Personal Finance For Young Adults: Savings Basics And The Power Of Compounding

Forbes - July 16, 2020

Are you just out of college and beginning a new career? Do you want to save money to buy a new car or home, or get married and eventually start a family? Or perhaps you just want to have a financial buffer for emergencies or know when and how you can start saving for retirement?

Saving money can be challenging, especially if you’re just getting started in your career. If you are like a lot of young professionals, you may discover that there’s not much left over from your paycheck once the rent and bills have been paid, and it is easy to neglect saving for the future. But if you can start saving now while you’re young, no matter how small the amount, it could be one of the best financial decisions you make.  Forming saving habits early could have a significant impact on your ability to weather unexpected expenses, make large purchases and achieve major life goals.

Below are five things you can do early in your career to jump-start your savings. 1)     Plan for the future

Setting goals is essential to achieving financial success. Yes, saving is important, but before you start putting money aside, you’ll want to have an idea of what it is you are saving for and why.

Goals could include buying a house or car, going back to school, getting married, starting a family, or saving up enough money so you can quit your job and travel to faraway and exotic places. If you know what your goals are, you will have a better idea of how much you need to save and can create a plan that will help turn those dreams into a reality.

2)     Establish a budget

A budget is one of the most effective tools for saving money. Creating and sticking to a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing fun. Rather, a budget can help make having fun possible.

With a budget, you track your expenses to get a clear picture of where your money is going each month. A well-designed budget will help you prioritize your spending and saving. You’ll know how much you need to set aside each month for basic living expenses and savings, and how much you have leftover to spend on lifestyle expenditures such as dining out in restaurants and entertainment. Otherwise, if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and are not careful with managing your money, it can be easy to lose track of discretionary spending. You could wind up in debt or be unable to afford important big-ticket purchases.

A simple way to integrate saving into your monthly budget is to automate it. If your employer allows direct deposit, you may be able to have a portion of each paycheck deposited into your savings account. This way, what is out of sight is out of mind, and you avoid the temptation to spend money that you could be saving.

3)     Open a savings account

A great place to start saving is with an interest-bearing savings account, which can keep your money safe while your money grows with interest.

The amount of interest you earn generally depends on the interest rate, how long you keep the money in your account, and how the bank pays the interest. Almost all banks compound interest, which means you earn interest not just on the principal, but also on the interest you earn. The main benefit of a savings account is fast and convenient access to cash when you need it.

4)     Start an emergency fund

Building up an emergency fund should be a top priority. Unexpected expenses, such as a huge car repair bill or a medical emergency, can easily wipe out a budget. However, an emergency fund that can cover at least three to six months of basic living expenses in an interest-bearing savings account can ensure that an unexpected emergency won’t totally derail your financial plans. Having an emergency fund means you won’t have to rely on credit card debt to pay for emergencies and other unexpected expenses.

5)     Start saving for retirement

While retirement may not be a top-of-mind concern right now, it is important to start saving for retirement early.

When saving for retirement, it’s not just the amount you have to invest that matters, but also the length of time you have to invest. If you start saving early when you’re young, you may be able to grow your savings at a much faster rate than those who wait—because of the power of compounding.

To illustrate the effect of compounding, consider a 25-year-old who puts aside $250 every month for retirement and earns an 8% annual return on her investment. By the time she reaches age 65, her savings will have grown to more than $878,000. But if that same person waits until she is age 35 to begin saving, and puts aside the same monthly amount and earns the same rate of return on her investment, her savings will have grown to just $375,000 by the time she reaches age 65. By waiting 10 years to start saving, she sacrifices more than $500,000 in potential returns.

If you have access to an employer-sponsored retirement account, you should contribute as much as you can to it, or at least enough to take advantage of any employer matching contributions. If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan, consider opening an individual retirement account.

By Halsey Schreier, Contributor

Copyright 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The information in this communication or any information within the Asset Strategy Advisors, LLC domain, and or any attachments to any AdvisorStream communication is strictly confidential and intended solely for the attention and use of the named recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient, or person responsible for delivering this e-mail to the intended recipient, please immediately notify AdvisorStream at and destroy all copies of this e-mail. Any distribution, use or copying of this e-mail or the information it contains by other than an intended recipient is unauthorized. This information must not be disclosed to any person without the permission of AdvisorStream LTD. Please be aware that internet communications are subject to the risk of data corruption and other transmission errors. For information of extraordinary sensitivity, we recommend that our clients use an encrypted method when they communicate with us.

  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon

To view a copy of our Customer Relationship Summary (CRS), please Click Here

Advisory services offered through Asset Strategy Advisors, LLC. (ASA), Securities offered through Concorde Investment Services, LLC (CIS), member FINRA/SIPC, Insurance offered through Asset Strategy Financial Group, Inc. (ASFG). ASFG and ASA are independent of CIS. To access Concorde’s Form Customer Relationship Summary (CRS), please click here.

Asset Strategy does not offer legal or tax advice. Please consult the appropriate professional regarding your individual circumstances.

This site is published for residents of the United States only. Representatives may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed until appropriate registration is obtained or exemption from registration is determined. Not all of services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every advisor listed. For additional information, please contact Asset Strategy at 

© 2020 Asset Strategy, LLC 

 Privacy & Use Policies  |  Broker Check  | Tax & Legal Discloure