🐷What's your 2019 personal saving rate?🐷

Hi friends!

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my Monday night newsletter about stocks, investing and becoming trillionaires (ok fine millionaire will do).

Even though it is still 2019 (I’m in shock it’s December, but that Gregorian calendar just keeps chugging), it feels finally time for a review of this year in money.

More specifically: a look back at what percentage of income did you save and invest this year. Or in other words: what is your personal saving rate?

Confusing term of the week: “personal saving rate” — the amount of money left over in a disposable income after people have paid taxes and their expenses and is allocated to retirement or other savings. The Bureau of Economic Analysis actually calculates and publishes the overall US personal saving rate each month — in October it was 7.8%.

Your personal saving rate can offer a better look at how much someone saved than just like… a random dollar amount.

So I tallied up all my little bits of savings and investing from this year.

The biggest chunk was of course my 401(k) savings, aka my retirement savings. Since in the US this is voluntarily paid by the individual, I’m including it.

Next largest chunk was my emergency savings fund, which I’d started in 2018 but took until 2019 to hit three months worth of pay.

Third biggest savings amount went into my Acorns account through roundups and $20 weekly additions.

Then I counted all the money I’ve used to buy individual shares this year (shout out to Nike, Ali Baba, Paypal and Slack, even if Slack is -40% since I purchased).

Lastly, Ellevest is only a new investment strategy for me, but there’s still some cash in there. I plan on focusing on it a lot more in 2020 so that my investments are more varied ETFs rather than individual company shares (if you want to open an Ellevest account, use this link and we both get $20).

After I figured out the total of all my 2019 savings, I needed to figure out how much money I’d actually earned.

The site Salary After Tax (it offers lots of country options, including the US, Australia and UK) gives you a decent estimate of what your post-tax salary will be this year.

I put those figures together and worked out the percentage. To be clear, this isn’t totally accurate cause my 401(k) savings are put away pre-tax, but the personal saving rate number I ended up with was 16.5%.

Considering this year I have travelled to Miami, Australia, the south of France, Myanmar, Los Angeles, and am heading back to Oz for Christmas, I am satisfied with 16%.

You could also do this the other way to figure out your savings rate and deduct your spending rather than your saving (for some reason figuring out my spending felt more… depressing).

The general recommended savings figure from financial advisors is usually somewhere between 15-20% of your income. People obsessed with retiring early are usually looking more at 25% and above (often way more! Up to like 80%!).

My dad always drilled in the “save 10%” amount from when we were kids, but that was more achievable on some incomes than others. If your savings are currently non-existent, then opening a 401(k) with a few percentage and then saving an additional 10% on top of that is wonderful.

Next year I’m aiming for 20% saved and invested.

What’s your savings rate for 2019? And just as importantly: what do you want your savings rate to be for 2020? Reply to this email and let me know, I’d love to hear your answers.

And Christmas is nearly here! USPS’s Operation Santa is a really lovely way to help families have a special one. Basically kids (and some adults) write letters to “Santa” and you can be Santa and make their wishes come true.

Yes, a lot of kids ask for the iPhone 11 Pro, but there’s also a lot of really heartbreaking requests in charming little kids’ handwriting looking for toys, clothes and school supplies. I recommend reading through some of them and getting stuff sent out asap!

Hope your week is not too hectic,

Amber Jamieson

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a mate who is trying to save more? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.

As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.