It's fairly easy to go from having \$1 million to being broke. You might buy one fancy house or several modest ones. You might buy a fancy car, fly first class on a trip around the world, and prepay college tuition for all your kids. You might even just spend a crazy weekend in Las Vegas.

It's harder to go in the other direction, though, turning a net worth of \$0 into a net worth of \$1 million. It takes longer, too. But the important thing to understand is that it can be done. Here's how you can do it.

Image source: Getty Images.

## Simple math

It's really all just a matter of math. Perhaps obviously, you'll get to a million dollars by saving and investing -- fairly aggressively and very regularly. The table below shows how long it will take you to reach approximately \$1 million if you're saving and investing various sums each year. It assumes a growth rate of 8% in order to be somewhat conservative, since the average annual return of the stock market is close to 10% over many decades.

Growing at 8% for

\$10,000 invested annually

\$15,000 invested annually

\$20,000 invested annually

5 years

\$63,359

\$95,039

\$126,718

10 years

\$156,455

\$234,683

\$312,910

15 years

\$293,243

\$439,865

\$586,486

20 years

\$494,229

\$741,344

\$988,458

20.5 years

\$518,914

\$778,371

\$1,037,828

23.5 years

\$688,744

\$1,033,115

\$1,377,487

25 years

\$789,544

\$1,184,316

\$1,579,088

28 years

\$1,029,659

\$1,544,489

\$2,059,319

30 years

\$1,223,459

\$1,835,189

\$2,446,918

So if you're socking away \$10,000 annually, you can get there in about 28 years, and it will take only about 20.5 years if you can regularly save and invest \$20,000.