If you start saving and investing early on, becoming a millionaire might not be as hard as you think.
While you'd need to sock away a whopping $6,000 per month to hit that milestone in 10 years, that amount drops by a lot if you aim further into the future. We used CNN Money's helpful millionaire calculator to estimate how much you'll need to put away each month to become a millionaire in 30 years.
If you're starting from scratch with zero savings and earning a 6 percent rate of return, you need to save $1,000 a month to become a millionaire by May 2048.
Now, let's say you already have some money put away. If you already have $10,000 saved up, you'll need to put away $950 per month to become a millionaire by March 2048. And if you already have $50,000 in savings, you need to contribute $700 per month to become a millionaire by May 2048.
As it turns out, getting to seven figures may be doable. The average millennial has $670 extra per month after all expenses are accounted for, according to personal finance site NerdWallet. If that's invested with an 8 percent rate of return, it's enough to make you a millionaire in around 31 years.
Bear in mind that these calculations don't account for the many variables that can affect your wealth over several decades, including windfalls, emergencies and rises or dips in the market. Still, they can give you a good idea as to whether or not you're saving enough to retire comfortably.
And, of course, saving hundreds or thousands a month is an ambitious goal. Even saving $2,000 a year is more than most Americans can manage. But getting into the habit of socking away any amount will be great for you in the long run.
Here are a few simple, low-stress ways to start investing:
- Sign up for your employer's 401(k) plan and take full advantage of any company match, which essentially gives you free money
- Contribute to a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, which are both individual retirement accounts that offer tax breaks
- Use micro-investing apps such as Acorns, which help you begin by investing small amounts of what it calls your "spare change." The app rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically puts your coins to work
- Try other apps that aim to make investing simple
- Consider automated investing services known as robo-advisors that can help you out no matter how much you have in the bank
- Research low-cost index funds, which Warren Buffett recommends
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