I’m 26 years old with $60k in my retirement account – one of my greatest accomplishments to date. Now I don’t say that to brag, but I do like sharing my story because I know that if I can do it, then you can too. I started working at a big corporation when I was 19 years old and I think my starting pay was $11.11 an hour. My paychecks weren’t anything crazy and definitely not enough to afford tons of luxuries, but I was smart with my money, and from a very early age I started putting money away into a 401k. I can’t remember what percentage I started putting away, but it was definitely significant. Maybe like 6-7%. Sure, that meant I had less money to play with every two weeks, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Every year I’d typically receive a merit increase and my pay would increase a little bit. With each pay increase I’d also raise the percentage of my pay that I was putting towards retirement, and at 25 I reached a point where I was putting about $800 a month into retirement. $800 a month is a lot of money. If I hadn’t been saving it, man, the things I could have bought with $800. But you know what? I didn’t miss that $800 because I got used to doing without it. I never counted on that money to pay my bills because it always went straight to my 401k. I lived below my means, hid this extra money from myself, and today, I definitely feel that it’s been worth it. How about you guys? Do you have a 401k set up? Remember, compound interest is a beautiful thing, and the earlier you get started, the better!
Kayla, that is a huge achievement! I am glad that you are sharing your success, because in there is the message that, “Yes, it can be done!” You have embraced the secret to savings which is to always pay your self first and live off the rest. Again, congrats! That adage is easier said than done for most.