How much should I save?

How much should you save?

That’s a very good question, to which the easy answer is simply “as much as you can and then a little bit more.”

As I’ve written over on the page for this new tool, the savings rate calculator is designed to help you break a big savings and investing goal, years away, into small chunks. Why small chunks? Because that’s how you live your life. You can look at marginal purchases when you’re thinking about how to allocate your money and decide what makes more sense: another four movie channels or $23.75 a month to add to your savings.

As you’ll see if you read right-minded people, these spending choices pay a double dividend: first, each time you save money it adds to your nest egg and speeds up your time to being financially independent; second, each time you restructure your life to avoid some expense that you realize is not necessary for you to be happy, you permanently remove that expense from your future spending, so you don’t need to save more money to underwrite that future expense.

So if you ditch a third car, you can pocket that money today. More money saved = retire sooner. Then, post-retirement, you won’t need to spend that. Lower expenses = retire sooner.

Note: this isn’t about having the lowest possible expenses of anyone. This isn’t a competition. It’s about your life. If you like something, do it. Enjoy it – really enjoy it. But add a bit of mindfulness and see whether there are things you should be eliminating from your life because they don’t bring you as much joy as they cost.

I hope the tool helps you plan. Please let me know what you’ve found worth keeping in your life, and what you’ve let go. Again, it’s not a competition against anyone but yourself. These shared stories are here to help us realize what we might not have thought about – either as something important or something not.