After three decades of being alive, you’re a high-functioning adult and should have a good amount of money saved by 30.
Then, as a high-functioning adult, you suddenly find yourself accumulating student debt, paying taxes, and being socially encouraged to stop living with your parents and move out, all the while being peer pressured into forgetting all of that and living in the moment.
In this past decade, we have experienced a drastic change in social settings and we often seek answers to what is expected of us shortly. This is one of those occurrences – seeking an answer to how much money you should save by what age.
While searching for the answer, you’ll come across many numbers telling you the exact amount you should be saving before proceeding to the third decade of your life. At the start, let’s make it clear that there is no set figure and no one-size-fits-all answer to this.
There’s an answer, but it’s not what everyone else has been telling you.
So let’s get right into it!
The art of saving money
If you’re getting closer to your thirties, or are halfway into your twenties, you may think you no longer need advice about money. This is where you’re mistaken, as now is the age where you need good money advice and to implement it.
Before worrying about how much money you need to have saved by the end of your twenties, you should start learning ways to improve your finances, and your savings will improve in due course.
If you think it’s too late to be changing your money-saving tactics, remember that it’s never too late to start saving money. Implementing ineffective tactics to save money will only leave you with more stress and less money. Meanwhile, a good strategy could help you save 2 years’ worth in a year. Perhaps the greatest advice for saving money at this point in your life is how Morgan Housel puts it:
“Growth is driven by compounding, which always takes time. Destruction is driven by single points of failure, which can happen in seconds, and loss of confidence, which can happen instantly.”
Even if you’re not up to the saving mark that others have decided for you by the time you’re 30, don’t worry – you’re not failing at life.
It’s great to set goals, but achievable goals must consider every possibility. When saving money, there are too many variables to be considered. Everyone has a different income, liabilities, and opportunities to avail. Whether you have $50,000 or $15,000 saved by now or your 30th birthday, you’re still making progress.
The rule of saving money
According to Statista, the annual mean wage for a full-time employee in the U.S was $71,456 in 2020. There has been an $18,221 increase in annual mean salaries throughout the last decade. However, with the economic inflation and rising cost of living, it is still difficult to save money.
To set an amount of money you should have saved by 30, a general rule of thumb is to save as much as your salary for one year.
By the time you enter your 30s, you should have 1× your annual salary saved. Suppose your annual salary adds up to $50,000. You should have $50,000 saved by the time you turn 30.
This simply serves as an example. Your annual salary can be more or less depending on your job.
Don’t be overwhelmed, though. Start by saving as little as $30 per week. You’ll find yourself gaining confidence in your saving skills and it will be only a matter of time until you can save a lot more.
What steps can you take to start saving money by your late 20s?
The most difficult, yet most crucial time to save money is your twenties. Here are some steps you should take when you’re hoping to save more money in later years.
- Build an emergency funds source/account
- Prioritize paying credit card or student loan debt
- Invest the surplus after you no longer have debt
- Plan for a 401 (k) retirement plan or an individual retirement account
- Consider your financial support options wisely
- Stop comparing your finance to other people your age
- Occasionally refer to financial advisory services to make informed decisions
The key takeaway
The range for age and savings gets wider as you get older. Saving money may also become easier with time, considering you’ve cleared your debts or have been promoted to a better position with a greater salary.
Saving for the sake of saving would be a pointless venture. Instead of chasing figures, we suggest you save mindfully with a purpose. It can be anything from keeping backup money for an unforeseen situation, saving with the intention of investing, saving to buy a house when you’re 35, or any other aspirations.