become rich?”

The standard answer is to save 10% of your income. That’s easy enough, right? If you have a 401k at work, just have your employer put 10% of your money in a mutual fund so it is deducted before taxes and you’ll be on your way to making your first million. If you’re doing this, that is great, but is 10% really enough?

The 10% rule is just a very general rule of thumb, but you might want to strive to save more. For one, the more you save, the more money you’ll have and the faster you you’ll reach your financial goals. But there’s more to it than just the speed that you create your wealth. There are some very important issues that need to be considered as you map out your financial plan.

When figuring out how much I should save, I like to work backwards in time:

  1. How old will I live to be?
  2. What kind of lifestyle do I want to live during retirement?
  3. What unexpected costs could I incur during retirement that I should be prepared for?
  4. What age do I want to retire at?
  5. How much money do I want and need to get through retirement when adjusted for inflation?
  6. How many years of investing do I have before I retire?
  7. What are my average returns on my investments?
  8. How much capital do I have invested now?
  9. What can I comfortably save each month now?
  10. Is this enough money to reach my goals with my current timeframe and investment returns?
  11. What can I do to produce more money to enhance my contributions or returns?

This allows me to clearly identify my goals and what I need to contribute on average in order to get there.

Although your income may increase as you get older, so do your expenses, so it’s important to not think you will just play “catch up” later in life. Secondly, time is the critical element in the wealth formula, as the longer your money is invested the more times it can compound and double in value. With that in mind, it is important not to put off your savings, as it can be costing you the luxurious early retirement you dream of.

Millionaire Money Habit: While the 10% rule for savings is a good starting point, it is more of a general guideline rather than a rule of thumb. Consider what your financial goals really are and outline a clear plan on how to get there. When you break it down into a simple monthly savings plan, achieving your goal becomes virtually effortless.

8 Responses to How Much Should I Save From Each Paycheck?

  1. I think the 10% thing is really over played; it makes people feel good because they’re doing what "the experts" recommend and if you’re honest with yourself, it’s pretty easy. If, on the other hand, you’re actually serious about building wealth, you should set some more aggressive goals. 50% or more isn’t really out of the question.

  2. zeromoney says:

    10% is almost peanuts.. it’s great if you start when you’re 16 or 18, but if you’re in your late 20′s early 30′s 10% wont’ get you very far, unless you plan on working until you’re 70.

    I strive to save about 25% right now, and even then I don’t feel it’s cutting it sometimes. Mind you I don’t want to be working once I turn 50.

  3. MT says:

    i work retail. i dont make much but as of now to be honest, i do
    have $4000.00 in savings and i only started Oct ’08. last week of
    october. that is $8.00/ hr. and i love shopping too. but i do make
    sure before i spend my hard earned money on stuff that i want i
    already put a lot more that 10% on my savings account. i think it
    depends on the person. you have to have set goals and make sure you
    try your very best to achieve it.

  4. Tanner Jacobson says:

    I beleive 10 % is a little under what it should be, No one is gonna wanna save more than half, but saving only 10 % is too little, it needs to be about 25 to 35%, that way u save about one fourth or one third of ur money, its better to hav 3/4 of ur money to spend then almost all of it, that way ur not tempted to go take that other 10 % out and spend it.

  5. As Mr. Goldfinger stated, the trick is making your 10% work for you. Keeping your money in a .5% interest savings account won’t give you anything aside from mold on your saved money, and you don’t want your money doing nothing. One “safe” option is to look towards saving a certain amount, generally double the amount that you wish to invest (e.g., I want to invest $5,000 in stocks, save $10,000) By investing in low risk stocks which offer dividends, now you MAKE a quarterly amount with your saved money as opposed to just putting it in your piggy bank. You can even inject your newfound quarterly earnings right back into your savings account or into more investments. Try it once, and if you like it, repeat the process to earn more. For more info, google “Widow Portfolio”

  6. Erica says:

    I think 10% is not enough to save if you want to retire at a reasonable age. Personally, I save 20% right now, and after student loans are paid off, I will push it to 25-30%. 10% will not get you very far. If you clear $2000 a month that is only $200 saved per month, which won’t get you anywhere fast. Also, remember it’s not how much you save in your bank account, its the money you put away in 401K’s, as well as pensions and Roth IRA’s. Invest your money wisely!

  7. Amanda says:

    Lovely, thank you

  8. Ashleigh says:

    This is really attention-grabbing, You’re an excessively professional blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look ahead to in search of
    extra of your magnificent post. Additionally, I’ve
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