Living below your means is like saving for retirement twice

Hello, GRSers. Today, let's revisit something I tacked on to the end of my nine lessons from The Millionaire Next Door:

[T]here are actually two benefits of learning to live on much less than your paycheck.

  • The first, of course, is that you can save more.
  • But secondly, it also means that you ultimately need to save less.

Permit me to demonstrate.

Someone who makes $50,000 but lives on just $40,000 can contribute $10,000 a year to her nest egg, and can retire when that nest egg is big enough to generate — along with Social Security and other benefits — $40,000 a year. However, someone who makes $50,000 but spends, say, $48,000 is contributing just $2,000 to a portfolio that must eventually help provide $48,000 a year in retirement. In other words, she's saving less yet needs to accumulate more.

I thought I'd add some heft to this argument by drawing out the illustrations with some calculations (yay, math!), as well as add a third hypothetical person with a savings rate in between the aforementioned folks.

Save Now, Profit Later

Let's assume we have three 40-year-olds who each earn $50,000. Here's how they look in 2011:

 Investor AInvestor BInvestor C
Annual living expenses$40,000$45,000$48,000
Annual savings$10,000$5,000$2,000
Savings rate20%10%4%
Savings rate is the percentage of income contributed toward retirement accounts.

Besides their ages and salaries, let's assume they'll also experience the same rate of inflation and wage growth (both 3% annually) and investment returns (8% annually). Finally, they each would like to retire at age 67, when they will be able to claim full Social Security benefits.

Note: Yes, I know we can argue about the assumed inflation rate and investment returns. Let's not, though. They're incidental to my main point here, which is comparing investors with different savings rates. Whatever inflation and investment returns the future holds, they will affect these investors identically.

Now, let's fast-forward 27 years. Thanks to raises, each of our three guinea pigs earns an annual salary of $111,064. But they've maintained their savings rates, and thus their annual expenses (since they're just different sides of the same 11,106,400 coins, assuming those coins are pennies). Here's how things will look at the end of 2037 (which will be the Year of the Snake, for you Chinese calendar fans — not to be confused with the Union of the Snake, for you Duran Duran fans).

 Investor AInvestor BInvestor C
Annual expenses$88,852$99,958$106,622
Portfolio value$1,245,623$622,811$249,125
Income coverage ratio14.06.22.3
Income-coverage ratio is the portfolio value divided by annual expenses.

As you can see, the super-saver has more than a million dollars, quite a bit more than the other two investors. Furthermore, that portfolio is 14.0 times Investor A's annual expenses; in other words, not factoring in investment growth, inflation, or any other retirement income (such as Social Security), Investor A's portfolio could cover living expenses for fourteen years.

The other two portfolios would only last 6.2 and 2.3 years. This is mostly due to Investor A having a bigger portfolio, but it's also due to Investor A needing less each year because she's learned to live on a lower level of annual expenses. This is why living below your means is like saving for retirement twice: It allows you to contribute more to retirement accounts, and you can retire sooner because you need to accumulate less to cover your expenses in retirement.

Still Not Enough?

Thus ends the lesson about the whole “saving for retirement twice” concept. I hope you enjoyed the show.

For those who wish to continue, we'll address another question: Does Investor A have enough to retire, even after saving 20% of income for 27 years? The answer: It depends. If Investor A were a real-life person on the verge of retirement, I'd recommend 1) a thorough retirement-plan analysis, and 2) a psychoanalysis of her parents for naming her Investor A. But since this is a blog post and there are plenty of funny YouTube videos to vye for your viewing (such as this one), we'll do some simple calculations (yay, more math!). It involves two numbers:

  • Four percent of $1,245,623 or $49,825: Financial-planning geeks (and the people who love them) know the “4% rule,” which is a guideline for how much of a portfolio a retiree can spend in the first year of retirement. It's just a rule of thumb, with plenty of quibbles. (For an explanation and some of the criticisms, read this from Vanguard's John Ameriks.) But it serves as a good baseline for our purposes.
  • The future, inflated, annualized value of Social Security benefits, or $55,668: That's the number I got from using the Quick Calculator from Social Security Online.

Add them together, and you get $105,493 — a good bit more than the $88,852 Investor A needs to cover living expenses. Perhaps she, being the great saver that she is, could retire before age 67.

But wait! That assumes she'll receive her full Social Security benefit as currently estimated, and everyone knows that the program is bankrupt and all she'll receive is “10% off” coupons from Denny's. That leaves her with just that $49,825 — only half of what she needs.

Well, not quite. As I've written before in these cyber-pages, you will receive something from Social Security — but it's prudent to assume it'll be less than currently projected. The Social Security Administration estimates that future payroll taxes will cover approximately 75% of scheduled benefits in 2037. Let's play it safer and assume Investor A will get just half of her benefit, or $27,834, for a total retirement income of $77,659. That's still less than $88,852.

This is where that “thorough retirement-plan analysis” would come in. Could Investor A get by on less than $88,852? Can she downsize to a smaller home? Could she work just a few years more (by delaying Social Security to age 70, her benefit will be more than a third higher than if she takes it at age 67) or work part-time (and thus retire part-time)? She likely has a few options, which are more numerous and will entail less sacrifice than those available to Investor B and Investor C.

But even they have more options than Investor D, whose situation looks like this:

 Investor D
Savings Rate0%
Portfolio value$0
Chance of retiring0%

If you can't save 20% or even 10% of your income, save what you can, as soon as you can. You'll always be better off than someone who doesn't save anything.

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Bogey@BackNineFinance
9 years ago

I always wondered about people who live on like 25% or 40% of their income and saved the rest by basically being as cheap as possible. These people will likely have a huge nest egg, but then not really be able to enjoy any of it because they have been practicing for years at being a huge cheapskate. I think it is most important to find that perfect balance between enjoying life today, and saving money so that you can enjoy life later also. I think the idea of pinching every single penny now because you are “saving for retirement”… Read more »

retirebyforty
retirebyforty
8 years ago

Why can’t people enjoy life as a cheapskate? You are saying a cheapskate and poor people can’t enjoy life. That’s 99% of the people in the world. Do you really believe 6.9 billion people are not enjoying life?

ArandomPerson
ArandomPerson
9 years ago

Heh, I live on 43% of my income. My ‘nest egg’ is doing alright and I enjoy my life.

I don’t feel that I am pinching every penny, just those that are in excess of what I use to live my life. When people judge my lifestyle as ‘cheap’ or somehow lesser than their enlightened lifestyle, I congratulate them for being content and go along my merry way.

Tl; dr: I live in a Now that prepares for a Later while remembering & honoring the Past.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

Hm. I’m wary of this too. I live on a fair bit less than I earn, but that doesn’t mean every available dollar I have goes towards retirement. I’m also trying to save for a down payment on a house and am hoping to pay cash for my next car.

The car I can see as “spending”, but how does my down payment figure in?

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

Great post! That’s the point I was trying to make the other day (in the comments) about why saving up for a 20% down-payment is a good thing. If you’ve been saving the mortgage payment (or more) every month anyway it won’t be so difficult to adjust to making it. High income (compared to the median income– we qualified for a Roth IRA this year, so we’re not raking in the dough) me doesn’t feel particularly deprived even though we’ve been saving somewhere around 50% of our income (we save less than 50% of our take-home pay, but before it… Read more »

Jacq
Jacq
9 years ago

Although the topic isn’t about money hoarding as Back Nine mentions… I have personally found this to be true in my family as I have a few money hoarders in the gene pool. They seem to die with a lot of money saved – and some with not even any kids to give it to. I don’t know, it seems to lack balance and maybe imagination. Having said that, I’ve had savings rates over 70% in some years – but that’s at a pretty high income so I wasn’t giving up much. But I do regret some of the belt-tightening… Read more »

Alexandra
Alexandra
9 years ago

I live on a very small fraction of my income right now. I find it disingenuous that many financial advisors artificially inflate the number when it comes to how much we need to save for our retirement. In order to provide a concrete example, here my numbers for this year: I make a little over 100K a year gross. I live in Canada, so I will be taxed approximately 23k, not including deductions for mandatory employment insurance and Canada’s pension plan, but including any tax benefits I get for investing in registered savings plans. AFTER taxes, I pay about 12K… Read more »

Bogey@BackNineFinance
9 years ago

@ ArandomPerson Let me make this clear, I certainly don’t judge or look down upon people who are saving a huge percentage of their income. I might have come accross as a bit harsh. I apologize if I did. I guess it would also help to understand how much income a person has in relation to their savings proportion. 43% of a million bucks in income a year would be easy to live off of. But 43% of $25,000 a year would be impossible to live off of (for me). I just see so many articles on the web that… Read more »

K.C.
K.C.
9 years ago

Saving is not all about retirement but also about having choices along the way. My wife and I have saved a large percentage of our income over the years, living on one income when we were earning two. And like Robert’s example, we were able to retire early because we saved a lot and had a low cost of living to fund in retirement. But our saving also gave my wife the opportunity to go back to college full time and complete her degree without taking out student loans. It gave me the opportunity to quit a good job and… Read more »

kdice
kdice
9 years ago

I want to second what Alexandra (#6) said. The big takeaway for me from this (well-written!) post is not the “what percent of my income do I live on now?” but the “how much do I need to retire?” I have always been perplexed by all these retirement calculators that do the calculations based on a percent of my current income that I will need, rather than my monthly expenses. They are assuming that we all live on 85-90% of our income. Nope!

Another Kate
Another Kate
9 years ago

@6 and 9,

I think the financial planners who assume you will live a huge percent of your income believe that increased medical expenses will replace a lot of the expenses, like mortgage and childcare, that will go away. Of course, #6 is writing from Canada, and the stuff I’ve heard is from a U.S. perspective.

MaryW
MaryW
9 years ago

Thank you for this post. We are house shopping and this post really helps put into perspective the notion of buying what we should buy and not what we can buy.

*** Side Note **
I just want to say that this author is really funny. To get me laughing this early in the morning WHILE reading a financial blog is no easy task. Please write more.

El
El
9 years ago

I think one reason for the 80% income replacement estimates is because of the effect of inflation 30 to 50 years from now. Your investors are now about 45, will retire between ages 67 and 70 and then likely live another 15 to 20 years after that. Whatever you take into retirement has to last, hopefully. I realize you will still be getting returns of some kind- hope they’re positive! Although I plan to have my savings, 401k, pension, and Social Security, most of my current excess income is going to pay off the house. With that expense gone, my… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

@Another Kate — trust me, our healthcare system (I’m writing from Canada too) doesn’t cover everything. People will chronic illnesses spent a lot of money out of pocket every year. There’s also a move towards “aging in place” (living at home as long as possible) and that’s going to have increased costs too.

After re-reading this post (and now being fully awake!) I see what I missed in this post. I’m ignoring the % of income you live on part and focussing on the the % you’re saving for retirement part.

Good post!

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

The 70-80% is just a heuristic, based on some numbers from the past and the life-cycle model, and has come under a lot of disagreement in the academic community, not just among folks for whom those numbers don’t fit. Also, some folks spend more in retirement. It isn’t constant across people by any means. Yes, the focus should be on spending, not on income. For most people income and spending track each other, and income is much easier to measure than spending– it’s what is in most data-sets. So that’s what academics use. But Robert is right, maybe they shouldn’t… Read more »

Milly
Milly
9 years ago

This is very true. It is what allowed me to retire at 55 with only half a million, instead of the millions most people think they need. I would add that if you invest all your raises, and remember that you will probably be in a lower tax bracket when you retire, that might be enough to get you the rest of the money you need to retire.

Adam
Adam
9 years ago

Loving the comments today. This community is a joy to read. I’m in the same position as #6, living in Canada, 34 years old, making in the lower 6 figures, saving like the dickens. Except I’m not going to have any kids to pay for (no day care or the ubiquitous I’m going to fund my child’s ivy-league education 100% inexplicably). Assuming by the time I retire I’ll have no mortgage to pay for, it feels kind of stupid to assume I need 80% of my gross income. I am saving 20.5% to retirement through my company plans, on top… Read more »

retirebyforty
retirebyforty
9 years ago

It’s nice to see it spelled out like that. Investor B, C, and D are in a world of hurt.
Even Investor A doesn’t have enough cushion to weather the kind of down market we’ve seen. If A’s portfolio shrunk down to 75%, it would be quite difficult to cover expense with the 4% withdrawal rate.
Investor A probably needs a bit more to cushion any big stock market dip. I don’t count on social security at all, if I get anything it’ll be gravy. If not, I plan to be able to live without that check.

Ronald
Ronald
9 years ago

Right now we are doing 33,000 savings a year. Hopefully, we can add another 5,000 a year starting this June for my wife’s IRA.

Once I get a job I will max my savings at 21,500 yearly. I don’t care how painful it is. When I will reach my magic number, Im gonna start business again. Wuhooooo…..

Bradley
Bradley
9 years ago

Hopefully, I will need less in retirement than I do now. Since I will have my house paid off (along with all other debt!), won’t be commuting to work everyday, etc, I won’t be spending nearly as much as I do now.

Saving 20% seems easy on paper, but when you have to deal with goods rising in cost faster than my paycheck is rising, it makes it harder to save more and more.

Arandomperson
Arandomperson
9 years ago

@ [email protected] (#7) No worries, my post probably sounds defensive. I agree, giving just a straight % of income without a total yearly amount makes it tough to evaluate how tough/easy it is live on that given amount. I use %’s because I don’t want to broadcast my income on the net. What can one doe, that is net-life. I agree too that spending/saving balance is important. I believe that this ratio can only be comfortably set by the individual. The problem is that most people avoid making those choices and ‘wing it’ though their money life. Or do not… Read more »

Janette
Janette
9 years ago

Sometimes we saved 5% and other times 50%. We were called cheapskates by male family members like Bogey (BTW- Bogey- you need to meet my”live for today”60 year old brother who has never saved and will never be able to retire). We have a great life out on a great piece of land- all paid for- along with cars and children through college.Our motto seems to be “live for a lifetime”. It is possible. We do live on less- retired at 53 and 60- since our habits never became high spending. We travel and enjoy life. The women in my… Read more »

Pamela
Pamela
9 years ago

I agree with the previous commenter who laughed out loud. I did too–thank you! But I’d appreciate an occasional example that considers families with lower incomes. It reminded me of the Yahoo Finance article I read about the family that saved 50% of their income (!!). When you read further, you found their gross annual income was $250,000. Well, gee, I’ve always lived on less than $125,000 a year. And as long as I work for a nonprofit, I don’t anticipate ever having a household income anywhere near $100,000. Those of us who live on less also have to prepare… Read more »

Megan
Megan
9 years ago

While I, in theory, agree that people shouldn’t need 100% of their income in retirement, I think that practically, they will. For example, our two biggest expenses right now, other than food, are the mortgage and gas (we commute pretty far). However, these add up to around $10,500 a year. That’s around 1 good trip – Europe, Japan, etc. So if we plan on traveling (at least in early retirement), then we would still need the same amount available, it would just go to travel instead of housing/gas. And as mentioned, medical care will be a factor in later retirement… Read more »

M
M
9 years ago

I liked the article and demonstration that building a lifestyle (hopefully happy and sustainable) with savings built in helps to ensure ability to enjoy retirement.

Two points I would add. 1) I prefer that the ratio Robert uses be called “Expense coverage” ratio because that is what it is, as opposed to Income coverage. It is also similar to what startups use when they describe “burn rate” of initial startup capital. 2) When the Expense coverage reaches 25 (inverse of 4% rule) expenses would be covered completely (assuming all the usual fine print.)

Thank you for an interesting article.

Lincoln
Lincoln
9 years ago

What I find funny is that Investors A, B, and C have uniform earnings, expenses, and returns over the course of a lifetime.

When I look back at the last ten years of earnings, expenses, and returns for me individually, they are not uniform at all. Simplifying them down to a linear regression is laughable. To me, the unpredictability is the biggest reason to save.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

I always find these sorts of analyses too simplistic. For one, they neglect to take into account that your expenses change over the course of your life. For instance, a lot of people reading this are paying a mortgage today, but plan on having it paid off by the time they retire. That means if you’re living on 90% of your income today, that may be something like 60 or 70% by the time you retire. Ditto for college savings. And here’s a big one: retirement savings. You don’t have to pay into your retirement savings account after you retire.… Read more »

rePete
rePete
9 years ago

Great article! I’d encourage you to look at Jacob Fisker’s book, particularly the last chapter. He has similar calculations plotted out with the addition of the robustness of the portfolio.

Luke
Luke
9 years ago

Very funny article from Robert – I can see J.D. pinching a couple of the juicier bons mots in future 😉 @Janette (#17) – I completely agree re. people ‘living for today’ at the expense of planning for their futures. Reminds me of a work colleague who moans constantly about money, has 15-20 years left on his mortgage (at 57), carries unsecured debt and credit card debt, but spends more on lunch than I could/would ever want to! I suppose he’s my reverse role model, if such a thing is possible? I like living below my means, it gives me… Read more »

Nelson
Nelson
9 years ago

I am sick of these stupid growth projections using high investment returns. The S&P 500 had a 2.62% average annual return over the past 10 years.

I can’t trust any financial advisor that consistently overstates what you can reasonably expect to earn on your investments.

Adam
Adam
9 years ago

@Nelson

That sometimes bothers me too, but at least it’s not as bad as Dave Ramsey’s 12% (on the website in some calculations) or from the Wealthy Barber 1990s edition 15% which made me want to burn the book and not read any further.

I think the new reality is we should use about 5 or 6% in these for long term growth rather than 8% or more, but really–who the heck knows?

Laura in Cancun
Laura in Cancun
9 years ago

Thanks for a fun and informative article! Seeing recommended amounts for retirement scare the crap out of me… how can we ever save a million dollars?

I earn 27,000 a year (great salary for my part of the world). We save 33% of that, and once my husband graduates and starts working, we’ll save 100% of whatever his paycheck is.

With our small salaries, it just seems like such an astronomical amount… but with some careful investing and by avoiding lifestyle inflation, we just might do it!

Thanks for the reality check 🙂

Nelson
Nelson
9 years ago

@Adam – Given that we don’t know, I’d prefer to err on the cautious side.

@Laura – You don’t need a million dollars if you can live off of 18,090 per year like you’re doing now. I looked up the “immediate annuity” (basically, a do-it-yourself guaranteed pension) cost for a 65 year old couple to be paid 1600 per month for as long as either of them live and the price was $301,267. This doesn’t account for inflation so adjust accordingly.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

@ Pamela — yes, I find the same thing! Much easier to live below your means when your means are high.

@Tyler — good points. Right now, I’m planning for retirement as a single person, but my financial picture could change drastically when I marry. There’s no planning for that now!

partgypsy
partgypsy
9 years ago

I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but when I enter our numbers into these retirement calculators for my husband and I’s income combined, what I contribute to retirement (10% + 5% matching) adjust prediction of return to 6 or 7%, it says we will be covered for retirement.I’ve read elsewhere that these calculators are conservative so I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong. Is this because it is assuming we will receive full social security benefits? I think the arguments about uniform earnings is off point. If anyone has learned recently many people can go through big ups and… Read more »

M
M
9 years ago

Why stop at $40k? The poverty line is only $10k. If you live on $10k your entire life, you can save huge amounts for retirement. Just think of all that money! And, when you retire, you’ll already be used to living with no money, so why spend any then either! You can die with huge amounts of money, and then you can take it all… oh, wait.

RJ
RJ
9 years ago

Good Article! Sometimes though, we concentrate on saving money with no real plan on what to do with that money. If we simply buy stocks (for instance)when we have money regardless of the price at the time (dollar cost averaging) we are simply relying on luck to help us grow and not lose our investments. If we do not learn how to invest our money, no amount of saving will help us reach our goal.

Bill Birnbaum
Bill Birnbaum
9 years ago

Absolutly right! Far too many people live above, rather than below, their means. In their attempt to “keep up with the Joneses,” they’re throwing away their future. Bill

Milly
Milly
9 years ago

I found the thing that helped me the most in planning for retirement was Amy Dacsyzyn’s Tightwad Gazette; she said that we should plan for even keel on expenditures, regardless of income. Since my husband has a very stable income, and mine has been unstable, we based our spending on his income and used mine to invest. The amount we had available to invest has varied greatly over the years as a result, but the net result has been sufficient.

Laura in Cancun
Laura in Cancun
9 years ago

@Nelson – Thanks for running those numbers! Taking into account salary increases over the years, that looks like a very attainable number, even considering future kids and cars (we have none right now).

1 million sure would be nice, though! haha

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

This article sounds exactly like a recent study from the Journal of Financial Planning: http://fpanet.org/journal/articles/2007_Issues/jfp0407-art6.cfm

It might be enlightening for some. It gives detailed math and charts. You can easily see how much saving you might need to do and furthermore, how much any savings you have already will further offset any needed future savings.

Don’t let the mention of math put you off from reading it. It’s not all that long and basically just a more detailed version of this article backed by some folks with PHDs

Don
Don
9 years ago

I TOTALLY DISAGREE. The biggest waste of your hard earned money today is to save it. Here’s why. The current inflation rate, NOT what the government says, which as of yesterday was 3 percent when you take in account gas, food, healthcare is running about 15%. As yourself, what is your cd paying right now? Exactly. How about your real estate investment? STocks over the past decade. Exactly, all making basically NOTHING, or if you are lucky 2-3 percent. That means, if you are saving your money, you are LOSING about 12% of it’s value every year. So in less… Read more »

Linda
Linda
9 years ago

I think financial advisors use the percentage of income number because people don’t know where they spend their money and that assumption like the 4% income we project that you will receive from your retirement assets is at least a place to start working from. Without at least some plan, you have planned to fail…..

20 and Engaged
20 and Engaged
9 years ago

That’s a great argument for living beneath your means. I’m going to try my hardest; I want retirement to be a blast!

Tara C
Tara C
9 years ago

I have no idea what the world will look like by the time I retire in 22 years, so I am just saving as much as I can, and hoping for the best. Investing well is hard, and requires a lot of study – I admit I’m lazy and am basically relying on low-cost index funds, but I hope it will work out for me anyway.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

I don’t see how anyone can claim 15% inflation when housing is down 25-30% over the last five years, and that’s most people’s single largest expense. If anything, that sounds like deflation to me. But that’s not the main point I wanted to make. I went and looked up my tax records for the last five years. Here’s my adjusted gross income for each year, as a percentage of the previous year’s (except 2006 because I don’t have 2005). 2006: 100% (baseline) 2007: 251% (of 2006) 2008: 181% (of 2007) 2009: 100% (of 2008) 2010: 113% (of 2009) This looks… Read more »

Jen
Jen
9 years ago

After taxes, I live on $27,500/year in a crazy expensive state. Granted, I’m young, single, and childless, therefore it is assumed I don’t need a whole lot. But I’m having a really hard time saving for anything with that, much less retirement and I don’t see how much further from my means I can go without moving back in with my parents. I think working my ass off and still being broke allows me to have my once a month top shelf drink every now and then, since it’s pretty much the only thrill I can afford. /endrant

RP
RP
9 years ago

Actually, Tyler, I find expecting a COLA every year to be ludicrous. My salary has dropped fairly steadily over the past 5 years and my partner’s has plateaued. Businesses are giving out very few COLAs, and it’s easy to reach the top of your salary band if you don’t want to enter management. (And no, continuous learning doesn’t get you raises, it just keeps you employed.) For folks like us, I think you need to assume that your salary will be flat once you reach your 40s, and you need to save like crazy since you could be laid off… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago

I have to say, I really wonder why so many people seem to think saving money is a bad idea. I guess they just *like* being in debt and always having financial “emergencies” to cope with? It must be FUN to live with all that drama! NOT!! Robert’s illustration seems reasonable. Someone making $50k at 40 has a very good chance of making $110k at 65. And living on $40k when you make $50k is pretty darned do-able. Using this post as a jumping-off point to argue about stock market returns is just avoiding the real issue we should be… Read more »

SL
SL
9 years ago

I always enjoy the articles from Robert.

My whole motivation for saving is to have flexibility and freedom in life choices down the road, as KC(#8) said.

Health care and more specifically, end of life care, is a huge factor that will eat up the savings of even the most financially careful individuals. I have seen this recently with three of my grandparents. However, the cushion they had allowed flexibility in their choices to the very end, which made everything easier for them and for our families.

RJ
RJ
9 years ago

Jen,
Hang in there! When I was your age I was saying the same thing as you. Start by putting away whatever you can, even if it is a $20 bill per month. I started saving that way and I am now in my late 40’s and am on course to retire at 55. The trick is not being brilliant, but being consistent.

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