We can talk about saving to reach a large amount until we're blue in the face, but there is something else that is probably the first step in our process.
It is imperative that we have enough money set aside for emergencies. This is even more crucial for families, and the most important if the household is dependent on 1 income.
A layoff, injury, firing, can crimp income in such a way that mortgages and other bills can't be paid. That is why we suggest people set aside enough money to last at least 6 months. Setting aside enough money to cover a whole year worth of mortgage/utilities/grocery costs is even better.
So when you are starting your financial planning to get to the place you need to be, don't forget the first step. Set aside cash in an account that you won't touch unless it is an emergency. I often suggest opening a savings account at a bank far from your house, so you don't get in the habit of touching the money. Other options include saving to a taxable brokerage account that is in very liquid, investments. This can provide a return on the money, which can negate the effects of inflation.
So calculate what you spend per month on mortgage, utilities, and groceries, (and other essential expenses) and multiply it by 6 months. That is how much you should set aside, at a minimum. If you feel ambitious, multiply by 9 months or 12 months.
So what are you waiting for. Start saving from your paycheck to that Emergency Fund. Once is is full, you can plan higher earning accounts/methods.
Founder of a fee-only, ethical investing firm. We specialize in assisting millennials tired of traditional financial advisers.