If the teen years are about experimentation and your twenties are spent setting the foundation for your adult life, what should the focus be as you enter your thirties?
The thirties are the years when most of us are becoming established in our careers, starting families, and making our first major property purchases. It’s also a time when we should have some savings tucked away for emergencies and retirement.
Savings Stats That May Surprise You
How much you have saved by this age depends on your income, spending habits, and lifestyle.
The average married couple in their 30s with no kids has just under $9,000 in their savings account. Singles and younger adults tend to have significantly less in savings, averaging about $2,729. The best savers are couples in the 55 – 65-year age range with children. They have about $17,587 in their rainy-day account.
Your saving is also influenced by your work classification. People with traditional careers and steady salaries need less in savings than solo professionals, people struggling in a gig economy, and those who are self-employed.
How much should you have saved?
The old rule of thumb was to save three months’ worth of living expenses, but the 2008 recession changed all that. Experts now recommend that you tuck away between six to eight worth of expenses.
Yet, surveys show that only 30 percent of us have adequate money saved to cover an extended emergency like unemployment, car repairs, or a serious medical problem, and 18 percent of working adults in their 30s have less than five months worth of expenses in their savings account.
4 Painless Ways to Build Up Your Savings
Stagnating wages and crushing debt are having an effect on millennials. As things stand today, more than half of people in their 30s would have trouble paying for an unexpected $1,000 expense.
Saving for the future is something most of us know we should be doing, but few of us think about at the moment. However, the longer you wait, the more pressing the issue becomes, and the more of your money you’ll have to pull away from other things to support your golden years.
Financial experts state that you should have one full year of salary saved toward retirement when you enter your 30s; that jumps to three times your annual income by the time you reach your 40s. In addition to a 5 – 8-month emergency fund, you should be putting away about 15 percent of your salary toward retirement every year.
Here are cost-effective ways that you can boost your savings without reducing your quality of life:
1. Set Goals
Your savings goals should be split into an emergency cushion to cover the unexpected and retirement savings.
When we’re in our 20s, and even into our 30s, the future seems far away. It’s difficult to know what retirement will look like and how much we will need to live on in 30 – 40 years.
If you need some help getting started, there are online retirement calculators that can give you at least a solid estimate.
By the time you’re in your 30s, you should have a respectable amount of money put away toward retirement and about eight months’ worth of expenses in a rainy-day fund.
This isn’t a chicken-or-egg situation, either. If you haven’t started already, your emergency savings account should be set up and fully funded before putting away money for retirement.
2. Create a Budget
The best way to determine the baseline for savings is to create a budget. First, write down how much you actually spend on monthly fixed expenses, variable expenses, and extras.
Seeing everything in black and white will give you a realistic snapshot of where you stand financially and identify areas where you can cut back and add to your savings.
For example, you might be surprised at how much you spend on non-essential items each month.
After writing down expenses you can’t avoid, like mortgage payments or rent and utilities, determine how much of your pay is left to fund your savings. The average worker has about $13,000 left after living expenses each year that could be saved or invested.
3. Shop Around
Your saving is also affected by the type of accounts you use to pay bills and build up your nest egg. You should shop around for a bank that offers a competitive interest rate and favorable terms, such as no fees or fee reductions, on checking and savings.
Between credit unions, traditional banks, and online banking, there are enough banking platforms and products out there to give you real options. Select one that offers perks like cashback bonuses and a higher rate on balances.
4. Take Advantage of Employer-Provided Savings and Retirement Programs
If you’re one of the fortunate people who have a retirement plan through your employer, take advantage of the opportunity. The money will be taken out of your pay automatically, so it’s pretty painless, and the best plans come with matching employer contributions.
Those who are self-employed or working at jobs that don’t provide a pension plan should check into opening a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE IRA), a 401K, or a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP). These are regulated through the IRS and usually available through your bank.
Right now, the average American doesn’t have enough money in the bank to cover an emergency without jeopardizing their financial security.
In the end, your savings is influenced by your knowledge of personal finance combined with a little discipline and foresight.
Set goals, choose the right savings platform, and create a savings schedule that will make your dreams a reality.
About the Author
Brandyn Morelli is CEO of Tilt Metrics, a B2B growth marketing agency based out of Providence, RI. He is also the co-founder of HelloCecil, a SaaS platform helping small businesses make smarter hires through video interviewing.