If you’ve met your savings goals by socking away three months’ worth of expenses by the time you hit 25, you’re ready for the next step. You’re ready to save for life goals.
Indeed, once you’ve hit 30, life starts to kick into high-gear. You may now have bigger goals, like getting married, buying a house, or starting a family. All of these life goals have one thing in common. They’re expensive! This is why it’s important to have even more money saved up as you reach age 30.
Take a look at our tips to help you determine how much you should save.
Determining How Much to Save
Shannon McLay, founder and CEO of the Financial Gym, encourages clients in their late 20s and early 30s to have three months’ worth of expenses in savings before they begin saving for anything else.
“It’s step one when we start working with a new client,” says McLay.
Next, McLay works with her clients to assess their life goals and determine next steps for their savings. For example, if a client wants to buy a house, McLay encourages her to save up for a 20% down payment, plus $10,000 for contingencies.
“Something always breaks when you buy a house, so you need to have extra in savings,” she says.
For clients wanting to get married, she helps them create a realistic wedding budget and a savings plan to get there. Or, if starting a family is the goal, McLay wants clients to save at least $1,000 per month during the entire pregnancy.
“The amount you should have saved in your 30s is more variable,” she says. “It really depends on what your goals are. But, we encourage clients to prepare for life as it happens.”
How to Catch Up on Savings
For clients approaching age 30 who are behind on savings, McLay helps them review and reassess their goals to create a plan of action.
“Often the goals we are trying to reach aren’t even what we truly want,” she says. “So, we take time to find out if their goals are really theirs, or if they are trying to reach goals set by others.”
McLay says it’s important to get to the root of her clients’ goals because they’ll save more faster if they have something to look forward to. In addition to helping clients examine their goals, she also encourages them to pay themselves first.
“Most people create a budget and a life around their expenses with saving as an afterthought. If you want to get ahead, you have to change that mindset around and make savings a priority.”
But what if you’re still falling behind in your savings goals? McLay says you may want to work toward earning more money.
“Earning more money doesn’t just mean having a side hustle,” she says. “You can earn more within your career, too.”
The Financial Gym offers salary negotiation training to help clients feel confident about asking for more money at work. McLay says her clients typically secure annual raises of $5,000-$10,000 after taking this training.
After you’ve finished saving for big life goals, it’s now time to set your sights on saving for retirement and other fun things in life.
“Once they realize financial freedom is within reach, this is when our clients really start to get excited,” McLay says.