Some people roast on Twitter and roast MarketWatch for an article that was originally published in January, stating that you must have double your saved salary when you are 35.
I understand why people make fun of it. As MarketWatch notes in its roughly-titled follow-up, the response emphasized how anxious people feel about their financial responsibilities and the obstacles that make up for saving for retirement. “
Putting such a large number on something will certainly scare people, especially when you consider that one in three Americans has less than $ 5000 in pension savings, while one in five has no pension at all, according to the Planning & Progress study 2018 from Northwestern Mutual. “It is certainly possible, but in my experience not usually,” says Roger Whitney, a Texas-based Certified Financial Planner, about saving double your salary.
In fact, even diligent savers would have a hard time meeting that threshold. Here is an example of Danielle Schultz, an Illinois-based Certified Financial Planner:
Let’s consider Mary: whoever starts working at the age of 25 earns $ 60,000 / year to get started [and] receives a 2% increase every year. [She] carries 10 percent of her salary ($ 6.00 / year or $ 500 / month to start), and this increases by two percent each year if she receives an increase. [Her] employer corresponds to three percent of her salary, so in total the first year $ 7,800 goes to her retirement plan.
Let’s also say that she has invested quite aggressively – okay, for a young person – and she earns seven percent a year in money.
In 10 years, at the age of 35, Mary would have saved and invested $ 116,712. Her salary would have risen to $ 73,189, so yes, it is within the realm of possibilities. To ensure that Mary doubled her saved salary ($ 146,378), she would have to save $ 9,800 a year in total, two percent each year.
It is also the minimum rate that I would recommend to save for retirement. In 35 years she would have about $ 1 million – not really a fortune, but more than a lot of people. That plus social security could help her, although hopefully Mary will improve her earnings by more than two percent a year and save much more. 35 years is becoming rather vague for the projections, but I think you can see why a saving of at least 10 percent is quite important.
That said, the article is pretty harmless – I even wrote something similar! Because despite the possibility that the figure will be unpleasant for some people, it is also … true. Yes, saving twice your salary by the time you are 35 will help you achieve a stress-free retirement.
Of course it is not possible for many people. That “stress-free” retirement is more a fabrication of the past (it wasn’t really true for that many people in older generations, either) than a guarantee for employees now. As I wrote earlier, these numbers are a way to have a frame of reference for how much money you want, so that you can work on it.
Like everything, there is no standard for everyone that applies to everyone when it comes to your personal finances. It is true that money experts – the people in places like Vanguard and Fidelity – double your salary as a benchmark, but that’s all. It is the best scenario. Personal finance experts also say that you cannot incur debts that you cannot afford and that you can never buy coffee on your way to work, but of course people do not follow these ‘rules’ either. Just like you, your five servings of fruits and vegetables probably don’t eat a day or you refrain from drinking and smoking to maximize your health.
“I think this rule of thumb does not apply to everyone. There are so many variables to consider, it is impossible to provide broad, general advice,” says Kathleen Grace, a Florida-based Certified Financial Planner and managing director at United Capital. “What kind of healthcare coverage will they need in the future? Do they work part-time during retirement? What are the living costs where they retire? Will they have debts when they retire? Are they planning to sell their house to retire? to fund? ‘
How to Save Double Your Salary
So what can you do? The basic rules for personal finance apply. If you have a 401 (k), contribute to the match of the employer and then a number (or open an extra account). If you do not have 401 (k), open an IRA or a Roth IRA. Remove external expenses, automate as much as possible and be aggressive when pursuing a job and ask for a higher salary.
“By being able to save, you have to control your costs so that they are less than what you earn,” says Schultz. “So if you can’t save, you have to waste costs, earn more, or a combination of the two.” There are no such simple facts.
You’ve heard this before, right? And you say: I have to save for my pension, pay off the student loan, save for my wedding and a house and pay for my children. All on stagnated lages or gig economy work. It’s just not enough.