Here’s the rub on savings…you can NEVER start too soon and you can never save too much!
After working almost 29 years in the financial services arena I now know and believe that the single most important thing you or anyone can do, beginning with the first dollar you ever earn, is to take and save a percentage off the top of every single one of them forever and always! The sooner that you or anyone (your kids) incorporates this most powerful strategy of “pay yourself first”, and then makes it a “habit”, will you have the best possible chance of always having the adequate resources (money) to handle any emergency, take advantage of opportunities that may arise, AND the option to retire comfortably one day if you choose to. You see nothing else matters if there’s no fuel (or not enough) getting into the gas tank or you run out along the way. If there’s only one thing I can teach to the masses, a single message to share with every human being on the planet, it is to start taking at least 10% off the top of each paycheck earned moving forward and lock it away. Put it under your mattress, stash it in a cookie jar, or deposit it in an account that’s out of reach and commit to not touch it unless one of the three things mentioned above presents itself… 1) an emergency that you can’t cover from other liquid capital 2) an opportunity that can grow your savings 3) you reach retirement and need to live off of your accumulated wealth. You see it’s not so much about the “where” to put it as it is about the habit of saving. If you do this, then and only then, will you be prepared to handle most of, if not all, the curveballs life may throw at you at any time without any (or as much) fear and anxiety as when you otherwise don’t have the resources.
The action part of saving is more important than the rate of return you (hope to) earn, for every additional dollar saved is 100% more. So how much should you be saving? 10% is a great place to get started, but if you can only start with 5% due to cash-flow issues then do 5%, but only if you absolutely cannot do 10. Ideally, if you are able to bank 20% you will have twice the peace of mind, double the capital to work with along the way, and a much greater lifestyle later in life. (more is better!)
The key here is not to get hung up on the numbers and begin to make some sacrifices. Start saving money today and forever in order to have a bright tomorrow period! Very simple and yet extremely hard to implement for most in this immediate gratification world we live in. But I tell you, after 29 years of being exposed to all different types of people and their personal balance sheets, this is the single most important thing you can do for yourself and those you love. The coolest part is once you do form the “habit” of saving, and begin to see your nest egg grow, you will more easily forget about what you may be giving up and still have a great life today spending and enjoying the rest of your hard-earned income. All this while ultimately achieving the ability to receive a continuous income stream forever…working or not.
Please share this message with your spouse or partner, friends and loved ones, and by all means teach this to your kids early in their careers with the most time on their side for it to have the greatest impact. Those who implement will thank you one day for changing their futures, one dollar at a time.