How Much Do You Have to Save per Month to Become a Millionaire by 2050?

While $1 million may not have the buying power it used to, many of us still consider a seven-figure nest egg to be a marker of considerable wealth. It can seem nearly impossible to save that much, especially if you only earn a modest salary, but investing can get you there faster than you think. To prove that point, let’s look at how much you’d have to invest to become a millionaire by 2050.

How to become a millionaire in 28 years

There are a few key factors that affect how much you’d need to save per month to become a millionaire by 2050. The first is how much you’ve already saved. Someone with $50,000 in the bank will have a much easier job than someone without any savings, but both can still get there.

Image source: Getty Images.

The other key factor is how quickly your investments grow. You can influence this by choosing your investments carefully. Stocks offer higher earning potential than bonds, but they’re also more volatile, so if you invest heavily in them, you face a greater risk of loss. This isn’t a big deal when you’re young and have decades until you plan to use your savings. But older adults nearing retirement will want to be more conservative.

No matter how you invest, though, you can’t control the kind of return you’ll get. Some years you might lose money and others you might see returns in excess of 10%. Because of this unpredictability, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution when deciding how much to invest each month.

The table below shows how the two above factors interact with one another to affect how much you’d need to save per month to become a millionaire by 2050.

Initial Savings Amount

6% Average Annual Rate of Return

8% Average Annual Rate of Return

10% Average Annual Rate of Return

$0

$1,179 per month

$839 per month

$590 per month

$1,000

$1,173 per month

$831 per month

$581 per month

$5,000

$1,148 per month

$803 per month

$547 per month

$10,000

$1,118 per month

$766 per month

$505 per month

$25,000

$1,028 per month

$658 per month

$377 per month

$50,000

$877 per month

$477 per month

$165 per month

$100,000

$576 per month

$116 per month

$0 per month

Data source: Author’s calculations.

As you can see, the path to $1 million by 2050 can look a lot different for each person. Worst-case scenario, you’d have to save about $1,179 per month, but if you have as little as $1,000 saved up already, you’ll see that savings target drop by $6. Saving $6 per month may not seem like that much, but over the course of 28 years, that adds up to over $2,000.

It’s also worth noting that if you’ve already saved $100,000, you may not have to contribute any more money to become a millionaire by 2050. With a 10% average annual rate of return, you’d end up with over $1.4 million without contributing another cent over the next 28 years. All you’d have to do is sit back and let the money you’ve already invested continue to grow.

But as I mentioned above, it’s risky to plan for a high rate of return to make up for a lack of personal contributions. If it doesn’t pan out, you could end up with a lot less than you expected. That’s why it’s best to contribute as if you were only going to earn a 6% average annual rate of return if you can afford to do so.

What if I can’t save as much as I need to?

The savings targets in the table above can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have much money saved up yet. But the good news is, you’re probably alright if you can’t hit these goals. There’s no reason you have to save $1 million by 2050. It’s up to you to decide on a retirement timeline that suits you.

If you don’t think you can save enough by 2050, push your timeline back a little until you find something that works. For example, if you don’t have any savings right now and you can’t afford to set aside $1,179 per month, maybe you aim to contribute $595 per month and become a millionaire by 2060 instead. That assumes a 6% average annual rate of return. If you earned more than this, you could get by saving even less.

You could also look for ways to bring in additional cash, like starting a side hustle or seeking out a better paying job.

When it comes to saving $1 million or more for retirement, there are a lot of right answers. You just have to find one that works for you. If you haven’t already done so, come up with a savings strategy you feel you can stick to. Then, check in with yourself at least once per year and adjust your plan if necessary to keep yourself on track.

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