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Planning for retirement is an important goal. But competing financial priorities, such as reducing debt or saving for a home, often get in the way. How do you make it all work?

Start with the fun part! Write down what matters most to you. Ask yourself:

How much money do I need for basic living expenses? What do I want to do in retirement? Where do I want to live? When do I want to retire?

Don’t think you have to find a way to pay for everything you dream about. It’s more about deciding what’s most important for your happiness and putting the things you can live without on the back burner. Prioritizing your goals can help you figure out where to trim your spending so you can save more for all of your financial objectives.

Start by categorizing your expenses into needs, wants and savings.

  • Needs are the essentials, such as housing, utilities, food, medical care, credit card, auto loan and other debt payments.
  • Wants are lifestyle choices, such as entertainment, vacations and eating out.
  • Savings can be an emergency fund, retirement savings and extra payments toward debt.

When you have competing needs and wants, it can be difficult to determine how much money to spend or save. Voya’s Home Budget & Savings Calculator is a great tool to help you get organized.

Or you could consider the 50-30-20 guideline described by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, in their book, All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan. Using their approach, your after-tax income would be divided in three ways:

Applying the 50-30-20 to each paycheck could make it simpler to create your spending plan and make saving automatic while allowing flexibility to splurge and have some fun.

These are just guidelines to help you get started with a budget and financial plan. Taking action now is what matters most. The sooner you commit to a plan that works for you, the more money you can free up to accomplish what you want now and for your future.

Financial Wellness Assessment
Want help assessing your financial wellness? Log in to your ABA Retirement Funds Program Account at and visit the Financial Wellness Experience. Take your personal assessment today and gain insight that will help you take meaningful actions for your financial future. The “BeReady” service, as described on the Program Insights home page, can also provide valuable information for your financial future.