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 have suffered financial setbacks due to emergencies. We get it! Even providing the basics for a family can be expensive!
But that doesn’t mean you can’t save money for a comfortable future.
A Surprising Formula for Success
Typically, we talk about investing in percentages: we recommend contributing 15% of your gross income into tax-advantaged retirement accounts—like a 401(k) or an IRA—so you can retire comfortably. Everyone’s 15% is different and may be big or small depending on your salary.
But 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 daily super-sized lattes?
Let’s see what kind of future $35 a week could afford you if you invested that money in good growth stock mutual funds. That $35 a week would be 15% of a $12,000 salary. You may be making more than that right now, but stay with us. With a 10–12% rate of return, here’s what you could have:
- In 20 years, you could retire with $110,000 to $150,000.
- In 30 years, you could retire with $330,000 to $490,000.
- In 40 years, you could retire with $890,000 to $1.5 million!
Keep in mind that this example doesn’t figure in annual pay raises. You’re likely not stuck at today’s income forever. Imagine how your nest egg could look if you increase your contributions as your income grows!
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 $290,000 after 20 years and $660,000 to $980,000 after 30 years. You could almost hit that $1 million mark by working a little more.
- 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 $200,000–270,000 if you continue to contribute 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.
Make the Most of Your Nest Egg
Now that you know the difference $35 a week can make on your future, let’s talk about how to get the most bang for your investing buck.
- Clear your financial plate. You should be debt-free (except for your home) with a fully funded emergency fund before setting anything aside for retirement. Killing your debt is the only way to free up your biggest wealth-building tool—your income!
- Choose wisely. Put your money in good growth stock mutual funds with a long history of above-average returns. We recommend spreading your investment dollars evenly across four mutual fund categories: growth, growth and income, aggressive growth and international.
- Stick with 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! Consider it off-limits until you retire, and don’t let a temporary downturn in the market scare you into making a poor decision that could hurt you in the long term.
Talk With an Investing Professional
You don’t have to bring in big bucks to win with money! And regardless of whether your income is large or small, talking to a professional 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.
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