When it comes to savings strategies, having 3 “buckets” – Emergency Savings, Savings to Spend and Savings for Retirement – can brings clarity to your savings goals. By thinking of these different purposes you may be able to understand and control your overall financial plan much better.
Use the Savings to Spend bucket for specific purchases, like a new car or vacation, and watch it closely to see your funds piling up. Emergency Savings and Retirement Savings are more open-ended, and are generally on autopilot; money is regularly filtered into these accounts without frequent monitoring. Because those buckets aren’t watched as closely, you run the risk of going off track.
To help keep all of your savings buckets in check commit to a new practice of reviewing the following every three months:
- Monthly/yearly expenses: Since these are the basis for savings goals, be sure you’re up to date.
- Emergency Savings: Do you have enough to cover 6 months of expenses? If your expenses have changed, consider adjusting your savings amount.
- Retirement Savings: Are you on track to have 25 times your annual expenses? Since the future is unpredictable, can you make any additional contributions?
This review only takes about 20 minutes, but it can give you peace of mind. Doing a regular review also means you can make smaller, incremental adjustments that have minimal impact on your budget, rather than waiting a couple of years and having to make big changes.