savings & investments

When you have a job, you should save and invest in your future.  Here are some guidelines.

  • Savings: General rule-of-thumb is that you should have approximately 3 months of of income covered in your savings. If you calculated your monthly income as $2,188 ($35,000 / 12 months * 75%), then you would need $6,564.  If you plan on achieving this in 1 year, you would need to save $547 per month (25% of your monthly take home), 2 years would be $274 per month (13% of your monthly take home), and 3 years would be $182 per month (8% of your monthly take home).  
  • Emergency Funds: Emergency funds can be combined with savings.  However, if you are looking for an estimate, generally speaking a $1,000 is a safe amount in addition to your savings.  That's about $83 per month for a year.
  • Retirement: The general rule-of-thumb is that you should be investing between 10% and 15% of your total income into retirement.  Remember, your retirement is not taxed! So if you are making $35,000 annually, you should invest $3,500 to $5,250 annually of pre-tax dollars.  Minimally, if your employer does a "match," meaning they match up to a certain percentage of your retirement, you should at the very least invest up to that match.  It's FREE money! ALWAYS invest up to the match.  So, if they match 5%, you should invest at least 5% so you are really getting a 10% investment into your retirement. In most cases, your retirement comes out of your pay check and would not be considered as a part of your monthly take-home pay (which you already calculated) so you would not put anything into this field. 
For more information on planning a budget, click Financial Management