Money

How Much You Should Save by Age 30, According to an Expert

December 30th 2016

By:
Loretta Donelan

It’s almost the new year, the time when many of us set personal and professional goals for ourselves. If you're one of the many Millennials with zero dollars in your savings account, you might benefit from setting a financial resolution for 2017.

However, figuring out exactly how much to save can be difficult, especially, when parents or experts seem to expect that you'll have thousands saved by now.

While that is probably an overreaching goal for most twenty-somethings, Kelly Smith, a writer and engagement specialist for The Penny Hoarder, told ATTN: that the amount of money you should have saved by age 30 really depends on where you are in life.

Savings

How much should you have saved?

“I think the goal at any age is to get to the point of having six months of living expenses saved up. Admittedly, it's harder in your twenties but it's a good time to start,” Smith told ATTN:.

Considering that the average monthly cost of living for a single adult with no children in the U.S. is $2,371, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute, Smith's advice would require keeping around $16,000 in the bank at any given time. Of course, having thousands saved for emergencies is a far cry from what many people in their twenties actually have in the bank. Close to three-quarters of Millennials have less than $1,000 in savings, and around one-third have no savings at all. For those who might find the idea of having an extra six months of living expenses stored up unachievable, Smith suggests keeping at least $1,000 stored away for emergencies.

The fact that so many young people have little to no money saved isn’t a matter of Millennials being more careless with their money than previous generations. Smith points to high student loan debt, rising living costs, and more complicated, tech-filled lives as the reason why Millennials have such a hard time finding money to spare. “[Saving is] not impossible, but it can be intimidating,” she says.

How to save when you're struggling.

For those Millennials who believe that they are unable to save anything out of their paychecks, Smith says that it’s never too late to start saving, and any amount saved is better than none, “even if it's storing spare change in a mason jar.” She advocates for mindful spending as a tool of self-moderation. “I’d also recommend Millennials track their income and spending in a conventional spreadsheet or budgeting app,” she says. “Being able to see where your income is coming from and going helps you understand what you can and can’t afford to save.”

You might not be able to keep $16,000 in the bank at any given time, but don't let an intimidating, rigid number discourage you from saving. In the case of an emergency, having a few hundred dollars saved will prove far preferable to having nothing at all.