6 Reasons You’re Not Saving Enough
Saving money can be a challenge for any person or household. Limiting your spending in order to achieve a surplus of income is not the standard in America. 40% of Americans spend more money than they make, creating a snowball of debt that becomes nearly impossible to slow down, let alone stop. So why don’t we save more money? We’ll explain some of the largest reasons you might not be saving enough and what you can do to get back on track.
How much do I need to save?
The amount you need to save varies from household to household. Someone that has an ongoing medical condition might want to save more than someone who is perfectly healthy. If you want to live a lavish lifestyle when you’re retired, you might want to save more than someone who is okay living life in the same manner they had been. There is one thing in common, however. EVERYONE should be saving. There is almost no scenario in which you do not need to save.
Because the amount you need to save varies, we’ve outlined some of the most important factors below from most important to least important.
Emergencies will happen. Are you ready? Saving for your emergency fund will help you to stay on track when an emergency strikes. Strive for saving $1,000 first and then 3 to 6 months of income for your emergency fund. This will allow you to pay for necessary expenses like your mortgage or medical bills when something comes up.
If you plan on retiring one day, you need to be ready for it. The scary part of retirement is the unknown. You simply will not know how long you will live and therefore how much you will need. It’s always wise to save more rather than less when it comes to retirement savings. With the advancements in medicine, the chances are, you’ll live longer than you expect. The worst thing you want to happen is not being able to support yourself and your family throughout this time.
Typically, it is recommended that you save roughly 15% of your income annually for retirement. This number, however, is completely arbitrary. We won’t get into the details of saving for your retirement here, but it’s important to know the earlier the better when it comes to retirement saving, giving your money more time to grow.
Why you’re not saving enough
There are hundreds of reasons you might not be saving enough. We’ll cover some of the most common reasons below.
1. You don’t have goals
Saving is not an easy process. It can be overwhelming at times. Breaking up your large financial goals into smaller more reasonable goals will help you to stay on track. Even if your goals are as small as “not spending money one day per week” or “eat out one less meal per week”, they can help you reach your long term financial goals.
To set goals, you must know what you want to achieve. Whether it’s paying off credit card debt, or saving for retirement, understanding your long term financial goals is critical.
Start by writing down any and all of your long term financial goals. Then think and write down ways in which you can achieve these goals. As you achieve your goals, check them off in order to keep track of your progress.
2. Your goals are unrealistic
If your income is $400 per week, you shouldn’t expect to be able to save $400 per week. You need to ensure that your goals are realistic in order to keep yourself focused. Typically, you should aim to save around 15-25% of your take-home income. Anything more is icing on the cake, anything less and you might not be saving enough. Setting realistic goals will help to keep you motivated on your journey, so make sure you’re not overextending yourself.
3. You splurge
For many Americans, splurging is a way of life. Whether it’s food or money, we have a hard time controlling ourselves. This can wreak havoc on your finances and health. Learn to control your spending during particularly stressful times, like the holidays or upcoming birthdays.
To help with this, consider creating a budget so that you can allocate these expenses across the entire year making the holidays and other big expenses that much less stressful.
4. You aren’t focused
There are hundreds of distractions in today's world, making it impossible to focus on what matters. And that’s just as true when it comes to your finances. You’ll need to stay focused so that you can reach your financial goals.
To help you stay focused, keep a journal of your financial activities and goals. Similar to the psychology of a checklist, you’ll be able to see your progress as it happens.
5. You spend too much
Spending is one of the largest pieces of saving. After all, your income minus spending equals your savings. Decrease your spending and you can increase your savings. Increase your income and you will increase your savings. Controlling your spending is one of the most difficult aspects of personal finances. Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, or a car payment, all of these items will hurt your savings. Create a plan to decrease your spending and watch your savings grow.
6. You live above your means
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “keeping up with the Jones’”, and that can cause us to save less than we should. Living above your means can cause you to spend money on things that won’t matter in the long run like a new car or the latest technology. Instead, you should try to live below your means so you can save more.
So how do you live below your means? In short, you should spend much less than you can afford. If you can afford a $300,000 house, maybe that means buying a home worth $225,000. Or if you can afford a brand new car, maybe look at getting a vehicle a couple of years old that has already depreciated. Living below your means will help you to save more so that you can reach your goals faster.
There are many reasons people aren’t saving enough. Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, or just a lack of discipline, spending too much can crush our financial goals. Create a budget to help guide your spending so that you can save more.
We hope that you can learn from some of the most common reasons you aren’t saving enough. Think we missed one? Comment your thoughts below!