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Checkpoints: Am I Saving Enough?

Want a quick estimate of how much you could need for the future? Here are some basic guidelines for younger investors.


Key Takeaways

Whether you’re just getting started or already have a solid investing plan, it’s important to commit to saving a set portion of your income.

You should also look at the value of all your accounts and gauge whether your current total and contributions will keep you on track toward your goals.

Other strategies can help you with your savings, including financial apps, retirement plan savings, budgeting and paying off debt.

You might still be relatively new to investing. Or maybe you’ve been contributing to your investment accounts for a while but aren’t completely sure that you’re on track to reach your money goals.

One question may be on your mind: Will it be enough?

How Much Should I Save?

Most people will have a variety of financial goals throughout life, but retirement is the big one. The amount you need for retirement depends on how much you have now, how much you plan to save over time and the average return on your investments.

One way to gauge your progress is to look at the current total of all your savings and investment accounts in relation to your age and income. Here are some basic guidelines.

Savings Checkpoints by Age and Income

By Age 30

Current Savings Total

Half to full annual salary

Current Saving %

5 – 10% of annual income

Next Checkpoint

Gradually increase to 10 – 15% by age 40

What could that look like?

  • If you make $50,000/year: You could have $25,000 – $50,000 in total savings and investments while contributing $2,500 – $5,000 per year (roughly $100 – $200 per bimonthly paycheck).

  • If you make $75,000/year: You could have $37,500 – $75,000 in total savings and investments while contributing $3,750 – $7,500 per year (roughly $150 – $300 per bimonthly paycheck).

  • If you make $100,000/year: You could have $50,000 – $100,000 in total savings and investments while contributing $5,000 – $10,000 a year (roughly $200 – $425 per bimonthly paycheck).

By Age 40

Current Savings Total

2x – 3x annual salary

Current Saving %

10 – 15% of annual income

Next Checkpoint

Gradually increase to 15 – 20% by age 50

What could that look like?

  • If you make $75,000/year: You could have $150,000 – $225,000 in total savings and investments, while contributing $7,500 – $11,250 per year (roughly $300 – $450 per bimonthly paycheck).

  • If you make $100,000/year: You could have $200,000 – $300,000 in savings and investments, while contributing $10,000 – $15,000 per year (roughly $425 – $625 per bimonthly paycheck).

  • If you make $125,000/year: You could have $250,000 – $375,000 in total savings and investments, while contributing $12,500 – $18,750 per year (about $525 – $775 per bimonthly paycheck).

Are You Ahead … or Behind?

The checkpoints above are broad and don’t consider your personal situation, so there’s no right answer. The actual amount you want for your future could also change based on your career path, your preferred lifestyle or where you will live.

Run the Numbers

Use our Future Value Calculator to estimate the future value of your current savings based on how much you can invest, your hypothetical rate of return and your time frame.

How can you keep up? Make sure you’re committed to saving a set portion of your income and try to increase your savings percentage over time. Haven't saved enough? Look for tips to increase your savings.

Tips for Boosting Investments in Your 20s and 30s

  • Get serious about investing.

    You have time on your side, so even small investments have the opportunity to grow and compound. You'll also be able to better handle market ups and downs because you have years to recover from any market downturns.

  • Embrace technology.

    Money management can be a lot easier with finance and budgeting apps and other online tools. You can conveniently track your spending, reduce unnecessary expenses and automatically direct savings to your investment accounts.

  • Ask for help.

    Whether it's online with a robo-advisor or on the phone with a real person, financial advice might not be as expensive (and time-consuming) as you think.

  • Let your employer kick in.

    Many employers offer matching contributions in their 401(k) or other retirement plans. Invest enough for the minimum match, and you can watch your contributions add up.

  • Increase your contributions gradually.

    Some employers offer automatic 401(k) increases every year (in 1% increments, for example). Opt in for an easy and hassle-free way to bump up your contributions.

  • Invest more with an IRA.

    Don't have an employer plan? (Or have you already hit the contribution limit?) You can invest on your own with traditional and Roth IRAs. If you're self-employed, workplace plans like SEP IRAs can help you save while getting tax breaks for your business.

  • Jump-start saving with a windfall.

    Expecting a lump sum of money? Boost investment contributions when you get a raise or when you receive an inheritance.

  • Pay off high-interest debt.

    Paying off higher-interest loans might seem like more of a priority than extra retirement contributions. But if you have a lower rate on your loan, the return on your investments over time has the potential to offset any interest payments you're making.

  • Spend mindfully.

    This is what budgeting is all about. Consider the value and long-term benefits of what you're spending on instead of instant gratification. You don't have to live frugally at all costs, but you should prioritize what genuinely adds value to your life—and that may leave more resources for investments.

  • Grab a side hustle.

    In today's gig economy, finding a part-time job can provide you with additional income streams specifically for investing. Whether it's freelancing, selling products online or offering a service, anything extra can increase your investment capacity.

Keep Future Money for the Future

When your account balance starts growing, it might be tempting to use that money, whether it's for unexpected expenses or a fun opportunity. We’re here to help you create and manage a plan that will help you pay for the life you want—including advice options to help you along the way.

Keep Investing for the Future

Learn how to create an investment portfolio that fits you.

You could lose money by investing in a mutual fund, even if through your employer's plan or an IRA. An investment in a mutual fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

Please consult your tax advisor for more detailed information regarding the Roth IRA or for advice regarding your individual situation.

Taxes are deferred until withdrawal if the requirements are met. A 10% penalty may be imposed for withdrawal prior to reaching age 59½.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.

American Century's advisory services are provided by American Century Investments Private Client Group, Inc., a registered investment advisor. These advisory services provide discretionary investment management for a fee. The amount of the fee and how it is charged depend on the advisory service you select. American Century’s financial consultants do not receive a portion or a range of the advisory fee paid. Contact us to learn more about the different advisory services. All investing involves the risk of losing money.