I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been stopped by friends, colleagues, clients and others and been asked “How much money should I have saved by now?” or  “How much of my paycheck should I be saving?” This is a tough question to answer and one that I dive into the specifics of above. Preview: It’s not the same for everyone.

There’s a balancing act that will occur between the commitments and priorities that you have in your personal life, but there are some key things to keep in mind when determining how much you should be setting aside.

It’s always good to have a benchmark to measure progress, but ultimately, you need to account for who you are and what your life looks like. The most important things are to prioritize, just get started and be honest with yourself. Be realistic and weigh the options of cutting back on today’s expenses (if needed) so your future self can thank you for it.

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