FI Toolkit
FI Secrets - Saving


Saving for the future is a fundamental secret for anyone to become Financially Independent and eventually retiring. The rate at which you save along with the rate-of-return (ROR) of your investments will determine how fast your nest egg grows. For individuals wanting to Retire Early (RE), higher savings rates and growth is essential. For everyone though, saving and investing is crucial to your financial security (in the present) and well being for your future. Saving as much as possible early and often is the basic first step.

As soon as possible, contribute as much as you can into your retirement accounts to benefit from deferred taxes

If you have an employer that offers a 401(k) IRA and optionally a 401(k) Roth, definitely enroll into these plans. Later, when you are older than 50, contribute as much as is allowed for 'catch-up' purposes as defined by the IRS.

If your Employer has a 401(k) Match, it is in your best interest to "max-out" any matching contributions that your employer may offer

If you do not have an employer that offers a 401(k) plan, conventional IRA and Roth contribution limits (combined) will apply. However, there are contribution limits based on your modified gross income.

Besides your employer sponsored retirement plans, consider personalized saving and investing accounts with a low-fee brokerage firm

Common advice from financial advisors has been to save between 10% to 15% of earnings per year. For most people, without drastic changes in their lifestyle, their eventual savings nest egg they build-up would allow them to retire at the traditional age of 65. For those wishing to reach their FI age earlier than traditional retirees, they would need to save 20% to 40% of their earned income every year. A personalized investment account with a low-fee brokerage firm outside of an employer retirement plan can help build the wealth they need.

To reach an early FI age, a person needs to save 20% to 40% of their earned income every year and invest it for assured growth

And here, the basic question is presented about the lifestyle balance you must define for yourself. On one hand, the amount of savings you invest will fundamentally limit the spending and thus your standard-of-living in the present. Only later will your dedication to saving and investing wisely will your earlier sacrifices and forethought pay off in retirement. It seems the choice presented is between living in the present, or living for the future. But, here is the truth... it is about balance with an eye to the future while living a full life in the present.

Your lifestyle balance considers the present vs the future. A FI centric lifestyle will help focus your attention on needs vs wants and your life philosophies for a happy and full life

Financially this means, save as much as possible (of course) for the future, and spend what you need (emphasis on "need") to live in the now. Often, FIRE enthusiasts discuss needs vs wants and what constitutes a happy and full life. Though specific to each individual, the question of needs vs wants is what you need to decide, daily, yearly, and for the duration of your life.

Reference Information