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Do you think about saving money and instantly feel guilty and/or defensive about your lack of savings? You are so not alone. And while we’re here to tell you a bit about how much you should be saving, we also want to talk about why you should be saving.
Building Wealth, Even Through a Financial Crisis
The basic truth of saving is this: You’ll build more wealth if you start saving (and investing) now. You should save up for emergencies, and we usually recommend 3-6 months of personal expenses (and 3-6 months of business expenses if you have a business or side hustle). Then you can start funding your Backup Life Bank, or BULB, which is about 25x your minimum income requirement. And beyond that… you should be investing.
Related: Grab our handy PDF of the BULB formula from our resource vault.
Why? Because you can add more money each month to your accounts and benefit from long-term interest growth on those higher balances. It’s the Law of Compounding Interest we are always going about and it’s real! But before we overwhelm you with the idea of investing, let’s talk about how much you should be saving.
Why Normal Savings Rates Aren’t Good Enough
“The experts” (who are they and where are they hiding?) say the average person should save about 10-15%, but if you’re serious about saving for the future and for a rainy day, we really think you should up that to about 25%.
Automatically set aside 25% of your monthly income to your emergency funds and, once you hit those savings goals, you can start investing 25% of your income to really build up your BULB — because, let’s be real, investing will potentially net you more compound interest than a savings account ever will.
And when you hit your BULB goal? It’s time to ball out. Go crazy and buy yourself a Tesla with cash, or buy a cabin in the woods. We don’t care how you spend your money, once you’ve paid your future self. The best part about reaching BULB status? You can build wealth on your savings and investments, and can make more money on the interest alone — all while you enjoy your extra “spending cash.”
You might be thinking, “I don’t know, 25% seems pretty steep…” If that’s you, it’s time to talk about mindset.
Why You Need to Shift Your Mindset About Saving
We know mindset is a big buzzword here, but we’re gonna use it in a different capacity than other people might. From a financial mindset perspective, you need to really think about your savings as improving your future state of affairs. It’s also important that you shift your mindset from one of scarcity (“I can’t save that much money! I wouldn’t have any money left!”) to one of abundance (“Look at what I can save for my future while also enjoying what I can spend today”).
Of course, we’re not gonna just leave you hanging with some vague “change your mindset” crap like that. Here are a few actionable tips you can use to actually shift your mindset from saving = scarcity to saving = abundance:
- Try thinking about your savings as an absolute must. Think about it like your rent, your utilities, your non-negotiable plant subscription kit you get in the mail every month.
- Think about your future self coming to collect. Do you want to live a work-optional lifestyle by the time you’re 40? Do you want to retire in your 50s after your kids go to college? Wherever you see yourself using up all that cash you’ve stashed, take a minute to visit yourself in that future. See yourself living in your “revivement” cashing in those checks, withdrawing that money, and living your best life.
- Automate it. Don’t think about setting aside money every month, just set it to auto-transfer. You might freak out when you have to manually do that transfer and accidentally sacrifice your future wealth for your current comfort.
- Don’t spend it all at once. There’s another skill you need to develop, y’all, and it’s not assuming that “abundance mindset” means “spending every last dang dime.” Yes, you can celebrate and yes you can spend the money you’ve worked so hard to make, but true abundance comes when all of your needs are taken care of. So don’t neglect saving!
There’s another thing we want to talk about: changing your assumptions about saving.
Common Savings Assumptions We Want to Bust
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Assume means to make an ASS out of U and ME?” If you haven’t, you’re welcome. But now we want to talk about your assumptions about savings… and how they might be making an ass out of you.
Let’s see if you’ve said this to yourself (or your besties after a few mimosas):
“I’LL START SAVING ONE DAY, BUT FOR NOW I’M JUST ENJOYING THE MONEY WHILE IT LASTS.”
You do see the problem there, right? Because, if things went south tomorrow, you wouldn’t have any money to enjoy. So you need to reevaluate your goals and make sure you can take care of yourself beyond tomorrow!
“THINGS ARE GOING WELL, SO I DON’T NEED TO SAVE RIGHT NOW.”
You know, while you’re making those big bucks, you could be setting aside just 25% (when you make a lot of money, 75% of your income is still a lot of freaking money) and building massive wealth. Save and invest when you have those windfalls — Dustin did, and he’s sitting pretty now! Plus, when another recession hits, you never know what can happen to your job, your side hustle, or your profession.
“MY EXTRA REVENUE STREAMS WILL KEEP ME AFLOAT.”
Let us make one thing very clear: you can diversify where you save and invest your cash — bonds, stocks, different asset classes, etc. — but even multiple side hustles and businesses can’t help you build true wealth.
Don’t assume your extra side hustle or cash hobby are going to keep you afloat if a recession hits, and don’t expect your corporate job to be “recession-proof” either. The good thing about saving money? It makes money for you… without you needing to work. So, we’d say that’s a better investment.
So… Are You Going to Start Saving Today?
We know that hearing how much you should save and actually saving that much are two entirely different things. That’s why we’re calling you out in this blog, right here, right now.
We’ve given you the foundation, we’ve given you step-by-step action plans. We hate to break it to you, but the jig is up. It’s time to start saving.
If you want to know exactly how to start saving, how much, and what to do with it, check out our [FREE] Know Your Numbers email series. You’ll get savings exercises sent right to your email — and they’re quick and easy to do.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
The opinions voices in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advance or recommendations for any individual.