How Long It’ll Take the Stock Market to Turn Your Savings Into $1 Million

How Long It’ll Take The Stock Market To Turn Your Savings Into $1 Million

Having $1 million in an account with your name on it is a pretty amazing accomplishment, but for most of us, working hard and saving isn’t enough to pull it off. We need to invest our money to help it grow quicker.

The time it takes to grow your investments to $1 million depends on several factors, including how much you contribute and your rate of return. Let’s look at how these things work together.

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How much will your investments be worth in the future?

When you invest in a stock, the greater your earnings, the less of your own money you have to set aside to reach $1 million. Here’s how long it would take to reach that goal if you saved $500 a month at varying rates of return. Answers are rounded up to the nearest full year.

Average Annual Return

Years to $1 Million, Saving $500 a Month

6%

41 years

8%

35 years

10%

30 years

Source: Calculations by author.

As you can see, there’s a lot of variation in how long it will take you to reach your goal, and you don’t have complete control over this. You can choose what you invest in, but you don’t know how those investments will perform over time.

While you can count on some investment earnings to help you grow your wealth, it’s better to focus on what you can control — the amount you invest — if you want to reach your savings goal faster. The following table shows how altering your monthly investment amount changes how quickly you reach $1 million, if you average an 8% annual return. As before, all answers are rounded up to the nearest full year.

Monthly Contribution

Years to $1 Million With an 8% Average Annual Return

$100

55 years

$250

43 years

$500

35 years

$1,000

26 years

$1,500

22 years

Source: Calculations by author.

With more money in your account, you can purchase more shares of a stock, and more shares lead to more earnings when the stock does well.

It might not be easy for you to bump up your contributions to your investment account, but this is a surer way to reach your savings goal than banking on a higher rate of return. If you’re not able to save as much as you’d like right now, just set aside as much as you can and try to boost your annual contributions by 1% of your income each year. If you make $50,000 per year, that’s just an extra $500, or about $42 per month.

What if $1 million isn’t enough?

Reaching the $1 million milestone is a huge accomplishment, but it might not be enough to last you the rest of your life. You should work out your own retirement savings target to aim for.

The information above is still useful even if you need more than $1 million for retirement. By increasing your personal contributions and prioritizing your investments at every age, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving your goal over the long term.

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