Most of us want to achieve some level of wealth in our lifetime. One of the most common milestones that people throw around is becoming a millionaire by 40 (or retiring for the ultra-ambitious). However, BIG MEDIA continuously claims that millennials (and people in general) are not saving or investing for retirement. Instead, they are supposedly spending all of their money on traveling and experiences. That might be true. Maybe millennials think they’re going to live forever and be able to work forever so they might as well enjoy life while they’re young and worry about saving and investing later. I guess they never heard of a little thing called ageism in the workplace.
But what is the cost of the “I’ll save later” mindset and approach? Sure, blowing all of your income and saving jack shit will be fun while you’re young, but what happens when you finally have a family or someone other than your 22-year-old self to think about?
With that in mind, I wanted to look into the actual impact of what would happen if you set a goal to be a millionaire by 40 and started saving and investing (through robo-advisors places like Acorns and Wealthfront) at 22 instead of waiting ten years and doing it at 32.
At 32, you’re still very young and you will probably be earning a lot more money than you were at 22, but as you’ll see below if you do have goals of becoming a millionaire by 40, you have a steep climb if you wait till your 30s to start your journey.
Before we get to the charts, please know I completely understand that saving this much per month might not be possible for everyone, especially people who just graduated and aren’t living at home with mom and dad.
This is simply what it would take to become a millionaire by 40.
[Note: These numbers assume that you invested in a low cost index fund at an average annual rate-of-return of 7%]
How much you’ll need to invest per month at 22 to be a millionaire by 40.
How much you’ll need to invest per month at 32 to be a millionaire by 40.
Waiting till you’re in your 30s to save and invest might not ensure that you will be working forever — hell, you may invent a billion dollar app or inherit a fortune — but it will put most people at a severe disadvantage. Even if you can’t afford to save $2,300 a month at 22 (I mean, not many people can), even investing $500 will start you on a better path than forgoing investing altogether. Then once you start making more money, you can try and catch up to that 40-year-old goal.
Chart data gathered using investing calculator at DaveRamsey.com