Building wealth is typically a slow process, especially when you're just getting started. In fact, for most people, saving their first \$100,000 is one of the most difficult milestones to achieve. That's because when you're starting from \$0, you don't have money already working for you and helping you to amass more wealth.

So, when will you hit that milestone and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know.

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How soon to your first \$100,000?

Saving your first \$100,000 will be a matter of how much you save and how successfully you invest. The table below shows when you'll reach \$100,000 based on your monthly investment and two different rates of return.

Monthly Savings

Years to Reach \$100,000 With a 6% Annual Return

Years to Reach \$100,000 With an 8% Annual Return

\$100

29.92

25.50

\$200

20.92

18.33

\$500

11.58

10.58

\$1,000

6.75

6.42

\$1,500

4.83

4.67

\$2,000

3.75

3.67

Calculations by author.

Why does this milestone matter so much?

Saving your first \$100,000 can be really hard if you start from \$0 because you don't have money working for you at the beginning so every dollar you invest must come from your paychecks.

But, once you've amassed a six-figure nest egg, the assets you've bought will earn returns that can be reinvested. It won't just be your own money that bulks up your account balance. The money already invested grows wealth without additional assistance, so you won't have to save as much to hit your next \$100,000 or the next \$100,000 after that.

In other words, the power of compounding makes wealth building easier, and the sooner you hit \$100,000, the more time you have to harness that power. The table below shows how much \$100,000 could turn into by age 65, depending on when you've first amassed these funds (assuming a 7% average annual return).

If You Save \$100,000 by This Age...

...What It Will Be Worth at 65

30

\$1,070,000

40

\$542,806

50

\$275,928

60

\$120,446

64

\$107,001

Calculations by author.

If you can save \$100,000 early in life and give it lots of time to work for you, it can multiply many times over. That's why it pays to save as much as you can when you're younger. Your early sacrifice will be well worth it in the end.