How To Use The 50-30-20 Budgeting Rule To Balance Your Financial Life

The 50-30-20 budgeting rule was popularized by US senator Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, in the book “All Your Worth”. It is meant to help you organize your financials around your needs, wants and investments.

50% of you income should go to needs such as rent, utility bills, grocery, shopping, transports, car fuel etc

30% of your net income should go to your wants or self-development needs. This is the layer that builds the body, mind and soul and includes spending on leisure, entertainment, tithe, financial support for friends and family, self-education, networking, industry association membership subscriptions etc. The spending in this part should help you become a better person and grow your social capital over time. 

20% of your net income should go to savings and investments. Savings and investments will help you with your short-term and long-term goals such as starting a business, buying a car, building a house, retiring early etc. You should give priority to building an emergency fund which acts as a nest egg to help you manage any unforeseen circumstances that require financial intervention eg losing your phone etc.

An emergency fund lays the foundation for long-term investing and helps you avoid getting into debt in case an emergency arises. It gives you peace of mind to be able to confidently save and invest for a better tomorrow.

To keep on track you should ensure that you do not use more than 25% of your net income on paying debt. This is known as the debt to income ratio. Tracking helps us avoid using too much of our income to pay debt and protects us from falling into a debt trap.

Of importance is also the house affordability ratio which refers to the portion of a household’s monthly income being used to pay for rent or mortgage. You should also keep this below 25%.

“When your money is in balance, you will always have enough to pay your bills, have some fun and save for your dreams.”

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