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3 Ways to Grow $100,000 Into $1 Million for Retirement Savings

By Selena Maranjian – Jan 7, 2022 at 8:34AM

Key Points

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Retiring with a million dollars can provide a lot of financial security.

Many people are aiming to amass a million dollars by retirement, which will serve plenty of them well. But not all. If you're used to living on $100,000 or more per year, that million might only last you a decade or a bit more. Still, considering that lots of people have relatively little saved for retirement, aiming for a million is a good goal to start with -- and if you can get to $1.5 million or $2 million, all the better.

Amassing a million dollars is more achievable than you probably think, too. Here are three ways to grow your wealth powerfully.

A person with tattoos is smiling at the camera.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Be patient

If you already have $100,000 saved for retirement, you might invest it in, say, a simple broad-market index fund, such as one that tracks the S&P 500, and over time, it will likely grow to $1 million.

Here's how long it will take, depending on the average annual growth rate over your investing period. For context, know that the S&P 500 has averaged close to 10% annually over many decades -- though it might average much less or more depending on your particular time frame.

At this annual growth rate...

$100,000 grows to about $1 million in this many years













Data source: Calculations by author.

2. Save aggressively

There's a good chance that you might not have 20 to 34 years to wait for your million dollars. Fortunately, you have the power to speed things up. If you save aggressively and invest additional dollars every year, you'll get there faster. Here's a look at how your money might grow at 8% annually if you start with $100,000 and add $10,000 each year:

$100,000 growing at 8% for

Plus $10,000 invested annually

5 years


10 years


15 years


20 years


25 years

$1.5 million

30 years

$2.2 million

Data source: Calculations by author.

See? Assuming a somewhat conservative growth rate, you might arrive at a million dollars in about 20 years instead of about 30.

What if you can sock away $15,000 annually? Take a look:

$100,000 growing at 8% for

Plus $15,000 invested annually

5 years


10 years


15 years


20 years

$1.2 million

25 years

$1.9 million

30 years

$2.8 million

Data source: Calculations by author.

Many people estimate that they will need closer to $2 million for a comfortable retirement. The table above shows how you might get there. How much you can amass by retirement depends largely on how much you can save and invest, how rapidly it grows, and how long it has to grow.

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Image source: Getty Images.

3. Invest effectively

Investing most or all of your long-term dollars in a low-fee index fund is a perfectly sound strategy, and it should deliver close to the same returns as the overall market. If you want to aim for faster growth, though, you can choose to spend time learning more about investing -- and perhaps about growth investing in particular. It involves focusing investing dollars on companies that are growing at a faster-than-average rate.

Understand that growth stocks can be more volatile and risky than, say, blue chip stocks, and they can frequently be trading at premium prices. For best results, study them well, choose them carefully, and favor ones that appear undervalued while still offering a lot of growth potential.

You might follow our Motley Fool investing philosophy, which will have you buying 25 or more stocks while aiming to hold them for at least five years. The intent is to give you a reasonable chance of having one or more terrific performers that will more than offset the inevitable losers that will also occupy your portfolio.

Whatever plan you devise for turning your $100,000 (or $10,000 or however much money you have) into a million dollars, the most important thing is to stick with it. Even if you amass your million (or $2 million) in only 10 years, that's still a fairly long time -- or it can seem so. Remember, too, that stocks don't go up in a straight line. Expect ups and downs, and be patient.

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