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Advice

Here's how much money you should have saved by age 30

Planning for retirement starts early. Using analysis by Fidelity, CNBC Select explains what your savings should look like by the time you're 30 so that you get a good head start.

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Editor's Note: APYs listed in this article are up-to-date as of the time of publication. They may fluctuate (up or down) as the Fed rate changes. CNBC will update as changes are made public.

In your 20s, you're focused on establishing a career post-college, perhaps moving to a new city and renting your first apartment. Because you're just entering the workforce, it's natural that these years aren't your most lucrative.

But even then, building some type of savings for the long term should be a main priority. While retirement seems like a far away thought, the truth is that the earlier you start putting money toward your future, the more time it has to grow.

In fact, retirement-plan provider Fidelity Investments says that to retire by age 67, you should have saved 1 times your income — or the equivalent of your annual salary — by the time you turn 30. This means that if you earn $40,508 per year (the average yearly earnings of a 20- to 34-year-old according to Q2 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), you should have $40,508 saved by your 30th birthday.

This five-figure sum might seem like a lot, but remember it's not just counting just cash stashed away in a savings account. Fidelity's savings guidelines includes the money you have in a retirement account, like a 401(k) or Roth IRA, company matches and your investments in index funds or through robo-advisers.

How to get started saving

If you read this and feel behind, don't get discouraged. You're certainly not alone if you haven't saved your annual salary by age 30. According to a 2019 TD Ameritrade survey, 66% of millennials (ages 23 to 38) said they need to catch up on their retirement savings.

The bright side is that, no matter how little cash you have to store away, any bit helps and you don't need much to get started. Some of the best high-yield savings accounts even allow new account holders to sign up with no minimum deposits or balance requirements in order to start earning interest.

Consider an account that offers a yield greater than the national average savings rate (currently 0.05%) and comes with zero monthly fees.

The Varo Savings Account gives all savers a 0.81% annual percentage yield (APY) with the option to earn up to 2.80% APY if they meet certain monthly requirements. This mobile/online savings account also offers ATM cards for easy withdrawals if users sign up for a Varo checking account.

Varo Savings Account

Varo Savings Account
Information about the Varo Savings Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Bank Account Services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC.
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.81% (with option to earn up to 2.80% if meet requirements)

  • Minimum balance

    None

  • Monthly fee

    None

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit is waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D

  • Excessive transactions fee

    None

  • Overdraft fees

    None up to $50; anything greater, Varo would decline the transaction

  • Offer checking account?

    Yes

  • Offer ATM card?

    Yes, if have a Varo checking account

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • High APY and option to earn even higher
  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly fees
  • Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle*
  • No penalty for overdrafts up to $50 (anything greater, Varo declines the transaction)
  • Option to add a checking account
  • ATM access if you have a checking account
  • Offers 2 programs to help automate your savings

Cons

  • Overdrafts over $50 will cause transactions to be declined
  • Cash deposits are only available through third-party services, which may charge a fee

For a slightly higher return on your money without having to meet specific thresholds, the Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account is a good option. Just note that you have to make a deposit of $100 to open an account, and you'll want to opt for paperless statements so you get out of paying the $5 monthly fee.

Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account

Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account
Information about the Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Vio Bank is a division of MidFirst Bank, Member FDIC.
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.76%

  • Minimum balance

    $100 to open

  • Monthly fee

    None, if you opt for paperless statements (otherwise, $5 per month)

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit is waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D

  • Excessive transactions fee

    $10 per transaction

  • Overdraft fees

    N/A

  • Offer checking account?

    No

  • Offer ATM card?

    No

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Strong APY
  • No monthly fees, if you opt for paperless billing
  • Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle*
  • Easy-to-use mobile banking app

Cons

  • $100 minimum balance to open account
  • $5 monthly maintenance fee, if you don't opt for paperless billing
  • $10 fee per transaction if you make more than 6 in a statement cycle
  • No option to add a checking account
  • No ATM access

Learn more:

Ex-Wall Street titan Sallie Krawcheck shares the No. 1 recommended savings habit for people in their 20s

6 smart money moves to make in your 20s that can help you save money

The 5 common credit mistakes you should avoid in your 20s

Information about the Varo Savings Account and Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. 

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.