20 in 2020 Challenge: Save 20% of your income in 2020

2020 - a new decade - is almost here.

It’s time to get ambitious about savings goals. So I present the 20 in 2020 challenge. It’s simple but not easy: save 20% of your income in 2020.

If saving 20% of your income is easy for you (or if your income is over 100K) - please use the alternative 20 in 2020 Challenge: Save $20,000 in 2020. Both get the same sticker, but the threads will have people at similar income/challenge levels.

Here’s all the 20 in 2020 Challenges:

Basic rules:

  • The goal is to save 20% of your pre-tax income in 2020. If you make $40,000 per year, that’s $8,000 or $666 per month.
  • You can combine any type of savings: emergency fund, 401K, Super, IRA, taxable investments, buffer, house down payment fund, student loan payments - to reach your goal.
  • You can choose household or individual salary, whichever your prefer.

What Counts

  • Debt repayment counts towards your savings rate!
  • Mortgage principal (but not interest or escrow) counts.
  • Only savings that occurs between 1/1/2020 and 12/31/2020 count.
  • You can use tax refund or any other windfall money towards your savings percentage, but you then must count that windfall towards your overall income.

What do you get:

  • Support on this thread as you go along - post monthly or quarterly check-ins as appropriate
  • A forum badge when you are halfway - at your 10% goal - for the year
  • A forum badge when you complete your 20% goal for the year
  • A sticker mailed to you when you complete your 20% goal for the year
  • A shoutout on the podcast when you reach your goal

I think I put my target goals in the wrong challenge thread - shooting for 20% by maxing my HSA and Roth contributions.

**** Mod Note, here’s original post:**

I will shoot for 20% (individual) via:
Max HSA contribution in 2020
Max Roth contribution in 2020

My income after taxes is about $18K from pension, so I should be able to hit 20% easily with only one of those goals (but not quite hit $20K unless I also move money into taxable investments).


I’m double-dipping.

My goal is to hit 20% AND $20,000, which unless something about my income drastically changes, are not the same.

Current savings rate is about 15%, as 2019’s goal was to simply live off my savings, so I’ve been mostly dwindling it.

Next year the goal is to increase income and rebuild the savings I ate up this year. So 20% is definitely doable, and $20,000 will be a stretch on a ~$35 - $40,000 income. But I have done it before and will do it again!


I’m in!
Kind of tempted to join the other thread too, even though it would be a huge stretch for me on ~63k pretax income.


I told @rural that if you hit the goal for both threads, you get double stickers. I’ll hold to that for you. I’d say hang out over here and if you think you can make it to $20K, we’ll support you on either thread!


@anomalily, I don’t know why you called me a rockstar in the other thread!

I’m also double dipping. Expect to hit this pretty easily on income that should come in a little under $60,000.

Currently putting $635 in health savings account every month (I get paid 10 months out of the year) and $600 into a 457 account. Also putting $325 per check into our pension (this is mandatory, but that’s my part).
There are also student loan payments, but that’s income contingent, and I expect it to come down to the no more than $100 a month as soon as I let the feds know that husband is no longer working/ grad school stipend-ing (right now, is it’s $259 a month.)
Finally, in most years, we have enough left over to max out two IRA’s before tax day. With him leaving employment, I’m not sure if we’ll be doing that this year or not, but we may well at least do his because a lot of the other retirement accounts are in my name.

Oh, here’s a big deal: if all the stars align, I’ll qualify for public service loan forgiveness on my student loans in September. Does the forgiven amount count as income? If so, I’ve disqualified, as that’s more than this cowboy makes.:slight_smile:


I THINK THE FORGIVEN AMOUNTS qualify as income AND savings since debt repayment counts as savings, so you’ll be a hella high rate!

Also, plz plz plz if you get PSLF come on the show. Listeners are desperate for a positive story about PSLF, and you would give so much hope to others.


Sinking funds don’t count, though, right? Like, saving money toward a trip, or toward another large expense to be spent in 2020?

(I sort of feel like saving toward a longer term goal - for me, this would be moving out of Chicago - should count, but saving for short-term things like vet expenses or hair appointments or travel should not? I dunno, that’s what feels right to me. But I’m willing to abide by whatever rules this challenge has.)

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Fingers crossed. And I’ll definitely be glad to come on the show if it works. I have had them certify my payments every year since they first put out the payment certification form, and will do that one more time in January, so I do have all my fingers crossed. I have in writing from the feds f that over 100 of the payments count, and figuring out the job will not be complicated for them since I’ve been at the same one for the whole time, working for the state, so there’s no debate about tax exempt status.


I think savings towards any large goal that is not spent in 2020 is golden. This is includes retirement savings, home down payment, trips, car down payment or moving funds.

If you build up savings in any category and it is wiped out by an unexpected expense in a category
(i.e. you saved $3,000 in an HSA and then had $3,000 in medical expenses or you saved $8,000 towards an emergency fund and then lost your job unexpectedly or $5,000 in a house fund and then the septic system broke), it does not count against your savings total.

But if it is a for a planned expense during 2020 - i.e. I know I need $3,000 saved for taxes by April, so I would not count that towards my overall savings goal.


Fair enough. We’re definitely not moving in 2020. So, moving fund counts, savings toward 2020 travel does not.

(I’d love to think I’m ambitious enough to start saving for 2021 travel, as I plan to spend the ahem Milestone Birthday I will be having, overseas. But, I think saving for 2020 travel - which is largely travel to places we’re thinking of moving - will be all that I can manage.)


This is the year we pay off our debts, that amount of which is actually… Almost exactly 20% of our income. Slightly more than. Assuming you don’t count the portion of our solar debt which is going to be paid by the tax credit. I’m not going to count it because it makes for the debt amount so perfectly 20% that way…


I am in for this. I don’t even have a job at the moment, but I am just going to put out there that I will save 20%, and maybe even get close to that 20k saved, if I get the job that I have been interviewing for. Once my medical bills are paid off, my yearly expenses will be around 17-18k a year…so I feel like I could get close even with a 40kish a year job.


I’m going to double dip for both challenges.


I’m in. This will force me to take a good look at our finances since I don’t know how much we are currently saving.

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I’m going to attempt both challenges initially too :slight_smile:


I’m in - since our household savings is over 20% normally, I’m going to max out my 401k in 2020.

Just need to figure out when to send the paperwork to make it so. If I send the paperwork now I’d have to retool my net savings calculator at home. Maybe if I get time to do that this weekend I’ll send the paperwork early and save extra in December too (even though it doesn’t count towards the challenge, it’ll be one less chore to deal with later).

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Excellent challenge! I am definitely in for this. I can’t make $20K happen, but 20% should be easy(ish), since I’m already sinking 15% into my 401K.

My base pay is around $42K, but I do typically work some overtime, so let’s say $45K. 20% of that is $9,000, but I’d like to save more than that, so I’m giving myself a goal of saving $11,250 (25%) for 2020.


I’m in!


I’m in, but I’m scared, haha. 2020 will be a year of figuring things out for us – my husband just started a new job and hasn’t had any paychecks yet, and this will be my first year working freelance and filing all those associated taxes. This will be a good challenge but a challenge!