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How much of your salary should you save as a fresh grad?

What's a good ratio to consider? any tips to save more after just coming out of school?

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Hi Cally,

As a fresh grad, start by exercising prudence in spending; this will go a long way to helping you build good spending habits.

I have a 40-30-20-10 framework. 40% on expenses. 30% on loans (if you are paying back your university loan, then you will want to ensure that you pay this off first before looking at investing or saving) 20% should be saved until you have at least 6 months of emergency funds, 10% on your insurance coverage.

Once you have hit 6 months of emergency funds, you'll be able to start investing/saving. If you have paid off your study loan, then you can also invest that 30% segment. So in theory, you can easily invest 50% of your salary, more if you don't spend that much in the 40% segment. Depending on what goal you are investing for (short term, long term), aim to invest as much as you can when young; when you are married or have a kid, you will find that your ability to invest will take a hit due to family expenses, at this point, what you have build up when you were young will continue compounding, which can only be a good thing.

1 comment

13
Amanda Yong

2w ago

I totally agree
Wallace Chai
Wallace Chai
Level 8. Wizard
Answered 5d ago

I always transfer out 20% of my income to another saving account immediately once i receive my paycheck. 65% for insurance/loans/expenses. Then 15% for investment.

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6

20% of whatever you earn for the long term (retirement)

30% of whatever you earn for the short to medium term (usually for a wedding, house, reno, kids, car, etc)

Spend 50%.

2 comments

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John Smiths
John Smiths

2w ago

I agree with this. As a fresh grad staying with your family in your parent's place, you should be saving at least 50% of your salary. Because your savings percentage is likely to drop as you keep going with more life events to spend on. It would be fantastic if you can maintain it at 50% as your salary increases in proportion to your spending which results you in saving more.
GuanYuan Tan
GuanYuan Tan

2w ago

I would say 50% is a good benchmark! Also depends how much are you giving your parents, and whether u have kids or not
SK
Stacy Kuah
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 2w ago

I would save at least 30%, as I don’t think that a fresh grad would have that many expenses to handle yet, more if I can!

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Lim Chin Hwee
Lim Chin Hwee
Level 2. Rookie
Answered 1w ago

Always to keep a good ratio like 30% saving 70% spending

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1
Isabel Wong
Isabel Wong
Level 5. Genius
Answered 2w ago

Some insights from a fellow fresh grad (I started working in July).

So far, I have managed to save about 60-70% of my take home pay (after CPF), of which half goes to investments. I don't have a study loan/haven't settled my insurance policies but I do give allowance to my parents so I think it depends on your personal commitments. But as you are still young and to make use of compound interest I believe that you should try to save at least 50%.

Some tips that I find really useful:

  • Track your expenses - it may seem tedious at first but it is really helpful in understanding the breakdown of your spending

  • Identify the top 2 areas where you spend the most on and try to cut down from there (like for me it is food and shopping)

  • Besides saving you should also aim to grow your income - side hustles, grow your career, having a high interest savings account, making use of cashbacks etc

Just make sure to find the right level that is comfortable to you! Set small goals in the beginning as you wouldn't want to cut down till you feel like saving is a chore. ​​​

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Junus Eu
Junus Eu
Top Contributor

Top Contributor (Nov)

Level 9. God of Wisdom
Answered 2w ago

Personally, I saved everything left after food and transport, as a fresh grad.

At that time I was earning $1.5k a month with tuition and internships, and my goal was to save $1k a month!

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Munting Tan
Munting Tan
Level 3. Wonderkid
Answered 3d ago

As much as possible basically.. For me when I started, I saved up to 50% of my salary. As long as you are prudent, you would be able to save a lot more.

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Hi Cally, a good start will be 20% but try to bring it up to 30%.

I recommend your first goal is to get your medical insurance sorted out first, followed by saving up 6 months of your fixed expenses before embarking any other thing like life insurance or investing.

My advise to saving more, is to do budgeting. I use the Spendee app to track my spending so I know which area I spend more and subconsciously, by tracking, it makes me more prudent with my spending.

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Yanisa Koh
Yanisa Koh
Level 6. Master
Answered 4d ago

Beyond your fixed expenses such as phone bills, transportation etc, set aside perhaps 20% for entertainment and shopping and try to save the rest until you have enough for emergency funds of about 6 months salary.

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JL
Jayden Lee
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 5d ago

It depends on your liabilities and circumstances. Do you have student loans to pay, or you're one of the fortunate ones whose parents are alright paying for you?

In general, it ranges 20-50%.

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Eveline Lau
Eveline Lau
Level 6. Master
Answered 2w ago

When I was a fresh grad, I spent about 30-40% of my take-home (money to folks is considered in here), everything else went into savings. This "savings" then split into legit savings (sit in bank and do nothing except generate interest) and some went to stocks. A few months back, some people in the community have been sharing articles that at the age of 30, one should have saved up at least $100k. It's completely doable, use that as your target! I hit the target before 30, despite having a very basic pay (I don't work in the finance nor for the government) because I'm generally a thrifty person. I don't splurge on meals, daily lunch cost me around $3.50 and I take public transport everywhere if I can. I used to think that I'll be able to afford branded goods after I started working and while I think I actually can afford it, I can't bear to part with the money. After a while, you'll realise that you had actually accumulated the wealth you've targeted!

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VC
Vicki Chng
Level 5. Genius
Updated 3d ago

I would say depends on your liabilities.

For me, my fixed expenses when I just entered the workforce includes:

10% for parents allowance

15% for education loan repayment

And I give myself about 20% for food transport generally spending etc so the rest goes into savings!

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Jasmine Goh
Jasmine Goh
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 2w ago

Rather than a %, maybe tracking how much you really need on a daily / monthly basis will give you a good gauge on what you can cut down and what you need to spend. Some people may have more commitments than others :)

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Dawn Fiona
Dawn Fiona
Level 7. Grand Master
Updated 2w ago

There's no right or wrong ratio because everyone's liabiliites and financial circumstances are different. For instance, if you're the sole breadwinner of the family and earning less than $3,000 a month, it would be quite hard to save when so many people rely on you for a living. Instead, you should work with what you have.

If not, then I think some of the ratios the other community members have suggested are worth considering.

I would even say it is ok to save 0% of your salary if you're already spending very little but using most of your income to pay off your student loan (4% isn't cheap...)​​​

0 comments

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Hwee Kian
Hwee Kian
Level 6. Master
Answered 2w ago

Hi Cally,

I think minimally it's wise to save 30%, although 50% would be ideal but I reckon it's quite tough in terms of absolute value to save 50% as a fresh grad.

Just to save up first (pay yourself first) before spending on the others. All the best!

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Larissa Lim
Larissa Lim
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered 2w ago

As a fresh grad, if you dont have study loan, you should be able to save up to 50%. (the amt after cpf deduction) This is the best time to save as more and more commitments will come up later on.

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Shirley Ngiam
Shirley Ngiam
Level 3. Wonderkid
Updated 2w ago

Me and my boyfriend both save around 20% of our salary into an account so that at the same time there will be interest growing. I guess is more motivational if there is someone or another half that is doing the same thing with you. However if you are doing it alone, you can set a Budget that you want to hit by the end of the year.

Example: 10k before 2020. Divide by 12 months around $833.333. Try to hit that amount every month.​​​

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Felicia Goh
Felicia Goh
Level 2. Rookie
Answered 2w ago

Personally, I set aside a budget for spending (to ensure my current lifestyle is not compromised), 20% to parents and the rest for savings for holidays and long term

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Yong Kah Hwee
Yong Kah Hwee
Level 8. Wizard
Answered 2w ago

As much as you can, without feeling like you are suffering.

I would say saving 40% or above of your salary is decent. It depends on how much you're getting, and the expenses you have!

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