The Number One Rule for Personal Finance
There is growing concern that Americans are in the midst of a savings crisis. The statistics are more than mildly concerning. 63% of Americans don’t have enough savings to withstand a $500 emergency. Even more concerning is that there is a growing percentage of Americans with zero savings at all.
It's also estimated that one-third of Americans, many of whom are already in their 50s or older, have no retirement savings either. And those who are saving aren't saving enough. It's not surprising then to learn that 60% of Baby Boomers are more afraid of running out of savings in retirement than dying.
The future is not all gloom and doom, however, if you follow one simple personal finance rule that could well change your financial well-being:
PAY YOURSELF FIRST
Before you spend any money on bills, entertainment, or whatever other expenses come your way, put a portion of each paycheck into a savings account. If your emergency fund is lacking, complete it first. If you have enough short-term reserves, focus on retirement.
Ideally, you should aim to put 10% (or more) of each paycheck into savings, but if you can't hit that target just yet, do what you can. But no matter how little you sock away, make sure to save something before spending a dime. It's the only way to guarantee that you'll have money
available when you really need it.
Take a look at this table below, and that might make the picture a little clearer in your mind. Think of when you turn 65 and what you’d like to have in savings at that time. If you’re 40, and have zero savings put away, you can start today, and by the time you reach 65, you can have amassed $175,000.
If you don't prioritize and pay yourself first by taking steps to start saving, you risk running out of money in retirement or facing serious consequences when an emergency hits.
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