In my many hours of unnecessary spreadsheet review and number crunching (also known as my idea of fun), I came across a little hidden sheet in my book that I did not recall. Actually, I came across two such sheets, both equally interesting, but one that shows something sort of incredible (to me). This sheet showed how many dollars I saved per day toward retirement and retirement only. My first year on the job I saved $15,89 per day. I thought this was impressive at the time. Then I got a raise and I decided to save a little more. It wasn’t much more, it was just 1% more into my 401k and it didn’t even amount to my whole raise. That year I socked away $22,09 per day. Of course, this is nothing to short of good, especially by the comparison of the average American worker. The year after that? Well, I saved $27.44 per day thanks to increasing my 401k another 2% and a promotion. In hindsight, I regret that I did not dump my entire promotion into my 401k, but, I can’t change that “lost” money so I am going to not kick myself for it. Then there is 2015, when I got serious about retiring early and saved $39.59 per day toward retirement accounts over the course of 11 months.
2015 was the year I raised my 401k contribution amount by 8%. I just couldn’t believe how many dollars per day I saved. It sounds like only a little but if you tried to pocket $40 a day it would be awfully hard to do. So then I decided to go overboard (as I do). I started thinking about what would happen if I doubled the amount I saved per day in 2016. Is that possible? Could it be a stretch goal? Could I get close? In 2015 I saved over one hour of pay per day (even days I didn’t work) so could I save two hours of pay per day in 2016? Then could I double it again for 2017? How long would this be sustainable? As you can see, I created a monster.
But what if everyone could somehow scrape together one hours worth of their pay per day and put that toward retirement? Or perhaps half an hour of pay for those on the lower end of the income scale (where saving gets much more difficult)? Could this be as simple as forgoing Starbucks coffee or McDonald’s breakfast a few times a week or even one meal out at a restaurant? I think it could be. Most people could make little changes to get a little closer to saving one hour of pay per day (my Old Man is what would be considered low income and saved about $20 per day, which is more than his hourly wage, but we also have somewhat combined finances where he pays next to nothing for housing, which helps him bump that up).
Just think about the freedom that could come from saving an hour’s wage each day. It’s like you’re working for yourself for that hour, rather than working for the credit card or cable bill or car payment. This hour you are working is for yourself and your future freedom. Is it worth it to you? It certainly is for me.