How much should you set aside for major expenses?
Some of the most essential things in life are also the most expensive. Funding major expenses don’t happen overnight. With a lot of forethought and a little execution, you can afford life’s biggest purchases.
Homes, The Grand-Daddy Of Major Expenses
You have to live somewhere, and where you live is typically your biggest expense. There may come a time when you want to rest your bones in a place that you own. Unless you win the lottery, home-ownership is a marathon, not a sprint.
Most lenders prefer you to have enough money for a 20% down payment. If your home costs $500,000, that means you’ll need to save at least $100,000. That’s just the beginning of the expenses. Homeownership comes with closing costs, fees, moving expenses, and property taxes. Expect to pay an additional 2-5% up front.
Save Well, Retire Well
Retirement arguably takes even more forethought than buying a house. With a home, you plan on having an active stream of income to fund mortgage payments. With retirement, your very survival depends on saving enough money ahead of time.
To settle on a figure, you’ll have to decide how much money you need per year to live comfortably. Then you’ll multiply that by how long you plan on living after you retire. If you plan on living forever, you’ve got some serious saving to do!
Saving For The Unknown
If you don’t have an emergency fund in place, unexpected expenses can put the breaks on your long-term financial goals. Before you start chipping away at something like a home down payment, set aside an emergency fund.
You want to have at least enough money to survive for three to six months. For the ultra-risk averse, make it enough to last a whole year. That includes money to cover car payments and medical bills in addition to rent, food, and utilities.
Life expectancy is only getting longer. Start saving now so you can have fun and live comfortably in your bonus years.