Investing should be a habit: a bit out of each paycheck every month.

Only instead of putting your money in the bank, you’re putting it into an where your money will be invested in the markets and gives you a chance of earning returns.

How To Make It Happen

Forget about “timing the market.”

It seems like the popular way to define a “good investor” is someone who magically knows when to buy and sell to make the greatest return. The truth is, almost no one (even those who do it for a living) does this well. Data shows that just 0.1% of money managers the markets over a 5-year period.

Instead, when you invest steadily, sometimes you’ll “buy low” and sometimes you’ll “buy high.” But overall, you may see market-like returns over time.

Try the 50/30/20 philosophy to budget your income

50% to needs

Half of your pay should cover the essentials: food, home, clothes, etc.

30% to fun

Seriously. The stuff that gives your life texture: shows, trips, dinner out with friends, whatever makes your life all yours.

20% to savings/investing

This is money for “future you.” Her needs and wants should be covered too.

Get an estimated 50/30/20

Annual Salary (before taxes)


Monthly Breakdown

See How It’s Done

Meet Sonia

24-year-old college grad who is already the boss of her money.

Sonia’s a junior project coordinator making $45,000 a year. She lives with two roommates so she can keep her rent low, avoid credit card debt, and pay off her student loans.

Disclosure: For illustrative purposes only. This is a hypothetical client scenario and does not represent any Ellevest client or confer individually tailored investment advice.

  • Emergency Fund

    Build three months of take-home pay, Goal Amount = $9,080

  • Retirement

    Contribute to company 401(k)

Nail the basics: Emergency Fund & Retirement

  • Contribute 8% of pre-tax salary to company . Her company matches up to 3%, so she’s really getting 11% (yay!)
  • Save $787/month for emergency fund until three months of take-home pay are saved up.
  • Once emergency fund goal is reached, reallocate funds to increasing 401(k) contributions and start working on other goals.
Breaking down Sonia’s $3,750/mo pre-tax salary