“Compound interest” is an important term to be familiar with. Let’s say you’re in your early 20’s, just graduated from college, and got a job making roughly $35K. You save about $5,000/year for retirement. Let’s say you do this for 10 years, saving a total of $50K. Then something happens, you have a life change and end up not contributing any more to this initial savings. Your existing savings will still continue to grow until you retire when you’re 65.
Now let’s say instead, you were unable to save right away. But at around 40, you had a secure job making roughly $75K, and then you can start to save. So you save $10K/year for 10 years, saving a total of $100K. At 50, you have a life change and cannot contribute any more. But your initial savings grow until you retire at 65.
In both scenarios, let’s say your investment grew at 10% per year. At age 65, your totals would be very different. The “you” who started saving in your early 20’s would have a little over $1 million to retire. The “you” who started saving at 40, even though you contributed more, would have only a little more than $500,000.
Investments take time to grow, and the longer you have, the better. So even if it doesn’t seem like much, it’s better to start saving even a little now, than waiting to save more later.
For young kids, saving can be simple and fun. A great way to start is with clear jars, so they can watch their money grow, and learn good financial habits. An easy way to do this is to create “Save”, “Spend”, and “Donate” jars.