How much did you save in 2021?

I review my financials at the end of the year and track what percentage I'm saving and what I'm spending money on, etc. I'd like to think I'm pretty disciplined about saving and figured I'd share high level statistics to see how I compare to WSO

Background: I live in a pretty average COL area (think Dallas/Miami but with state income taxes), 2.5 years in PE, am single, still rent an apartment with my roommate from college, no credit card debt, small car note with 4 yrs left, and I lever my co-investments. 

  • Saving percentage: 58% of net income (post-tax), ~40% of gross (pre-tax)
  • Income besides job: pretty low at ~$10k a year which is not enough to cover rent... Two holdings: private sub. debt (yielding 12%) and a really small dividend portfolio that I assembled during COVID (pays 10% of cost; yield is closer to 6% now IIRC)
  • Top-3 expenses: top category was rent (12% of net income), going out for drinks / food (11%; thinking of this is as "pent-up demand" from COVID as it's usually HSD), and travel (3 domestic vacations in 2021; 6%)
  • Wealth: my net worth is equal to ~10x my annual spending. 
  • Leverage: my (real) assets are stocks (75% ETFs; 25 individual stocks), co-invest stakes, and a very small crypto portfolio. My liabilities are a car note (2.8% APR), debt from levering co-invest (~5.5% PIK), and a $10K interest-free loan from undergrad. Ratio @ market value (excl. crypto) is 5 to 1. The ratio improved materially during COVID as asset prices swelled. 
  • Plans for this year: been given the nod for a promotion in six months. Once that's official, I'll probably move into a single unit at year-end. Will likely undertake 1-2 new co-invest positions. Besides that, I don't plan on any other lifestyle changes, but know my expenses will still increase due to inflation. When I redo my budget, the goal is for my saving percentage to increase even though expenses are increasing nominally. 

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Comments (26)

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Jan 4, 2022 - 12:16pm

You need to simplify this post. Your assets are 10x your annual spend? Kind of a useless stat unless you mean your net worth is 10x your annual spend?

Percentages and ratios don't mean much. If you make $125k you're doing an excellent job saving. If you make $350k, you're just doing ok in terms of savings rate.

Keep it simple

1) Net worth

2) Pre-tax income from Job

3) Annual savings after taxes


Jan 4, 2022 - 12:20pm

Good catch - I was using net worth for the calculation but wrote assets. 


Jan 5, 2022 - 12:28am

I ain't saving shit - inflation will piss all of it away. Instead I'm debt financing the shit out of everything. It reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago from a guy who owned a liquor store: he and a few buddies had a prostitute over their house and took turns having sex with her. When she came out between guys to put the money in her purse one guy would take the money from her purse and use it to pay her for sex next. This is a parable for spending money in the Weimarian period we are in. 

Jan 5, 2022 - 5:23pm

- What do you use to track your budgeting?
- Why do you bucket your dividend paying stocks separate from your PA? How do you weight/diversify your stock portfolio? Are you investing any new money into stocks or crypto? Do you max out retirement accounts? Do you DCA monthly? 
- What percent of your net worth would you say is in co-invest? Are you worried about the risk associated with your job? Do you think about this at all? 
- Will you rent or buy in your city? Do you have any private real estate or REITS in your book? 

Jan 5, 2022 - 9:20pm


- What do you use to track your budgeting?

Personal Capital. Only track things annually as I've never had a problem with overspending. 

- Why do you bucket your dividend paying stocks separate from your PA?

When I was younger, I read about Warren Buffett's thoughts on passive investments. The ides of making money in my sleep was appealing then, but, after working in finance for a few years, it sounds even better now. I monitor the cash flow from dividend stocks + private debt separately from dividends that come from VTI or individual stocks. For me, it's intrinsically motivating to see that number climb and start covering more expenses so I like to have it separate on my summaries / dashboard. 

- How do you weight/diversify your stock portfolio? 

~80% of my portfolio is Vanguard total market (VTI). Looking into adding international equities, but not sure if I want to be country specific or invest in VXUS. 10-15% is in sector ETFs. There's 25 individual stocks that make up the remaining 10-15%. Most of those I came across a while ago or were in my coverage universe in banking (e.g., Dexcom).

- Are you investing any new money into stocks or crypto?

Crypto allocation is too high rn due to gains. I DCA into my stock portfolio out of my paycheck, but, for my bonus + co-invest proceeds, I'm choosing between private debt or new co-invest opps.  

- Do you max out retirement accounts?


- Do you DCA monthly? 


- What percent of your net worth would you say is in co-invest? Are you worried about the risk associated with your job? Do you think about this at all? 

Just had an exit before the holidays so it's only 10%. I assume the risk you're referring to is the fact that I'm investing in a fund managed by a firm that I work for. My income and the performance of co-invest stakes are dependent on the firm's success/survival, but the firm I work was founded ~25 years ago and hasn't shown signs of slowing down so I'm not concerned about my income disappearing over night. There's quite a few factors in my favor when co-investing also... Specifically, my familiarity with the investments, favorable terms I receive (e.g., no mgmt. fees), and the cheap leverage are real positives.

- Will you rent or buy in your city? Do you have any private real estate or REITS in your book? 

I'll probably keep renting because I like living in the heart of the city and don't want to be tied down geographically yet. 


Jan 5, 2022 - 7:34pm

2021 has been a wild year for me. I bought a nice watch, moved across the country on a three week roadtrip, moved into a short-term apartment for a few months til I found my long-term one, filled it with furniture, and just recently spent my (almost) last dollars on it framing some art (I still have to buy a new receiver, the one I have is crap and the one I want is out of stock). So because of all that I've spent most of my marginal saving dollars have gone to expenses, but moving forward I have a pretty good budget set up.

Post-tax, about 55% of my income goes to rent and student loans, 10% to general living expenses, 10% to 401k, 15% to brokerage, 10% remaining to general discretionary. I'm trying to move as much of that 10% discretionary into brokerage, but I also don't want to live like a pauper and if I say fuck it, I'm going to Mammoth for the weekend I'm not gonna bust my own balls over it.

Jan 6, 2022 - 5:16pm

Nice, going to Mammoth sounds sweet. Do you make too much to contribute to a Roth IRA? Isn't that what's recommended after paying into loans and your 401K? 

Jan 5, 2022 - 8:12pm

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jan 5, 2022 - 9:09pm

Don't mind me as I overshare a bit here, just to give a bit of perspective (similar to salaries and bonus when most of what I see are large numbers). I just moved from credit into an IB position, base pay was relatively unchanged at $100k and bonus this year was $20k for the three months I was in the new position.

In a MCOL city, and this year was also a bit of an anomaly (aside from brief shutdowns and not going out as much) but also got engaged, which was a pretty big hit to the savings rate (also got myself an Omega Speedy as a self-congratulations lol).

  • Maxed 401k: $19,500
  • HSA: $3,000
  • Health, Dental, Vision: ~$1,100
  • Rent (1.5Br split with fiancé): $14,750
  • Misc. (ie renters insurance, gym, phone, monthly subs like Prime/Spotify, utilities): ~$4,700
  • Groceries (I was footing the whole bill for a bit): $6,800
  • Eating out: $3,900
  • Other (ie gifts for bdays/Christmas, we took a vacation to Mexico, trip back to SoCal for the holidays, Miami NYE with friends, the aforementioned ring and watch, extra costs for our adopted pup, some random things for the apartment - my PS5, a dope record player setup and a buncha vinyls, artwork): $28,500

So all in all, not my usual year where I try and target 40% savings as I only hit about 30% - inclusive of pretax vehicles such as 401k and HSA. I'm roughly 3 years out of undergrad and was fortunate enough to not have any debt, but also didn't come out with any savings even though I worked throughout all 5 years. I had the mindset of saving as much as I could, and sacrificed some lifestyle choices for the sake of maintaining a higher figure in my bank account, but recent experiences have cause me to lighten up just a bit. Still will aim for the 40%, and wouldn't want to drop much lower than 30% (these values will grow as my income does as well), plus COVID pushed my girl and I to value cooking together at home and having going out be more of a special occasion versus the every weekend we were doing when we first met a couple years ago, but want to spend more time exploring the world and getting back to travel. 

Finally, yo Pizz, this one's for you: NW of $175k - $18k in cash, $149k across investment accounts ($46k in PA and others are retirement), remaining sum in art/watch/etc. No car.

Bonus quote from Electric Body by ASAP Rocky and Schoolboy Q:

All I wanna see are green faces,

All I wanna count is green numbers,

Man that shit is weird, lookin like the Matrix

Jan 17, 2022 - 4:44pm

I did a similar review last weekend actually.

After tax combined income: 600k

Roth IRAs: 12k

Roth 401k: 39k

Mega backdoor Roth: 35k

Cash balance plan: 15k

529 plans: 25k

Mortgage and taxes: 120k

Mortgage 2 and taxes 85k

HSA: 6k

Groceries: 25k

Eating out/hosting parties: 40k

Jewelry & gifts: 30k

Other: 30k

Cash left to invest or save: ~138k

Jan 10, 2022 - 9:17pm

3rd year analyst. not sure how much I saved but net worth is up 90k YoY.

"The future will be better tomorrow" -Dan Quayle

Jan 17, 2022 - 6:37pm

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