When you were young, $10 was a lot of money.
If a family member gave you a $10 bill with Alexander Hamilton's eye's piercing your eyes – you thought you were rich. You could get a toy, a soda, and some candy and still have a few coins to spare.
Then you turned 22… and a job that paid anything less than $20 an hour seemed like torcher.
But what if $10 as an adult was just as valuable as it was when you were a kid? What if $10 a day could lead to half a million down the road?
$10 a day with zero investing knowledge could make you half a million in the next 30 years. Here is how.
What investing $10 a day for 30 years would do for you.
When I graduated college I made several financial mistakes.
- I bought a car
- I didn't aggressively pay down my debt, (I paid extra here and there spraying my money).
- I didn't invest ANYTHING
For whatever reason, I had never really heard of compound interest, I never had family members talk about it and nobody in my social circle talked about investing.
Sure I had heard of the stock market – but I thought you had to be a pro to do that… (boy was I wrong)
Little did I know (clearly) if I simply took $140 from my paycheck every two weeks – or just $10 a day on average – by the time I was 52 I would be worth over half a million dollars!!!!
…$10 per day = Half a million in my 50's!
For the price of a Chipotle burrito with guac daily and $100 from grandma's Christmas gift, I could guarantee myself $500,000+ by age 52:
As you can see in the graphic above, a starting amount of $100 and a weekly contribution of $70 per week for 30 years at a 9% return would result in $561,440.
But seriously, can just $10 a day really amount to half a million one day? Yes. However, you first have to recongize…
What is $10 worth to you?
$3,650 might sound like a lot of money, but $10 doesn't… right?
Even if you haven't done mental math since algebra class, $10 a day for 365 days is $3,650 per year or $304 per month.
- $10 a day
- $70 every week
- $140 every two weeks
- $304 per month (on average)
- $3,650 per year.
If you happen to be someone who makes $50,000, after taxes you're looking at a monthly take-home income of about $3,000 per month. So investing $10 a day would equate to investing 10% of your monthly take-home (5% below the recommended amount).
A $3,000 per month take home at 40 hours per week results in $18.75 per hour or .31 cents per minute. So in 32 minutes, someone who makes $50,000 makes $10.
In other words, are you willing to take 32 minutes of your 8-hour workday to invest in your future?
Clearly, your answer should be yes, but that doesn't always mean it is easy!
The issue with investing just $10 per day.
Here is the biggest challenge about the approach of using just $10 a day, it doesn't add up quickly enough (in your head).
$10 is so simple to do, that it is actually simpler just NOT to do! And the returns don't really add up that quickly:
Investing $10 a day for 10 years does not make you rich. You're not scratching the surface of the 25x Retirement Rule, but it is a start. In fact, you only see $22,701 in investment returns or roughly $2,200 per year. However, what if you can hold out?
What if you can stay consistent for 20 years?
By holding on for at least 20 years at $10 a day ($70 per week) you can see that by year 13 – your interest returns out weight your total contributions: $51,276 return for $50,960 contributed.
By year 20, you have earned $131,554 on investment returns at 9%, while contributing $72,800, or just $10 a day. But the goal is half a million…
After 30 long arduous years, $10 a day finally has made its mark: You're now worth half a million on paper.
Forget your 401K, forget your IRA, forget your real estate. At age 22 when you started just taking $70 from every paycheck and contributing to a conservative stock index fund – you created something you never thought you could.
However – staying consistent and thinking long term isn't always easy, which is why even as little as investing $10 a day, most will never give themselves the chance.
But you need to ask yourself the question that I had to ask myself – “Josh, is $10 a day worth $452,000 in interest in 30 years?”
My answer: (Emphatically) YES!
And while I didn't do this at 22… or 24… or 28… I did finally figure out in 2019 I needed to start investing in my future, and it wasn't as scary as I thought either.
How to start investing your way to half a million.
Last year, at the ripe old age of 32 I opened my first brokerage account.
Investing in stock index funds is simple and really not scary.
Obviously age 22 would have been better, but 32 is better than ever (We also have a plan to aggressively pay off all debt and create cash flow to invest more monthly than we ever could have imagined).
I simply went to Vanguard's website, created a brokerage account and bought my first Vanguard S&P 500 ETF also known as VOO. And as you can see in the graphic below, historically since it's inception in 2010, it's performed pretty well:
Since 2010 those who invest in the VOO ETF could expect a 14.68 % return on their money (on average). During the 2019 bull market, it was 31%. As you can see in the figure above, $10,000 in 2010 would now be worth $32,000 today.
In our case – $10 would now be $32. So every time I was putting my $10 away, I was doubling my money (had I started at age 22 in 2010).
Note: I don't receive any compensation for promoting Vanguard nor do I give certified financial planning advice. Here is a list of the Top 10 Vanguard Index Funds. However, I highlight Vanguard because that is what I use and found super simple, so here is the skinny:
Product summary of the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO):
- Invests in stocks in the S&P 500 Index, representing 500 of the largest U.S. companies.
- Goal is to closely track the index’s return, which is considered a gauge of overall U.S. stock returns.
- Offers high potential for investment growth; share value rises and falls more sharply than that of funds holding bonds.
- More appropriate for long-term goals where your money’s growth is essential.
Final Take on the journey to half a milly.
Darren Hardy wrote an excellent book called The Compound Effect and the premises was simple:
Small daily actions/habits lead to massive amounts of success… or massive amounts of poor results. The catch is that we don't see the immediate reward of the small habits so it's simply easy not to do!
On average, a $1 invested today will double in 10 years. This process repeats and in 30 years $1 is now $8. Something small like $1 can grow immensely over time with patience.
So while $10 today might not seem like a lot...
- $10 in 10 years is $20
- $20 10 years later is $40
- $40 10 years after that is $80
So just imagine what $10 a day could do for you in 30 years?
Complete random side note: I was trying to figure out how to grammatically say half a million. Apparently the correct way is to say “One and a half million,” however, half a million is acceptable.
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.