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How Much Should I Have Saved By 18?

Last modified: Sep 29, 2022

When it comes to saving money, there are a lot of factors to consider. Of course, how much you should save depends on your specific situation. But in general, you should try to have at least some savings by the time you reach adulthood.  

So a common question is: How much should I have saved by 18? Lucky for you, this article will look at how much you should aim to have saved by 18 and how to make that goal a reality.​   

How Much Should I Have Saved by 18?

This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on many factors, including your income, your spending habits, and your overall financial goals. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should aim to have saved at least 10% of your income by the time you are 18. 

This will give you a solid foundation to enter adulthood. Additionally, keep your long-term financial goals in mind, so you don't spend your hard-earned savings before you need to.  

More specifically, you'll typically need to save up for three months of rent, car insurance payments, and a smartphone plan before getting a job. So, your savings should roughly total $1,220 by the time you’re 18 to make this arrangement work.

In addition, if you are interested in why car insurance is so expensive, this link will tell you more. 

How Much Money Does the Average 18-Year-Old Have?

Median savings for age groups 18–34 is $1,000. However, if you’re in this demographic, it can be challenging to save money due to paying student loans or setting aside some cash for unexpected expenses, such as emergencies. 

Interestingly, approximately $1.5 trillion is owed in student loan debt across the United States. 

Reasons Why Should Teenagers Save?

College/Personal Development

If you are lucky enough to have your parents pay for all or a portion of your education costs, take advantage of the opportunity and praise them. However, this isn't the case for most teenagers. Additionally, while $10,000 won't cover the entirety of your education, it's a good start, and it's $10,000 less you'll have to pay back once you finish.  

Moving to an Apartment

If you're planning on moving out of your parents' home, it's essential to start saving for a security deposit and the first month's rent. On top of that, having an emergency fund will give you a cushion if you have any other unexpected expenses

Living at Home (Parents)

Even if you're living at home, it's still a good idea to save for your future. An emergency fund can help you cover expenses, like a car repair or medical bill.         

Emergency Fund

As previously mentioned, it's always a good idea to have an emergency fund, regardless of your age or living situation. This will give you a financial cushion in case of job loss, unexpected medical bills, or other unforeseen expenses.  

How to Save Money as a Teenager?

  1. Open a savings account: The first step to saving money as a teenager is to open up a savings account specifically for your saving goals. This will help you keep track of your progress.
  2. Set goals: Once you have a savings account, the next step is to set specific goals. Whether it’s a new car, college tuition, or a down payment on a house, having concrete goals will keep you motivated. 
  3. Get a job: One of the best ways to start saving money as a teenager is to get a part-time job. Even if it’s just a few hours per week, this extra income can make a difference over time. 
  4. Build your budget: Once you have a steady income, it’s time to start building a budget. This will help track your spending and ensure that you put enough money away each month to reach your savings goals.   
  5. Modify your spending habits: If you are spending too much money on unnecessary things, it’s time to modify your spending habits. Try to cut back on impulsive purchases and focus on only buying what you need.   
  6. Track your savings: The final step to saving money as a teenager is to track your progress regularly. This will help you stay on track and see how close you are to reaching your goals.

How to Start Credit at 18?

Turning 18 is an exciting time. You're now an adult in the eyes of the law and can vote, buy tobacco products, and sign legal documents. More importantly, you need to start building a good credit history.

Understand Your Credit Score and Report

Your credit score is a number that lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. It's based on your payment history, credit utilization, and length of credit history. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) once per year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Become an Authorized User on Someone Else's Credit Card 

If you have a parent or other relatives with good credit, you may be able to become an authorized user on their credit card. This means you'll be able to use the card for purchases, but the primary account holder will be responsible for making payments. This can be an excellent way to start building credit without applying for a credit card of your own. 

This article will tell you more if you want to know how old you need to be to open a debit card.

Get a Starter Credit Card  

Suppose you don't have anyone who can add you as an authorized user; consider getting a starter credit card from a major issuer like Discover, Capital One, or Citi. These cards typically have lower credit limits and higher interest rates than traditional cards, but they can help you build credit if used responsibly.   

Build Credit by Paying on Time

One of the most important things you can do to build credit is to make all your payments on time. Set up automatic payments, or put reminders on your calendar to help you stay on track.

Keep Your Balance Low

Credit utilization, which is the amount of credit you're using relative to your credit limit, is another crucial factor in your credit score. So, even if you're making all your payments on time, keep your balances low to help boost your score.  

In Conclusion

So, how much should you have saved by the time you turn 18? The answer isn't one size fits all, but hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of what to expect. Start saving now, and you'll be on track for a bright financial future! 


How much do most 18-year-old have in savings?

The average saving of an 18-year-old is around $1,000. 

What should I do with my money at 18?

If you’re wondering “how much should I have saved by 18” and “what should I do with the money?” It's best to put your cash into a bank account or invest in personal development like education or a future business. 

Can you start building credit before you're 18?

Unfortunately, financial assets such as loans and credit cards require a minimum age of 18. However, if you're an authorized user on an account, you can start accruing credit before you're 18.

Policy Advice is a website devoted to helping everyday people make, save, and grow money. While our team is comprised of personal finance pros with various areas of expertise, nothing can replace professional financial, tax, or legal advice.

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