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Save $2 per day to build retirement or general emergency savings

There is both a retirement as well as emergency savings crisis in the United States. The lack of savings impacts people of all income levels, whether low income families or higher earners. We have noted the importance of saving money as part of financial literacy as well as starting to save as well as invest early (at a reasonable age). The example below shows how saving just $2 per day at the age of 18 can help you start to build the “foundation” for a retirement account. Or the money can be used for general savings. Or the funds can be used for any need.

Retirement as well as all types of savings are lacking in the US. But so is general “emergency savings”. Or any assets. The $2 per day approach, starting early (ideally at age 18) can be used for that need as well…or really anything; retirement, savings for buying a house, paying for college, emergency bills….anything.

Savings crisis in US

The saving crisis in the US is dire. As is the overall lack of financial literacy. It impacts all accounts and types. Whether retirement, college, technical school, general asset savings account…all savings are lacking. The $2 approach can help solve it.

  • 40% of Americans do not have $400 for an emergency bills.
  • 21% of Americans do not save anything for retirement, and ~40% of Americans save less than 5% of their income.
  • Americans in their 50s only average about $110,000 in retirement savings and those in their 40s about $63,000.

While surveys and data points do vary, the common theme (regardless of the source) is that there is a retirement and general savings crisis. But saving just a couple dollars per day, starting early, can help address this crisis. It also can help improve the financial literacy of youth.

How will saving $2 per day make a difference?

Saving just a couple dollars per day, starting at the age of 18, will put you way ahead of the game and put you in a better place than every one of those surveys above shows. Get this…save just $2 per day, starting at age 18, and you can have about $143,000 by the age of 58! This of course requires you to invest those $2 per day and earn a 7% annual return, which is less that the S&P 500 historical returns. Save $2 per day

How is that possible? It is the magic of compounding. See the hard date below. It shows how that $2 per day grows over time, year after year.

How can I save $2 per day?

Are you really asking this question? Come on. We find it very hard for anyone to say they can’t save just $2 per day. Whether you are low income or not. And it gets easier in subsequent years due to the time value of money. To save, cut back on a few take out coffees each week. Use a few coupons when shopping each week. Do not do take out lunch one or two times per week. Get a roommate. Use online shopping codes. Buy in bulk. Put off buying that new smart phone or TV. Buy a used or affordable car. Or do any of hundreds of things to save $2 per day. Find a numerous ways to save money.

And if for some reason you truly, honestly can’t save $2 per day (which we find hard to believe)? Then make the money. Get a side hobby or project. Make money using smart phone apps or survey sites. Get a side gig. Sell stuff. Return cans for deposits. It is fairly simple to make a couple extra bucks a day, then save that money. Find additional ways to make money

The data

The graph below shows that saving $2 per day, and investing it, can do for retirement or other savings. And quite frankly, this is what happens if you do $2 per day starting at age 18. But honestly, once you get into your 20s, 30s, etc. you should be able to save much more than the $2. However that extra money you may save in your 20s or 30s will not have as big an impact to the graph/data below as it will not have as much time to compound.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck, or have a decent income, start saving a couple dollars per day early. Tell your kids to start saving at age 18 (or even earlier) as part of financial literacy lessons. Show them how it can help them build the “base” of a financial future or retirement account.

18 $720.00
19 $1,490.40
20 $2,314.73
21 $3,196.76
22 $4,140.53
23 $5,150.37
24 $6,230.90
25 $7,387.06
26 $8,624.15
27 $9,947.84
28 $11,364.19
29 $12,879.68
30 $14,501.26
31 $16,236.35
32 $18,092.90
33 $20,079.40
34 $22,204.96
35 $24,479.30
36 $26,912.85
37 $29,516.75
38 $32,302.93
39 $35,284.13
40 $38,474.02
41 $41,887.20
42 $45,539.31
43 $49,447.06
44 $53,628.35
45 $58,102.34
46 $62,889.50
47 $68,011.77
48 $73,492.59
49 $79,357.07
50 $85,632.07
51 $92,346.31
52 $99,530.55
53 $107,217.69
54 $115,442.93
55 $124,243.93
56 $133,661.01
57 $143,737.28

By Jon McNamara