Terrible saver – need advice : personalfinance


I’m a terrible saver and haven’t realized the importance of responsible financial decision making until just recently. I’m a single 35/M with a college degree and a low 6 figure job. I should be in a stable financial situation given the amount of years I’ve had a stable job and reasonable rent, however, I find myself with no savings (no emergency fund) and limited 401K savings.

This situation has given me a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights because of the find myself in, as well as the realization of the money that could’ve been banked over the years (I should have upwards of $70,000 saved). I live in NYC, so things aren’t cheap, but I’ve also made some horrific financial decisions…throwing away money on unhealthy habits such as cigarettes, excessive amounts of dinners out, compulsive gambling (I lost $9,000 in a span of 3 months from sports gambling), ill-advised investments, in which I did not have patience to stick with some stocks that immediately soared after I sold (I needed the cash to pay off gambling debt)

The Bad news

-$0 savings

-no emergency fund

-limited 401K savings

-age (35)

-reckless spending habits (particularly with food; I eat out all the time)

The good news:

-0 credit card debt or student loans. perfect credit score

-I quit gambling

-recently began contributing 20% of my salary to 401K. My 401K savings is roughly $32,000 (recognize I should have double my salary at this age, so I’m considerably off pace)

-with my salary and rent, as well as disciplined spending month to month with the budget I’ve crafted, I can save roughly $1,800 a month – estimated savings per year accounting for vacations, etc. ($17,000 a year)

-solid standing at work with opportunity to increase salary over next 12 months

Any advice you can provide would be extremely helpful. I recognize poor financial decisions have left me in this position and I hold myself accountable, however, is it too late to get back on track to not only build a solid retirement fund by the time I’m 65, but also accumulate enough funds within next 8-10 years to comfortably to save for an emergency fund, as well as additional funds to purchase property (I know I’m very off given my current situation). Thanks in advance.



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