This question is often answered with a ‘rule of thumb’ – 15% if you’re under 30 years old, 35% if you’re over 50 – or a variation on this theme. Or a Google search would direct you to a more complicated savings calculator.
But I want to ask a different question – ‘why am I saving?’ And the answer I’m looking for is not ‘retirement’ or ‘an emergency fund.’ I want you to answer the question of why these savings are worthwhile to you now. How can it improve your quality of life in the future and the present?
It’s worthwhile to answer this question since saving money doesn’t provide immediate gratification. Its money you’ve said is off-limits until some future situation. If you don’t have a good enough answer to the question of ‘why am I saving,’ there’s a good chance this money won’t stay saved.
I think the answer to this question for many people is peace of mind. Saving for a vacation instead of financing it with credit cards means you don’t have to find the money for extra bills or pay high credit card interest. Or having an emergency fund means you don’t have to borrow money from family if you lose income.
Is your answer to ‘why do I save money’ different? What is your ‘why’?