The Beginner’s Guide to Investing

Here's exactly how much money you'll have in retirement if you save $500 a month

Are you on track to have enough money in retirement? Even if you're decades away, experts recommend that you start saving, and investing those savings, as early as you can.

That's because, the more time your money has to work for you, the more time it has to grow. Compound interest allows any interest earned to then accrue interest on itself so, over time, a small amount of money invested earlier will earn more than a large amount of money invested later.

CNBC calculated how much you'd have by age 67 if you put away $500 a month starting at various ages.

If you start saving at age 25

With a 4 percent rate of return: $628,918
With a 6 percent rate of return: $1,055,703
With an 8 percent rate of return: $1,825,461

If you start saving at age 30

With a 4 percent rate of return: $490,213
With a 6 percent rate of return: $763,609
With an 8 percent rate of return: $1,218,422

If you start saving at age 40

With a 4 percent rate of return: $282,505
With a 6 percent rate of return: $382,235
With an 8 percent rate of return: $524,105

If you start saving at age 50

With a 4 percent rate of return: $142,185
With a 6 percent rate of return: $169,277
With an 8 percent rate of return: $202,501

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. Also, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars a month is an ambitious goal, more than most Americans can manage.

Still, getting into the habit of regularly saving any amount will be great for you in the long run.

Here are a few simple, low-stress ways to get started:

  • 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, a tax-advantaged individual retirement account
  • 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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