Thinking about the distant future is not always easy or appealing, but it is really important. Whether it’s buying a house or living comfortably once you stop working, forward planning is the key to achieving your goals and avoiding difficult situations, such as retirement poverty.
How to start saving successfully
Around one in three millennials is stressed about how much (or rather how little) money they have saved. At the same time, however, the number of young people successfully saving (with more than $15,000 dollars accrued) has risen significantly in the past few years, according to a Bank of America survey. So what are they doing right, and how can you join the successful savers club?
Here at Mind the Gap, we talked to more than 200 women about their money and financial situation. Based on their input and knowledge, we gleaned some useful tips about how to optimise your savings and ensure you meet those long-term goals.
The sooner you start saving, the more you stand to gain overall
IN YOUR TWENTIES
- Pay off all your debts.
- Easier said than done, granted, but put aside as much as you can, with the aim of being debt free as soon as possible.
- Save a minimum of three to six months of your expenses in cash.
- You can also consider dividing up your savings, using some to pay off debt and some to put aside to invest.
- Make sure your lifestyle expenses don’t exceed 75 percent of your gross income.
- Don’t spend everything you earn.
- Learn negotiation skills and get paid what you are really worth.
- Men earn more than women in part because they ask for more money.
IN YOUR THIRTIES
- Aim to have saved twice your annual salary.
- It’s an ambitious goal, but the sooner you can start investing, the more you’ll reap in the end (remember: compound interest!)
- Invest in your goals: paying for college, starting a business.
- Think carefully about your goals and priorities, and align your actions to them.
- If you have children, think about saving plans for them.
- Kids are costly, so you can make a difference to your life and theirs by planning ahead.
- If you plan to return to work, keep your business skills fresh.
- Unfortunately, the world still requires this, in general. The good news is, however, there are new schemes designed to offer a helping hand.
IN YOUR FORTIES
- Aim to have saved three times your annual salary.
- Thanks to compound interest, saving actually gets easier as time goes by.
- Build your wealth and protect your assets.
- Learn how to make and maintain smart investments.
- Check all your insurance agreements and pension schemes.
- In Germany, particular import is placed on health, pension and elderly care insurance.
- Negotiate a higher salary.
- By now, you’ve accrued vast experience, which can be leveraged in negotiations.
IN YOUR FIFTIES:
- Aim to have saved five times your annual salary.
- Define what you need to save for your retirement.
- Envisioning a life of leisure is actually a lot of fun!
- Take time to plan your medical care and insurance.
- As you age, such insurances become more important, and a mistake can be hugely costly.
- Be a leader at
- Put that experience to use in showing others the way, helping them learn from your mistakes and successes. Women in particular need such role models.
- Aim to have saved eight times your annual salary.
- Plan your retirement strategy.
- How will you spend your time and what will your expenses be?
- Check your budget and adjust it against your retirements plans and goals.
- Now look at your plan: Can you afford it?
- Enjoy your freedom and free time.
- Reap the rewards of your hard work and foresight.
We keep talking about compound interest and why it’s best to start saving as early as possible. That’s because each year you earn money on the interest you earned previously, so your balance doesn’t just grow, it grows at an increasing rate. Here’s an example:
- If you put away €1 at age 20, it will be worth €21 by the time you reach 65
- If you wait until you are 30 to invest that same €1, it will be worth €10.68
- If you wait until you are 40 to invest that same €1, it will be worth €5.42
- If you wait until you are 50 to invest that same €1, you’ll get a measly €2.76