The Magical Age of 26

April 10th, 2008  |  Published in Retirement  |  3 Comments

If you are able to max out your 401(k) at $15,500 and your Roth IRA at $5,000 for only a single year anytime before you are the age of 26 and can earn 10% annually, the historical average rate of return, then you will end up with over $1 million by the time you are 67 even if you never contribute a single penny ever again. [Source: MotleyFool.com]

If you are over the age of 26, don’t fret, you can be as seasoned as 52 and still reach one million by 67 but it will take a lot more work. The article outlines an entire table detailing how many consecutive years of maxing out your funds it will take to reach $1 million by 67 and the numbers aren’t as daunting as you may think.

For 52 year olds starting with $0, you will have to contribute the maximum for 15 consecutive years in order to see $1M. The prospect for a 42 year old is much better, a mere six years of maximum contributions will get you there. If you’re 32, only two years of maximum contributions will get you to $1M by the time you are 67. After 52, unfortunately you can’t reach $1M through contributions and 10% growth… but if you’re 53 now and have zero contributions, you can at least depend on the fact that Social Security will still be solvent and you likely have a pension. Those two comforts will likely not exist for those folks in their 20s!

  

Responses

  1. Trent Hamm says:

    April 11th, 2008 at 6:05 am (#)

    The only problem is that $1 million in retirement for a 26 year old is far less money than $1 million in retirement for a 52 year old. Thank you, Mr. Inflation!

    Let’s say you’re going to retire when you’re 70 and inflation is 4%.

    For a 52 year old, that means retirement is 18 years off. $1 million on his retirement day is worth $493,628 in today’s dollars.

    For a 26 year old, that means retirement is 44 years off. $1 million on his retirement day is worth $178,047 in today’s dollars.

    Any 26 year old is going to need to save for multiple years to retire.

  2. retirehappy says:

    April 11th, 2008 at 2:08 pm (#)

    That is very true, inflation is vicious; the main thrust of this article was that $1M, which many consider an unattainable value (or at least difficult), is certainly within reach.

  3. jeff says:

    August 7th, 2008 at 6:50 am (#)

    Think you are missing the point retirehappy – what is “considered unattainable value or at least difficult” is retiring with the security that 1 million dollars of retirement buying power and security gets you. Adjusted for inflation that 26 year old will be poor in retirement very quickly. Poor analogies – we’re comparing apples to oranges here – it’s not helpful and is even misleading to 26 year old that you just told to max out for one year and they’ll be millionaires. You are dangerous.