The BEST Index measures the income a working adult requires to meet his or her basic needs.
Each BEST Index component is a conservative estimate of need; 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 be forced to go without, make difficult choices among basic needs or forgo economic security by not fully developing savings.
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 Elder Index 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.