How Much Money Should I Have Saved By 21 (Answered)

By the age of 21 you should have saved around $10 000. But, since the economy is as it is, and it’s not easy for young people to find a good job, numbers vary based on your income, years of working, personal spending lifestyle and so on.

Are you new into this saving thing? Do you want to start saving but don’t know how to? Are you interested in knowing how are you doing compared to others? Are questions like, how much money should I have saved by 21?” How much should I save monthly?” How much money is enough for unexpected expenses?” bugging your mind? Then, stay with us through this article. We’ll try to explain to you how to calculate what you should have saved by 21, how to do a nice saving plan, how to manage you incomes most efficiently and so on. At the end, money is earned to be spent, but what you spend them on truly makes all the difference in the world. Through this article we will try to explain everything you need to know so you can start saving smart and easy.

How Much Money Should I Have Saved By 21?

People in their twenties are usually finishing college, working their first better paid job or have been working for a few years already. But, they are not quite good at saving. I know, trust me, I’ve been through it myself. You’re making money, you want to spend money on whatever comes to your mind.

As for the estimation, it is said that by the age of 21 a person should have saved more than 10 000 dollars. But, that is not the case most of the time. These numbers vary in every person, since they depend on income and expenses, livelihood needs, debts or loans and so on.

Where are the numbers coming from, you ask? First, let’s explain the 50-30-20 rule. It states that you should spend 50% of your income on needs (rent, food, gas, insurance and so on), 30% goes out to things you want, and then, the last 20% are your savings. As simple as it gets. Or is it? Some researchers suggest that for around 11 million Americans, almost 50% of the income goes to rent alone. So, don’t stress yourself if you’re not close to those $10 000. They are just numbers anyways.

So, once we have the 50-30-20 theory in mind, let’s see what the actual numbers are saying. The average 25 years old makes around $30 000 annually, and 20% of those money is 6 000. If you want it plain and simple – that is 500$ a month you should be saving. But, this is just a simple statistic I made. You should do the same math for your income too. And don’t forget, maybe you aren’t able to put that much money aside every month, but anything is better than nothing.

How Much Money Should You Have Saved By Other Decades Of Age?

What financial advisors suggest is that you should save bigger percentage, when you earn more. So, in your thirties you should have saved up the amount of one annual salary. You earn $50 000 in a year at 30? Then, you should have saved up $50 000 by then. At 35, the number should be 100 000 dollars. If you are in your forties, the numbers should be doubled three times (so, $150 000 with our example). In your fifties, four times your annual salary. And so on… The guys at the Insider are putting it all nice and neat, so take a look if you want to think in numbers.

But, the numbers like this don’t mean anything. Every person and every family has different needs and different expenses, based on their lifestyle. Of one, a lot of young people still have their student loans to pay off, so big part of their salary goes out to that. Later on in life, it all depends on the other aspects of one’s life that dictate their saving accounts. Cars, houses, medical bills, insurance, kids, college funds, vacations and so on… The list can be endless.

Far more important than how much you have saved is the aspect of how you save. There are some cases where people save a small amount, but it’s the highest possible in the moment. In other cases, someone saves a fair amount, but based on their income and their expenses, they could be saving much more. So, instead of stressing over the numbers, I advise you to think about your saving habits. Even if you save only a small percentage of your income, if you do it on a regular monthly (or weekly) basis, you are off to a good start. Far better from let’s say saving bigger amount every few months, and then, spending it all up in summer, on some exotic vacation that could have waited.

Why Is It Important To Save While You Are Young?

  • The earlier you start saving or investing, the more money you’ll have over time.
  • You’ll have better chances to become financially independent, debt free and accumulating retirement savings.
  • Coming out from our previous point, you could retire earlier, if you do save the amount that you think will be enough for your golden ages. This is great for people who want to pursue some hobby or maybe do something that they can’t do right now.
  • You have time on your side. If you don’t save you could, later on in life, put yourself through a hardship. If you don’t have enough money to retire, you could end up working longer. And we all know how harder is to work if you are old. So, let me correct the first sentence – time and energy are on your side.
  • You can do mistakes, and still don’t be heavily affected by them. If you save up and decide to invest in some way, in order to double your savings, you could allow yourself to do a few mistakes and get by them.
  • Based on the previous point, this one comes as a plus. If you decide to invest, the earlier you are in the business, the earlier you learn how to do if efficiently. I’ll just say this – imagine what happened to all of those smart guys that invested in e-currencies at the very beginning of crypto-currencies? Hop on their yachts and ask them.
  • You’ll make it a habit. And once if becomes, normal” for you to transfer part of your salary to another account you will do it almost manually. And yes, you won’t miss them. It’s all about controlling irrational spending urges for the greater, long-term benefits.

How to Increase Income and Decrease Expenses?

To control where your money goes is the art of modern times. Young people, most of the time, spend their money on leisure activities as shopping for clothes, drinking and eating in restaurants, subscriptions on Amazon Prime, Netflix and so on. And none of that is a bad thing, if you do it consciously and if you know that it won’t misbalance your account balance.

The first thing you need to do if you want to save more efficiently is to decrease expenses. I know that habits are hard to break, but trust me, older you will thank you. The easiest thing to do this is to sit down and go through your monthly expenses. Split them into necessities and wants, and don’t forget to give an estimation of the amount they cost you. Once that is done, see what could be cut off and start small. I’m not saying drastic changes, I’m saying cut one Starbucks weekly. You could do the same thing twice a year and see how you are doing. Once you see your bank account getting bigger, I’m sure that you will get that ,,I’m a responsible, young person taking care of my future” feeling which will motivate you further.

Once you go up that road, you could start the other part – increasing income. There are a few ways to achieve that. Quite a few young people save up some good amount and then invest it. You can find tons of info about investing, so feel free to do some research if you are interested. You could also do some side jobs, one time projects around town, get a part time job, and get into freelancing and so on. The possibilities are there, you just have to know what and where to look for.


Asking the big, financial questions is not easy. Keep in mind that almost half of young people have less than 1000 dollars in saving. But don’t let the question, How much money should I have saved but 21? “Weight you down. The statistics are saying that by 21 you should be having $10 000 in savings, but reality is different. It all depends on how much money you make, how much you spend and on what. If you are living the best days of your life, never looking what you spent on, you might get yourself stuck at work until really old age. The best option is to start saving as soon as possible, and the point is to do it in the most suitable pace for you. So, do a little math with your income and expenses, see where and on what you could save some money, and open yourself a saving account. Future you will thank you.

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