More than a decade ago, Clark put up a chart (see below) in one of his books that showed how a teenager who starts saving at 15 and puts aside $2,000 for 7 years will have more than $1 million at retirement.

Over the years, people have challenged this claim and the methodology behind the numbers. So now personal finance columnist Gail MarksJarvis at The Chicago Tribune has run the numbers and corroborates what Clark has always said.

Her figures differ only trivially from those Clark had presented. According to MarksJarvis, if a 16 year old saves $2,000 annually for six years into a Roth IRA account and stops at age 21, they'll have $1 million when they turn 65.

This assumes a 9.4 percent average gain annually, which has been the average return on the stock market since 1926, according to The Chicago Tribune article.

Saving money early -- not even often, just early -- will still ultimately lead you to $1 million in wealth at the time of retirement. If you keep saving after your 21st birthday, you'd end up with somewhere between $2 and $3 million at retirement.

The key always is to save early. That's the hardest part. Most people don't start thinking about saving until their 40th birthday. But if you start early, it makes a big, big difference down the road. See below:

 

Age Amt set aside per year Years to save Amount at 65
15 $2,000 7 $1,020,430
15 $2,000 50 $2,327,934
25 $2,259 40 $1,000,000
35 $6,079 30 $1,000,000
45 $17,459 20 $1,000,000
55 $62,745 10 $1,000,000


For further reading:

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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