How much to save each month to have $1 million in retirement

|
How much to save each month to have $1 million in retirement
Image Credit: Dreamstime
Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
Advertisement

A 20-year-old worker who saves just $10 a day for the rest of their working lifetime will have $1 million at retirement. Amazing, isn’t it? That’s thanks to the magic of compounding.

But just because you’re getting a later start at saving, it doesn’t mean you can’t sock away seven figures of retirement income! You’ve just got to have a plan and know exactly how much to save each month…

Read more: Clark’s investment guide

Save early and often!

Years ago, we popped a chart on Clark.com that showed how a 15-year-old teenager could save just $2,000 a year for seven years. And then, never saving another penny again, the money would grow to be $1,000,000 at 65 thanks to the compounding effect.

It sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. This MarketWatch story came to the same conclusion using different numbers.

Now we have additional confirmation of these seemingly incredible financial feats!

This chart below uses the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data on median pre-tax earnings from late 2016 to show how much you’d have to save each month to retire a millionaire.

The first assumption is that you’d save the same amount each month without fail through age 63. The second assumption is your portfolio grows each year by 7% on average — a rate of return that’s well within historical norms.

Millionaire retirement chart
Courtesy of Motley Fool

The point is the earlier you start, the easier it is. But it’s never hopeless at any age. If you’re getting a late start, it just means you may have to delay your retirement.

One key to making the math work is to delay taking Social Security as long as you can. If possible, don’t jump at the opportunity to take it at 62 like most people do. Working until 70 and taking Social Security at that age too is a great formula for success.

Maybe you don’t care about retirement, in which case saving money never becomes something you’re about. But if the goal is financial independence, you should start young and save every day.

What do most millionaires have in common?

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about millionaires. In reality, there are two factors that many millionaires (defined as having investable assets of $1 million or more) have in common: They tend to be highly educated and have earned their wealth rather than inheriting it.

Those revelations are courtesy of a study from BMO Financial Group, a private wealth bank. BMO wanted to know their customers so they surveyed people with investable wealth of several million dollars in Florida. (The Sunshine State typically has the most wealthy individuals per state because there is no personal income tax in Florida.)

So what percent of millionaires with investable wealth inherited their wealth? Just 3%.

What percent didn’t go to college or dropped out, like the stereotype of the techno-geek who can’t cope with school and strikes out on his own to make millions? Just 8%. In fact, people with advanced degrees make up 54% of those who become independently wealthy.

There are always exceptions, the people who follow their own drummer. But for most, education is the starting point and then having the vision to fulfill your own destiny as an entrepreneur is the logical path to millionaire status.

Read more: How to save $5,000 this year with the 52-week money challenge

The steps one man took to retire at 33

Advertisement
Theo Thimou About the author: Theo Thimou
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
View More Articles
  • Show Comments Hide Comments