How do I know when I’ll become a millionaire?
WHAT DOES BECOMING A MILLIONAIRE MEAN?
You could see it in two ways: becoming a millionaire in today’s dollars without inflation taken into account, or becoming a millionaire in tomorrow’s dollars with inflation being taken into account.
Now you’re thinking: WHAT!? Even if I have $1,000,000 as a net worth, it isn’t really ONE MILLION when I want to go retire, because of crappy inflation?
HOW THE HECK DO I FIGURE OUT MY TODAY AND TOMORROW’S MILLIONAIRE STATUS?
You could learn how to do it the hard way with logical, rational, useful math (and who the hell wants to do that?), or you could just pop over to these two great tools:
- DQYDJ’s millionaire calculator tool which I specifically requested and am planning on taking full credit for this brainchild, especially with my
naggingsweet insistence that he put a graph in with scenarios. .. No? Maybe joint custody?
- The Monevator’s Millionaire calculator tool, which is pretty elegant with a different kind of graph. Bonus for non-$ users: It even has other currencies like the £ or € in addition to the $
You should also read the accompanying post by The Monevator: Can I live like a millionaire? for kicks.
BECOMING A MILLIONAIRE BY 55
This is my ideal retirement age, and a nice option to have open just in case I get bored of my dream career, or something (nasty) happens.
I put very conservative numbers into this Millionaire calculator tool by The Monevator:
- 5% growth
- 3% inflation
So I need to save (today) about $6193 to reach that million by the time I’m 55.
So far, so good.
Now looking inflation right in the eye, the last 3 calculations show me that my “millionaire status” is actually only $452,965 after inflation is taken into account.
To get that future-inflation-adjusted million in 26 years, I will need to save $2.15M, and save about $28,387 a year.
Guess I wasn’t too far off in my average (ambitious) goal of saving at least $50,000 net a year.
WHAT IF I WANT TO SAVE $50,000 NET A YEAR, WHEN WOULD I BE A MILLIONAIRE?
I played around with the numbers in PK’s calculator and came out with this:
I’ll be a millionaire in about 13 years if I save $50,000 a year (net), so in my early 40s!
That’s kind of what I expected anyway, if I am able to save $50,000 a year.
The nice thing about PK’s calculator is the scenarios, and showing me that I could save 50% LESS and wait for 22 years to become a millionaire, or save DOUBLE the amount and become a millionaire in 7.16 years.
Hmm. That’d put me a few years shy of 40 if I saved double the amount, except I’d have to… save double the amount.
Yuck. Saving $50K a year is already tough enough as a freelancer for an average, and only in my very best year out of the 3 I’ve worked, did I save $130,000.
This millionaire-in-the-future-status thing is harder than I expected
On paper, I could be a millionaire in a relatively short amount of time, but not if you take inflation into account which is what the two calculators do above.
It’s a fun tool to use and I encourage you to run over to their blogs and try it out.
Please don’t get discouraged by this millionaire today, millionaire in the future calculation.
You have to take into account that these are not only conservative numbers, but that you may not really need a million in the future (adjusted for inflation) to live happily.
You may need less, and you shouldn’t forget that you have company pensions and your country’s social security programs on top of this.
Plus, you can always move and live somewhere dirt cheap in retirement. (I kid, I KID! Sort of.)
Carnival Submission: Carnival of Personal Finance #404: It’s tax time with this post: How I made thousands from virtual millions.