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Get Rich Slowly

Is it hard to get rich?  Not really, if youíre young. Its fun to play with financial calculators and see what might happen.

Assume you have just graduated from college, are about 22 years old and I just started your first real job. If you put $100 a month in an IRA that grows at 10% a year, you will have about $865,000 at age 65. 10% a year compound growth is about what you should exect if the money was invested in a no-load S&P 500 Index Fund.

So for about $23 a week or $3.30 a day you would be close to being a millionaire. 

If you contributed the full $4000 a year allowed  right now to an IRA (rising to $5000 in 2008), you would have $2,600,000. For about $11.00 a day, you would have a small fortune.

If you didnít want to take a chance with the stock market because it goes down sometimes, you would still have over $600,000 if you could get a 5% return.

If your grandmother leaves you $10,000 in her will and you invest it for the same 43 years at 10% without adding another cent, youíd also have over $600,000 if you placed it in a tax sheltered account.

Time and the power of compound interest are on your side. So if youíre in you twenties and want to get rich, do whatever you have to scrape together that IRA contribution. Every day you procrastinate is another day your money is not working for you.

However, most people in their twenties need the money for more important things, like new cars and HDTVís. You also have school loans to pay, children to raise and the new mortgage to pay off. But if you prioritize your life and stick to a budget, $11.00 a day is doable, although you might have to scrimp here and there.

Consider that most people are spending their lives paying the freight for borrowing <i>other peopleís money</I>. If you save and invest, other people are paying you to use your money. Itís a lot more fun to see your money working to help you get rich than 

having to work yourself.

Think about the effect expenditures have on your financial future. If you bought a late model used car instead of new one, you would probably save $10,000 or more depending on the model. That $10,000 as noted above, would grow to almost $600,000 by the time youíre 65 if invested in tax sheltered accounts. 

Now look at it from the opposite angle, the extra money you spend on that new car you yearn for and <b>must have</b> now, will cost you $600,000 by the time youíre 65 

and the car has long since been recycled into tin cans. 

Iíd probably buy the car too, but itís useful to consider the consequences.

It gets harder to get rich slowly as you get older. If you wait until youíre 32 and put away $4000 at 10%, you would have about $975,000, still a respectable amount.

At 42, youíd only be able to accumulate approximately $350,000. If youíre 50 and 

can start putting $5000 away today, youíll have around $175,000 at age 65.

Everyone knows that Social Security is not going to allow for a comfortable retirement. Even if the plan can continue  to pay out forever, which is questionable  right now, the money you receive will be far from generous and is subject to taxation. And you might have a good pension plan at work now, but will you be able to hold your current job to 


If you have a Roth IRA, you can withdraw the money tax free after age 59 Ω.  Imagine having a million tax free dollars you can play with. It will well make up for the small sacrifices you have to make to get rich.

No matter what your age, start saving what you can now - today.  Even if you only amass $100,000, youíll be better off than most people entering retirement.