Here’s How to Become a 401(k) Millionaire
There’s nothing more definitive in the journey to financial freedom than hitting the $1 million mark in retirement savings.
A nest egg like that is a near-guarantee that you could surmount any curveball the world throws at you, whether it is an unexpected family emergency or anything else.
While $1 million certainly sounds like a lofty milestone to many, it’s actually quite a common achievement:
- Millionaire households in the U.S.: 11.3 million (8.95%)
- Total households in the U.S.: 126.2 million
And contrary to popular belief, to become a 401(k) millionaire, you don’t need to strike it rich with a lucky stock pick, or use a crystal ball to forecast the future of the market.
Your best bet is to simply focus only on the factors you can control.
What You Can Control
Today’s infographic is from Tony Robbins, and it covers key points from his #1 Best Selling book Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook, which is now available on paperback.
It shows that the biggest winners in the financial game know that they can’t predict the future, and instead titans like Warren Buffett or Jack Bogle focus intently on the factors they can control, knowing that with the right approach they’ll thrive in almost any market.
What are these crucial factors?
|Time||The force of compound interest is more powerful over longer periods of time.
|Discipline||Staying calm and focused on the long term during periods of turmoil is key.
|Diversification||Proper asset allocation and frequent re-balancing can position you to weather any storm.
|Expenses||Expenses and taxes are silent killers, and must be minimized strategically.
By diligently working to take control of these four factors, your odds of attaining financial freedom are extremely high. Here is each factor in more depth.
The power of compound interest is extraordinary, making time your best friend when it comes to building a battle chest of retirement savings.
The current maximum contribution limit for 401(k)s is $18,500 per year, not including what is matched by your employer. If you maxed out on contributions and started investing early, you can hit $1 million before retirement even in sub-optimal market conditions:
|Starting age||Required returns for $1 million at age 65
Time can make up for a lack of investing acumen. Wait until later, and things get very difficult – by age 50, you need market beating returns!
If you’re taking advantage of the power of compound interest over a long period of time, whether that is 20, 30, or 40 years, it is inevitable that there will be bumps in the road:
- Stock market corrections happen once a year, on average
- Bear markets happen once in every 3-5 years, on average
- Bear markets vary in length, but on average last one year
Through decades of investing, the fact is you are going to see bear markets – it is how you handle them that counts.
Even when it’s the most tempting to sell, remember these facts:
- Bear markets become bull markets
- The first 12 months of a new bull market can see crucial market gains
- Nobody can successfully time the market – not even the experts
In other words, having the discipline to hold through the turbulence can be the difference maker – and a key factor you can control in your journey to becoming a 401(k) millionaire.
Another factor you control is portfolio diversification, and here are four ways diversification can minimize risk:
|Assets||Stocks, bonds, and alternative assets like real estate or gold.
|Sectors||Consumer goods, tech, energy, financials, etc.
|Markets||Domestic, international, emerging markets
|Time||Add to investments regularly, because there is never a “right” time to buy
A properly designed portfolio can weather any storm, and re-balancing it on a regular basis will force you to sell assets at market highs, while buying at low points.
The fees on your 401(k) statement might not seem like much, but even 1% or 2% can make a big difference over the long term.
For example: the value of $1 compounding for 50 years at 5% will be worth $11.50, but if it averages 7% it will be worth $29.50. That’s almost three times more!
Expenses, both seen and hidden, can be a silent killer any portfolio, so keeping them to a necessary minimum can help you get to the promised land.
A Final Word
If becoming a 401(k) millionaire was easy, everyone could do it.
But to be successful, you need to take control over factors like time, diversification, discipline, and costs – ideally with a qualified and experienced financial advisor and partner. Then, you need to stick to the plan and let the market do its work.
Investing is a game of inches. If your returns improve by, say, 2 or 3 percentage points a year, the cumulative impact over decades is astounding, thanks to the power of compounding.
– Tony Robbins