Start saving 20% of your income

money essentials 2 saving

When it comes to saving, aim at socking away 20% of your income, suggested Tana Gildea, a certified financial planner and author of The Graduate's Guide to Money.

Half should go into what she called a "short-term freedom fund" and the rest is for long-term goals and retirement. The freedom fund will make unexpected expenses manageable.

"If you can consistently set your life to be able to save 20% in total, you are getting a firm foundation for your financial security," said Gildea.

If 20% feels like too much, start out small, but increase the amount every year.

First published November 21, 2018: 3:41 PM ET

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