Saving for the future is often overwhelmed by today’s bills and financial pressures. Yet, despite the challenges of setting money aside, it’s so important for your financial well-being to try and save a target amount each month. Whether you’re trying to establish an emergency fund or save for retirement, by implementing a goal and setting and sticking to a budget, your bank account will be able to grow over time giving you a sense of financial prosperity and security.
According to Bankrate.com writer Nancy Mann Jackson, although the amount to be saved for a solid emergency fund differs for everyone and is determined by your specific expenses and income, “a general rule of thumb is to save enough to cover four to seven months’ worth of expenses.”
After you’ve done the math to estimate your emergency fund amount, determined how much to put aside each paycheck that fits a sensible budget and regard it as a monthly bill you have to pay, Mann Jackson advises keeping the fund’s access at an arm’s length.
“Consider keeping emergency funds in a combination of locations, including an online savings account, in savings bonds and as cash in a lockbox at home,” reports Mann Jackson. “If you can’t stomach keeping a significant amount of money in a standard savings account with a low interest rate, consider a money market account that allows withdrawals only at certain minimum levels, or purchase short-term certificates of deposit with three-or six-month terms on a regular basis.”
Saving for retirement month-by-month is not an exact science. There are just too many unclear factors to consider such as how long your career will be; how the market and your investments will do; and what events in your life will cause financial strain for a 100 percent accurate budget, according to Investopedia.com writer Tim Parker.
“What is possible, however, is to operate under some rules that make assumptions. For instance, you could assume that you’ll have a steady income until age 65,” reports Parker.
To start the financial savings ball rolling, Parker says you need to understand replacement rate, which is “the percentage of your salary that you’ll receive in retirement benefits after you stop working. If you made $100,000 a year when you were employed and receive $38,000 a year in retirement payments, your replacement rate is 38 percent. (Needless to say, this figure is much too low for most people.)”
The experts at NerdWallet.com advise that a person should work toward the goal of replacing at least “70 to 90 percent of their pre-retirement income through savings and Social Security.”
Once you decipher your replacement rate percentage, estimate what you think you’ll spend in your retirement and factor in the age you start saving as well as the age you want to stop working, you will be one step closer to determining a clearer savings goal each month.
Saving while still trying to pay for living expenses can be a financial challenge, but the best way to prepare for the future is to work toward your savings goal and start saving as soon as possible.