You likely have more than one savings goal: save for emergencies, save for retirement, and save for your child’s college education.
Chances are that you want to do it all, even if some sources advocate for a step-by-step approach.
Spread the wealth
If you deem your goals equally important and value a more balanced approach to savings, consider the following tips.
If, for example, you had $400 to contribute to savings each month, how would you allocate that money? It might make sense to put:
- 50 percent ($200) toward your emergency fund
- 25 percent ($100) toward your retirement savings
- 25 percent ($100) toward college savings
Once your emergency fund reaches its desired level, consider putting the majority of monthly savings towards retirement savings (perhaps 60 to 75 percent) and the remainder towards college savings.
Your financial goals and priorities are unique, so do what’s right for your financial situation. Just keep in mind that it will take longer to reach individual goals than it would if you used a more traditional approach.
Get the most from your savings dollar
Make each dollar work for you. Keep the following in mind.
Make sure you take advantage of any employer benefits that are available to you. If your company offers to match a contribution to your retirement savings, take it! It’s not often you can double an investment.
$100 is not always $100. When you contribute money to a 401(k), health savings account (HSA), or flexible spending account (FSA), you are contributing pre-tax dollars. So, for example, if you contribute $100 pre-tax a month, your paycheck could be $40-$60 dollars less.
Open a 529 college savings plan. This will allow you to save for your child’s college education free from federal income tax. Check to see if your state offers additional tax advantages.