Despite mounting student loan, credit card, and other debt, millennials are optimistic about their financial future.
TD Ameritrade released a survey in June that found 53 percent of millennials believe they will become millionaires in their lifetime, with 23 percent expecting to reach $1 million by age 50. Nearly 20 percent believe they will get to that threshold by 40 years old, and 7 percent expect to be there by 30.
These expectations may sound lofty, but becoming a millionaire doesn’t have to be a far-fetched concept. With the power of saving and investing, you could even do it in the next 15 years, starting from scratch – if you commit to saving far more each month than the average American. What would that look like?
To do so from zero savings, you would need to put aside $4,075 per month at a 4 percent rate of return; it would take $3,500 per month at a 6 percent rate. At an 8 percent rate of return, you would need to save $2,945 per month to get to $1 million in 15 years.
Of course, it helps to have existing savings. If you had $10,000 in the bank, you could make it happen on $4,000 per month at a 4 percent rate of return, $3,375 per month at 6 percent, and $2,850 per month at 8 percent. With $20,000 in existing savings, it would take $3,930, $3,325, or $2,775 per month at a 4 percent, 6 percent, and 8 percent rate of return, respectively.
It’s never too late to begin saving and investing. JJ Kinahan, the chief strategist for TD Ameritrade, recommends new investors start by learning the numbers – finding out how much you can contribute per year in a 401(k) or Roth IRA, then determining how much you can contribute relative to your salary and monthly expenses. He also recommends that any windfalls (like bonuses or tax refunds) be set aside rather than used to splurge.
Neophyte investors can use micro-investing apps like Acorns to start, or, at the recommendation of no less authority than Warren Buffett, research low-cost index funds to get in the game. You can also get investment ideas for free from Artificial Intelligence on tickeron.com.
No market is without fluctuations, making it impossible to guarantee the rates of return calculated here. Markets may exceed expectations for a time, then dip – it is also likely that life throws an occasional curveball, necessitating an emergency dip into savings. Regardless of the variables, saving and investing earlier allows investments the longest possible time to compound and weather the ups and downs of life and markets. Setting aside any amount of money per month is a great habit, with tangible long-term benefits. And who knows – with the right set of circumstances, you could even become a millionaire in 15 years.
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