What if there were an easy way to increase your nest egg by $50,000, one that wasn't painful, labor intensive, or complicated?
Well, it turns out there is. All you have to do is increase your 401(k) contribution by $100 a month and add some time...20 years, to be exact.
No, seriously. If you save an extra $100 a month with 7% average annual growth, at the end of 20 years you'll be sitting on over $50,000 more than you would have otherwise.
It's an example of the incredible outsize impact of a regular savings habit combined with time and compounding.
This is why you should save more
Think about what you could do with an extra $50,000.
Assuming you stay at a 7% growth rate, you could take nearly $400 per month for 20 years to fund martinis at the country club or gifts for your grandkids. You could finance a few immense trips to Europe. Or you could hang onto it and have nearly $100,000 at the end of another 10 years.
And it'll only cost you an extra $100 a month.
Don't underestimate the power of small changes
Don't have $100? Try $50, or even $25.
The point is that a relatively small increase in your savings habit can pay enormous dividends over time. It doesn't have to be painful or require a major lifestyle overhaul -- it can be as modest as trimming your bacon habit (not that I know about that, cough cough) or cutting down on trips to the soda machine.
In other words, if you can give yourself just a little bit less discretionary income and put that money toward your 401(k) instead, you'll be giving yourself an enormous boost over time. Even your $25 a month will turn into $13,000 over 20 years -- it might not sound like much, but that's a significant pot of money for the equivalent of a couple lunches a month.
Where can the money come from?
You can often find money in unexpected places -- like that bacon bill. Don't get me wrong, I love bacon, but even for a bacon lover a package a day was an excessive (not to mention expensive) habit. Cutting bacon by half got me an extra $50 a month.
I'm not saying you should stop wholesale the things that you love. Far from it! It's just that we all could probably find a fair amount of chaff in our spending habits as opposed to the wheat -- those expenditures that don't really add value to our lives.
It might be soda (or an extra martini at happy hour), or it might be bacon. Maybe it's the premium cable TV package or something else entirely. Whatever those extra expenditures, take the time to investigate them and see if you wouldn't rather have those martinis in the future, or that month-long trip to Italy.