Still want to be a millionaire, but think you are no longer young enough to achieve it? This is the second part of a 2-part article on how we are able to achieve $1 million. In our earlier article, we had shared how someone in their 20s is able to achieve $1 million in 20 to 40 years. In this second part, we will focus on how someone in their 50s is able to hit $1 million. You are never too old to grow your wealth!
Similar to our earlier article, I believe everyone agrees that it is fairly easy to make a million dollars if you inherited $1 million, strike the lottery or if you have hundreds of thousands to buy and sell properties.
Once more, let us be realistic here too. Many people in their 50s are nearing retirement. The past 20 to 30 years had been spent on raising a family, paying for their house, while working hard as an employee, all at the same time. This resulted in most people in their 50s having not much money left in their savings accounts. So, how will someone in their 50s still be able to achieve $1 million? Once again, our emphasis here will be on Save & Invest.
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What would you do if you have $1 million?
Before we began, let us take one step back and think carefully why do we want to have a million dollars? We are usually more motivated to work harder and achieve our goals once we have a purpose in mind.
Food for thought – At the end of the day, have you ever wondered what will happen after you hit $1 million? Some people wants to be a millionaire as it is one of their goals in life, some people wants it so that they are able to give their family a better life or to have a more comfortable retirement, and some people believes that by having that much money, they are able to help others. What about you?
You could have spent half of your lifetime taking care of your family and paying for your house, spending almost every single cent you had earned in the process. Or you could have amassed a huge amount of savings over the years with prudent planning and budgeting.
Regardless of your financial status, at this age, you will usually have much lesser burdens; for example, your kids would have grown up, started earning an income and is no longer dependent on you; or you could have fully paid for your house. With that, for people in their 50s, let us focus on just one main point to increase our savings – Frugality.
Frugality is a virtue regardless of age. The focus here is to ensure that you must always spend within your means. You can start by making simple changes to your lifestyle such as choosing the cheapest option as much as possible. For example, you can opt to eat at food court as compared to eating at restaurants. Another great example will be to always source for the cheapest alternative when planning for trips and vacation.
In addition, as your children grow up, they might start forming their own families, buying their own house, and might not be even be staying with you. When that happens, you can either consider downgrading your house, for example selling our 5 room apartment to buy a 3 room apartment, or even selling your house to move in with your children.
If you own a car, you might want to consider selling your car and take the public transport instead, especially if you have retired and you do not really need a car.
Being frugal will allow you to reduce your expenses and at the same time, increase your savings. However, this is insufficient as it could take a very long time to save $1 million. We need to invest our savings to accelerate its growth.
Investing works for everyone, regardless if you are in your 20s, or in your 50s. The most important point we must take note is to ensure we are always investing using the proper techniques, taking minimal risks. You can look at proven investing concepts such as Value Investing or investing in ETFs.
Let us do an illustration. The table below has the following assumption:
- Initial savings of $10,000
- Annual contribution of $12,000 ($1,000 per year) until retirement (15 years later); zero annual contribution after retirement
- Downgrade/Sell house in 10 years’ time and invest part of the proceeds ($100,000)
- Average annual returns of 15%
Based on the assumption above, we are able to achieve $1 million on the 17th year. Assuming you are 55 years old this year, you will achieve $1 million at 72 years old. It’s never too old to be a millionaire.
Do note that the result from the above table is very conservative as it’s based on a fixed annual contribution and average annual return. If you are able to increase your annual contribution and improve your average annual returns or if you are able to contribute a higher initial savings, you will definitely be able to achieve $1 million in less than 17 years.
It is definitely a long and boring journey to achieve $1 million. But do not give up regardless of your age. It is never too late to start saving and investing if you have not started any. With the right attitude and knowledge acquired, you will definitely be on your way to achieve $1 million.
Rais Bin Mahmud
Project X Member
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