If you are going to invest through a company 401(k) retirement plan and your employer offers a matching contribution, invest at least enough to meet the matching threshold. And do it as a percent of salary so that any raises automatically increase your savings amount before you get used to spending them.
If you are investing in an account funded with after tax dollars, I recommend a percentage that is just past your threshhold of financial pain. If for example, you make up a budget and allot 5% of salary to investing and everything else is provided for, set aside 8-10% of salary. If you are willing to make sacrifices to have money to invest, you are an investor. If not, you are not really serious about investing. And by doing this, you will also take the use of your invested funds much more serioulsy.
That may sound harsh, but that's my opinion from experience.
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