In all honesty, the figure stated in the title is something that I’m yet to come to grips with.
A year or two ago I would have ignored this post from the outset. I’ll probably read this post, click on the links, waste an hour of time researching only to find that I am being sold some investment in ostrich farming or blue gums, would have been my thinking. How can $100 a week possibly morph into nearly $2 million dollars? If it were possible, why isn’t everybody doing it?
This post is admittedly a work in progress. I will declare from the outset that, no, I have not implemented this strategy myself yet, but I am investigating it further as a viable concept for long term wealth creation.
The million dollar strategy goes like this:
1. Invest $100 per week in a fund from 20 years of age.
$100 might sound like quite a bit of money to be forking out each week but most people flitter that kind of money away without thinking. With correct money management many could spare that kind of money if we fully grasped the powerful and transformative effect it would have on our financial future. A dinner out, a 23rd pair of blue jeans, a Playstation game- we can forgo these if needed or should I say, if we are motivated. For nearly $2 million dollars, I believe it is a worthwhile sacrifice to make on a weekly basis.
2. Automatically deposit that $100 from your pay check and place it into a listed fund and don’t touch it!
This is the component that requires careful thought about your risk tolerance, your age and a tax effective structure. I would highly advise consulting an accountant and a financial planner to choose the right investment vehicle for you.
3. That $100 per week grows and accumulates over time.
From 20 years of age to 70 years the weekly $100 contributions amount to a total of $364,000.
4. The $364,000 you invested accrues compound interest on an annualised basis.
For example- If you had implemented the strategy and invested the $100 per week in an index fund on the Australian Stock Exchange for the past 30 years, you would have benefited from an average rate of 10.8% per annum from 1985-2015 . This 10.8% return was used to calculate the figure in the title.
I can hear readers saying ‘What about inflation? You haven’t factored that in yet!’ Won’t $2 million in the future just buy you a basic run-of-the-mill Toyota Corolla Hovercar?
Believe it or not but the return quoted in the title is with inflation already deducted! The average inflation rate in Australia is 4.2%  over the past 30 years. 10.8% minus 4.2% equals a 6.6% return. This means that the total return for that $100 per week could potentially equate to $1,845,720 in today’s money! Could you give yourself and loved ones a better quality of life with an additional $1.8 million?
This kind of investing requires us to change any short term perspectives we might have held and to develop long term thinking.
It is also a basic strategy that is perfectly open to tweaking. You may find that placing that $100 in superannuation makes more sense. You may prefer to diversify into a balanced portfolio across different asset classes or internationally. You may decide to invest your $100 per week in a real estate investment instead. There are even some markets that might offer a higher projected return than the quoted 10.8% on average. I chose to reference only the last 30 years but there were much higher (and some lower) figures across different markets and asset classes. Maybe you can’t make the $100 deposit but $20 seems more achievable. Perhaps you can contribute more. It is all open to tweaking as any projected returns are rubbery and based on historical data.
The main point of the post is this: $100 saved and invested compounds and amounts to a much brighter financial future for you and your loved ones.
Imagine you had of thought on a long term financial basis 10 years ago. Where would you be now? Have a bit of a play around with ASIC’s compound interest calculator and see the potential returns you could make at https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/calculators-and-apps/compound-interest-calculator.
It is utterly mind boggling what compound interest can contribute to your financial future. Einstein called it the eighth wonder of the world. Thinking long term can completely empower your financial future!
If this article contains something that interests you, I encourage you to consult with an industry professional such as a financial advisor for qualified advice. Remember to factor in interest on borrowings (if any), inflation, management, entrance and exit fees to work out whether this strategy is viable for you.
I’ve attached a few questions that you might have below. Once again, if this article has been thought provoking in any way, I encourage you to share it with a friend or loved one.
1. Question: I am well over 20. Is it game over Red Rover for me? Have I missed the boat?
Answer: Almost every reader of this post is likely to be over 20. If you play around with the calculator you’ll find that you could catch up to the projected estimates with a lump sum deposit or higher contributions. The compounding really begins to kick in during the latter years.
2. Question: You haven’t mentioned fees. Surely there are fees!
Answer: You’re right. I did not mention fees. At the moment I am investigating placing some of my money in a Vanguard Exchange Traded Fund, one of which requires a 0.18% annual fee. 0.18% per annum doesn’t really make too much of a dint in the bottom-line return. 2% or 3% does however! Check the fees carefully.
3. Question: But what about market crashes? The market has plummeted 40% in some years.
Answer: This is very much a long term strategy. If you are thinking 20, 30, 40 years into the future, a momentary market flutter or even a crash can be smoothed out by the sands of time.
For example- Where will the Aussie dollar be in 3 months? 3 years? 30 years? Who knows? We can only hazard a rough guess based on historical returns.