How Much Do I Really Need to Save for Retirement?


Q: What percentage should I be saving for retirement from each paycheck?

Generally, I recommend earmarking 10 percent of your paycheck for retirement during your 20s, then bumping it up to 15 percent in your 30s. The more you can put away when you’re young, the better, because your money has more time to grow.

That said, I get that many 20-somethings can’t spare 10 percent of their pay right out of the gate, especially when you factor in other priorities like paying off student loans or building up an emergency fund. So know this: Saving anything is better than nothing. And it’s okay to save 3 percent at first, for example, or the minimum to recoup any employer match.

After that, though, do your best to increase the percentage every year, even when you don’t get a raise or bonus—but especially when you do. Many people get pay bumps at work at the beginning of the year, so now could be a good time to up your contributions by 1 or 2 percent.

Every once in awhile, step back and look at the big picture. The fact is, how much money you’ll really need in retirement is solely based on your personal lifestyle and how you envision your post-work life. So even if you can save 10-15 percent of your paycheck, it’s important to calculate your own personal retirement target. Swapping out an arbitrary savings rate in favor of one that incorporates your individual needs may be the motivation you need to kick your savings into high gear.

Certified Financial Planner Mary Beth Storjohann is founder of Workable Wealth and an author, working to help clients in their 20s through 40s across the country make smart, educated choices with their money.

Grow Financial Advisor Panel participants are responsible for the content expressed and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Acorns Grow, Inc., Acorns Securities, LLC or Acorns Advisers, LLC. Content is provided on an informational basis and should not be construed as investment advice. Individual circumstances will vary. Please consult a financial advisor before acting on any opinions expressed. Participation in the panel is voluntary. Editing of advisor responses is for brevity and clarity; no editorial privilege is exercised.

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2021 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.