The BEST Index measures the income a working adult requires to meet his or her basic
needs—without public or private assistance.
The BEST also includes basic savings that promote long-term and intergenerational
economic security. BEST budgets include monthly emergency savings, which protects
families from unforeseen expenses, and retirement savings, which helps workers achieve
economic security incomes in retirement. Two optional savings types—savings
for children’s higher education and homeownership—are presented as additions to
the core BEST budget.
Each BEST Index component is a conservative estimate of need, and the BEST does
not include any “extras” such as vacations, entertainment, electronics, gifts or
meals out. As a result, those living below an economically secure income may go
without, make difficult choices among basic needs, or forgo economic security by
not fully developing savings.