Getting rich doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and a well-executed plan to become a millionaire and much more. In fact, you don’t even need that much money to make money. You simply need to make good decisions and have good judgment about anything and everything concerning your finances.
If you want to get rich, start investing — and start as early as you possibly can.
“Becoming rich is nothing more than a matter of committing and sticking to a systematic savings and investment plan,” financial adviser David Bach writes in his book “Smart Couples Finish Rich.”
“You don’t need to have money to make money,” he writes. “You just need to make the right decisions — and act on them.”
To illustrate the simplicity of building wealth over time, Bach created a chart (which we re-created below) detailing how much money you need to set aside each day, month, or year in order to have $1 million saved by the time you’re 65.
The chart assumes you’re starting with zero dollars invested. It also assumes a 12% annual return.
Start Saving Early
The younger you start investing, the more money you can accumulate by the age of 65. For example, if you start at the age of 20, saving $2 per day will net you $1,000,000 by the time you hit 65. If you start 5 years later, you’ll have to save $3.57 to hit your retirement mark. What is great about starting to save early is that the amount you set aside isn’t big enough to affect your lifestyle.
Find Steady Growth Investments
The best starting point is to invest in an employer-sponsored 401K plan. These plans are virtually risk-free and can grow your money faster than traditional investment vehicles and savings accounts. In addition, contribute a portion of your monthly income to a Roth IRA or traditional IRA. Be sure to understand the different contribution limits as well as the tax treatment for these investments.
Start a Business
There is no faster or more self-gratifying way to build wealth than to solve a problem and start your own business. It could be an existing hobby that you could turn into a business, or an entirely new market you can create. Regardless, make sure you’re offering something valuable and unique.
Becoming a millionaire by age 65 isn’t an impossible feat for low-income and middle-class families who are living off paycheck to paycheck every month. With solid financial footing, ironclad discipline, and an effective long-term plan, you can make $1,000,000 or even surpass it by the time you’re ready to retire.
The simplest starting point is to invest in your employer’s 401(k) plan, points out Ramit Sethi in his New York Times best-seller, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.” Next, he says, consider contributing money toward a Roth IRA or traditional IRA, individual retirement accounts with different contribution limits and tax structures.
While the numbers in the chart below are not exact (for simplicity, it does not take into account the impact of taxes, and 12% is a high rate of return), they give you a good idea of how coming up with a couple of extra dollars each day can make an enormous difference in the long run, particularly if you start saving at a young age.
Next time you consider running to Starbucks for a $4 latté, think about this chart and consider redirecting that coffee cash to your savings: