The sooner you start saving and investing, the better off you'll be.
In a perfect world, you'll start putting your money to work in your 20s in order to reap the full benefits of compound interest. That said, even if you don't get started until you hit 30, it's still more than possible to build a million-dollar portfolio by the time you're ready to stop working.
To illustrate how attainable that goal is, personal finance site NerdWallet created a chart showing the percentage of each biweekly paycheck you'd need to set aside to have $1 million saved by the time you're 67.
The chart assumes you're starting at age 30 with zero dollars invested. It also assumes a six percent average annual investment return and various annual salaries.
Scroll over the chart to see the exact numbers.
Here's how much a 30-year old would have to set aside if she earns:
$40,000: 18.3 percent of each paycheck
$60,000: 12.2 percent of each paycheck
$80,000: 9.2 percent of each paycheck
$100,000: 7.3 percent of each paycheck
$120,000: 6.1 percent of each paycheck
"We see that the higher earners have to put away a smaller percentage of their paychecks to build a million dollars, but it's important to note that when you consider how much you need to save for retirement, a higher earner typically needs a bigger nest egg," Arielle O'Shea, investing and retirement specialist at NerdWallet, tells CNBC Make It.
"That's because he or she is going to want to maintain that higher standard of living, and Social Security will replace less of his or her income."
O'Shea also notes that "the general rule of thumb is to aim to save between 10 percent and 15 percent of your income for retirement — that means the examples here earning $80,000 or more should actually be working to boost their savings rate."
How much you need for your golden years depends heavily on what you want your lifestyle to look like. Do you plan on traveling a lot, or on buying a vacation home? Do you want to gift money to family members?
For more of a personalized savings target, check out NerdWallet's retirement calculator.
Once you have a specific goal in mind, start building your nest egg. For inspiration, check out:
- How to save for retirement without going broke
- New study says save at least 11% of your income for retirement—here are 5 ways to do that
- 8 things to give up to retire by 40, from real people who have done it
Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook.