With a 4 percent rate of return: $834.86 per month
With a 6 percent rate of return: $483.08 per month
With an 8 percent rate of return: $251.80 per month
The average annualized total return for the S&P 500 index is more than 9 percent. But it's important to keep in mind that these calculations don't account for the many variables that can affect wealth over several decades, including windfalls, emergencies and rises or dips in the market.
Of course, saving hundreds or thousands a month is an ambitious goal, and more than most Americans can manage. But getting into the habit of saving 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, an individual retirement account that offers 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
I just invested my first $7,000 at age 26—here's where I decided to put it
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