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Retire a Millionaire on Just $35 a Week

Not everyone has a big cushy salary. Plenty of folks out there work hard just to make minimum wage. Or maybe you make a decent salary but you’ve suffered financial setbacks because of emergencies. Even just providing the basics for your family can be expensive. We get it!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t save money for a comfortable future. Retiring a millionaire may seem like an impossible fantasy, but it’s actually more doable than you think. In fact, you can retire a millionaire on just $35 a week! We’ll show you how you can do it with one surprisingly easy formula for success:

How to Retire a Millionaire With $35 a Week 

Typically, we talk about investing in percentages. We recommend contributing 15% of your gross income to a tax-advantaged retirement account. But everyone’s 15% looks different depending on their salary.

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So, what if we broke it down into a number that’s easy for you to relate to—a figure that could easily cover a dinner out or a week’s worth of lattes. Let’s see what kind of future $35 a week could give you if you invested that money in good growth stock mutual funds. With a 10–12% rate of return, here’s what you could have:

  • In 20 years, you could retire with $115,000 to $150,000.
  • In 30 years, you could retire with $343,000 to $530,000.
  • In 40 years, you could retire with $960,000 to $1.7 million!

And think, $35 a week is 15% of a $12,000 salary. You may already be making more than that right now. But even if you’re not, $35 isn’t that big of a sacrifice. Seriously—it’s just $5 a day!

Don’t Have 40 Years to Invest? 

That’s okay! It just means you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and give it everything you’ve got in the time you do have. Here are some ideas to take your retirement savings to the next level.

  • Pick up the pace. Supercharge your retirement savings by bringing home a little extra bacon and rolling it into your nest egg. If you doubled down and contributed $70 a week, you could retire with $230,000 to $300,000 after 20 years and $684,000 to $1,058,974 after 30 years. You could almost hit that $1 million mark by working a little more or picking up some side hustles.
  • Work a few extra years. There’s no rule that says you have to retire at 65. If you’re 45 years old, adding five more years to your timeline could boost your savings to $200,000–285,000 if you keep contributing just $35 a week.
  • Pay off your mortgage. This is a big goal, but think about how much further your money could go without a mortgage hanging over your head! It might mean sacrificing a bigger home or being more frugal with vacations, but the payoff will be worth it in the long term.

5 Key Steps to Retire a Millionaire

1. Start saving ASAP (or as soon as you’re debt-free).  

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start investing, the harder your money is going to work for you. But it’s important to note: You shouldn’t invest anything if you’re still in debt. You’re not truly earning wealth if you still owe money to someone else.

As soon as you’re debt-free, start saving money for retirement—whether you’re 15 or 50 years old.

2. Invest at least 15% in a tax-advantaged account.

It’s not just about investing. It’s about choosing the right type of retirement account to park your money in. Think of it like the difference between parking your car in a high-security garage versus parking it on a busy street full of reckless drivers. One is a smart move, the other is a gamble.

If you have an employer-sponsored retirement account—like a 401(k) or a 403(b)—take advantage of it, especially if your company offers a match. That’s free money!

And there’s a reason we say at least 15%. Imagine how much your nest egg could grow if you increase your contributions as your income increases. You could retire a millionaire a lot faster if you throw more money into these accounts sooner.

3. Add to your investing portfolio. 

While the 401(k) is a great place to start, it may not be enough for retirement on its own. But have no fear—the IRA (Individual Retirement Arrangement) is here!

The IRA is a retirement savings account you can open by yourself (without an employer). Now, there are different types of IRAs, but we love the Roth IRA because it grows tax-free. That means when it’s time for you to retire, you get to keep all of the money in it. Yep, that’s right—you don’t have to share it with Uncle Sam.

The Roth IRA also lets you choose from thousands of mutual funds to invest in so you can diversify your portfolio—that’s fancy talk for spreading your money into different types of investments. We recommend splitting your investment dollars evenly across four categories: growth, growth and income, aggressive growth and international. 

4. Don’t touch it. 

The secret to retiring a millionaire is to invest early and often and then leave it alone. Seriously, don’t touch it! Your retirement fund is not a short-term investment. It’s likely the only money you’ll have when you leave the workforce—so be careful with it! (Psst—if you’re thinking Social Security will be there for you, it won’t.)

Consider your retirement money off-limits until you retire and not a day before. And don’t let a temporary downturn in the market scare you into making a poor decision that could hurt you in the long run (like cashing out your retirement account to buy a pontoon boat—trust us, the tax penalty alone will put a dent in your retirement dreams).

5. Talk with an investing professional. 

You don’t have to bring in big bucks to win with money, but you do need to know what you’re doing. No matter what your income looks like, talking to an investing expert can make a huge difference in reaching your retirement goals.

So sit down with an investing pro and look at your options. A pro will explain their recommendations in terms you can understand so you can decide how to invest your hard-earned dollars.

Don’t know where to start? Find investing professionals in your area.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

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