I have made no secret that part of my dream is to retire early and achieve some kind of financial independence, so that me and my husband can escape the 9-5 life and make our time our own. Now, saving for retirement is something that we all know we should be doing, but what kind of percentage is good enough?
If you read traditional articles about retirement, they suggest 10% is a good number to save each and every month for retirement. If you do that consistently each and every month from the time you start work until you retirement, then in theory, you should have enough saved/invested, along with the government pensions, to retire. In fact, for some months and times of life, 10% might seem like quite a good achievement. There are always going to be stages in life when money is tight and saving anything at all is better than nothing.
But, realistically, it isn’t enough to save 10% of your income each month if you want to retire early. Some people in the PF blogging world save 70/80/90% of their income each month – how insanely awesome is that?! I mean, the numbers that they must save each month bump up their fund so quickly, combining that with compound interest and the numbers speak for themselves. In fact, the less you need to live on, the quicker your early retirement date can be, purely because of how you spend your money.
I am slightly embarrassed to say that we tend to save approximately 35% of our income right now (though April was a write off). Definitely better than a lot of my peers, I suspect, but not enough if we are to ever reach our financial dreams. Imagine the freedom of being able to save 50% of our income and live off the rest? The stress and pressure surely will be less and less. As the number saved (or invested) grows, the interest on the money will grow as well, meaning that the number rises faster. By lowering living expenses, and therefore saving more means that your final number doesn’t need to be so high either, as your living costs are lower!
This is why I’m aiming to save 50% of our income. Our ultimate dream fund can only be funded by money we bring in and don’t spend, so the higher the number we can save and put into that, the better. The only slight spanner in the works at the moment is the obvious fact that in August, our income will be lowered quite substantially whilst I am on maternity leave. Also, as we have no idea how much a baby is actually going to cost us, hitting 50% every month might stretch us. But, what’s an idea without a bit of challenge?
There are two ways I could do this:
- I could lower our living expenses. Our budget is pretty bare at the best of times, but one way to ensure you save 50% of your income is to lower your overall expenses. However, there is only so low your expenses can go, and I’m not sure that we would consistenly hit 50% with our income vs. outgoings so the other option is….
- Increase our income. I suppose the amount of money you potentially make is endless, if you have the time, energy and motivation to make it work. I am still thinking through some side hustle ideas, though I’ll be honest, actually taking the first step is particularly daunting to me. But, bringing in more income would be a sure way of us hitting the 50% savings goal. I am more and more confident about taking the first step to bringing in some extra income, though I don’t know why I’m finding it so hard? Perhaps I’m worried that I’ll fail….
Overall, I’m aiming to save 50% of our income to we can fund our dreams of early retirement and freedom to do what we please, rather than what our 9-5 jobs dictate we do. If that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is!
Do you save 50% of your income? How do you ensure you manage it consistently? I’d love to hear from you!