At the beginning of the 21st century most young people are told that social security won’t be there for them when they retire from the work force. Thus, in order to be able to completely retire from the workforce, a person has to invest as early as possible in order to take full advantage of the power of compounding.
Let’s follow the story of Erica and John. They both grew up on the same street in the same city. Their mothers gave birth to them at almost the same time. Erica and John went to the same high-school, after which their paths separated. They lost contact with each other for the next 40 years, at which point they found each other on Facebook, and met to reminiscence their childhood and talk about grandkids.
They quickly started talking about their retirement and the amount of money they had each had at the time of their retirement. John, who always saved the extra money he earned from jobs at college and his first job after college, started investing $2000/year in dividend stocks starting at the age of 18 and kept saving and investing the same amount until he was 28. At that point he had so many expenses in order to pay for the needs of his growing family that he couldn’t save anymore. Despite the fact that John couldn’t contribute any more to fund his retirement, he was very good at picking solid dividend growth stocks, and was able to generate annual returns of 10% for the next four decades.
Erica on the other hand had decided that she didn’t want to work in college since she wanted to concentrate on her studies while also enjoying the whole college experience. She then decided to go ahead and get a masters degree after which she was able to get a very good job with one of the largest companies in the USA. She did accumulate a large amount of student debt in the process, which she diligently paid off in a record time after she got her first job. After learning about the importance of saving for your own retirement, she started investing $2000/year in dividend stocks, and was able to also generate 10% in annual returns.
We then fast forward to the age of 65. At age of 65, John's net worth is 1,192,257.81. Erica's networth is $728,086.87 at the age of 65.
Despite the fact that John had invested only $20,000 in total, versus $76,000 that Erica had invested, he was able to achieve a higher amount of wealth because he had taken a full advantage of the power of compounding by investing his hard earned money as early as his freshman year in college. Even though Erica contributed money for over 37 years her nest egg was $400,000 lower than John’s, because she had ten years less to utilize the power of compounding. You could also access the spreadsheet from here.
The most important point from this exercise is: start investing for your retirement as early as possible! Ask your kids to invest their first paychecks from high school jobs. And most importantly, let the money compound uninterruptedly for as long as possible. And if you want to take full advantage of compounding, Turbo Charge Your Portfolio With Reinvested Dividends.