December 24, 2018
Once upon a time, a million dollars was a lot of money.
And it still is. If you time it right, becoming a millionaire might be within reach for nearly anyone. There are some catches, however – you’ll have to stay focused, and time plays a significant role, so starting early is part of the millionaire game.
Time is important because you’ll use the leverage of compound interest to help build your nest egg. For example, let’s assume an average rate of return of 8% in a tax-deferred account, like an IRA or a 401(k). This 8% example is lower than the historical return for the S&P since its inception in 1928. Historically, the S&P has rewarded investors with about a 10% average annual return, including dividends.[i]
Then let’s assume your current savings are at zero. Let’s also assume that you can find $100 per month in your budget to invest. $100 per month is about $3 per day.
Starting your account with your first $100 and then contributing $100 per month (every month) will yield the following amounts, assuming that your account’s returns stay at the 8% average:
- After 10 years, you’ll have about $17,600\
- After 15 years, you’ll have about $33,000\
- After 20 years, you’ll have about $55,000
Uh oh. None of those numbers are even close to $1 million. To reach $1 million by saving $100 per month, you’ll need 55 years at the 8% rate of return, at which time your account would be worth approximately $1,025,599. (By the way, the account would grow by $75,000 from year 54 to year 55 since your compound growth would be based on a much bigger number.)
If you can step up your investment to $150 per month, you might be able to shave five years off your goal and reach $1 million in 50 years. At $200 per month, you might reach your goal in just over 45 years.[ii]
Looking at these numbers, ask yourself how much you can save each day. When you spend money now, it’s gone. It never has a chance to grow. By saving (and investing) instead of spending, you can help set yourself up for a comfortable future where you can afford the treats you’re skipping now so you can fund your savings.
At $15 per day – the price of dinner at a fast food restaurant – you could save $450 per month, enough to make you a millionaire in just over 35 years.
The market refers to the process of investing a consistent amount monthly, regardless of the price of shares, “dollar cost averaging”. Let time take care of the math through compounded returns. Just keep saving for your future consistently.
Market performance is based on many factors and cannot be predicted. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to promote any certain products, plans, or strategies for saving and/or investing that may be available to you. Before investing or enacting a savings or retirement strategy, seek the advice of a financial professional, accountant, and/or tax expert to discuss your options.