Most of us need to do a better job of saving and investing for retirement. A 2021 survey from the Insured Retirement Institute found that 51% of older folks have saved less than $50,000 for retirement, and 57% are saving less than 10% of their income. That's far from enough, so it's no surprise that only 44% reported feeling confident that they'd have enough income throughout their retirement.
Fortunately, even if you're way behind in your goals for saving and investing, there are ways to significantly improve your financial condition, such as aiming to double your portfolio as often as you can. Here are several ways to do that.
1. The power of compounding
Putting the power of compounding to work can definitely double your money, and the higher your growth rate, the faster it will happen.
For context, know that the overall stock market has grown at an average annual rate of close to 10% over long periods. Over your investing period, which might be 10 or 30 years, the average return could be higher — or lower.
Let's assume a somewhat conservative annual growth rate of 8%. This table shows how your money can compound and grow at that rate over time:
Over This Period:
At an 8% Annual Growth Rate, $1,000 Will Grow to:
You can see that it more than doubles in a decade, and it takes about 10 years or less for it to double again and again. A handy way to see how long it will take to double your money is by using the Rule of 72, which says that if you divide 72 by your growth rate, you'll get the number of years it will take to double your money — and vice versa.
It's fairly accurate, except at the extremes. Check it out:
Years to Double
Years to Double
2. Saving aggressively
A solid growth rate alone isn't enough. Doubling a nest egg of $2,000 will get you to $4,000, but that's barely a beginning when we're talking about how much money you'll need for retirement. You'll also need to be socking away significant sums regularly.
This table shows what different results you'll get by investing different sums over time:
Growing at 8% for:
$5,000 Invested Annually
$10,000 Invested Annually
$15,000 Invested Annually
If you can regularly invest more than $15,000, you can do even better.
3. Investing aggressively
One way to try to double your money faster is to aim for a faster growth rate. This table shows what a difference the growth rate can make, reflecting $10,000 annual investments over time:
Growing at 5%
Growing at 10%
Growing at 15%
So how might you aim for a faster growth rate than the overall stock market can offer? Well, one promising route is via growth stocks, which are tied to companies that are growing their revenue and earnings at a faster-than-average rate.
Growth stocks can be riskier and more volatile than average stocks, so you should approach them not only with excitement but also some caution. They're often trading at somewhat or very steep levels, too. So read up on growth investing, and study your candidates well. You might also follow our Motley Fool investing philosophy, which suggests buying 25 or more stocks while aiming to hold them for at least five years. The aim is to give you a decent chance of having one or more extraordinary performers and having your winners more than make up for your losers.
It's arguably best not to go all-in on growth stocks, forswearing all others. Strong, steady growers, including dividend-paying stocks, can also serve your portfolio very well.
However you go about it, it's worth aiming to double your portfolio's value, and then double it again and again as much as you can before retiring.
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