NerdWallet charts show the power of compound interest

If you have little or no money in savings right now, you’re not alone: ​​Most Americans aren’t prepared for retirement or even an emergency.

The charts below, from personal finance site NerdWallet, will make you want to start saving right away.

Each shows how much money you would need to set aside to save $1 million by the time you turn 67. It assumes you start with zero dollars and also assumes various average annual investment returns.

The graphs are very different depending on the age at which you start saving.

Here’s what the road to $1 million looks like if you start saving at age 25:

If you start saving at age 30, things get a bit more complicated:

The longer you wait to start saving, the harder it will be to reach your goals. The following chart shows how much of each paycheck every two weeks you would need to set aside to have $1 million if you start at age 40 with zero dollars invested.

Depending on how much you earn, you will have to save a large part of your salary: 13 to 37%.

As you can see, starting early is incredibly beneficial. And all this thanks to a simple principle: .

Compounding makes a sum grow at a faster rate than simple interest because in addition to earning returns on the money you invest, you also earn returns on those returns over time. This snowballs your wealth over time and means you don’t have to save as much to reach your financial goals.

Here is another compound interest chart, which New York Times columnist and author Ron Lieber .

Published in 1994 by USAA, it shows how much money you will accumulate over time if you invest $250 per month from different ages. It assumes an average annual return on investment of eight percent.

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If you start at age:

25: You will accumulate $878,570 at age 65

35: You will accumulate $375,073 at age 65

45: You will accumulate $148,236 at age 65

In short, the longer you wait to start saving and investing, the longer you will miss out on compound interest.

Ready to make your money grow?

The easiest place to start is to invest in your employer’s 401(k) plan, a tax-advantaged retirement savings account, or other like a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA.

You can also look for low-cost index funds, recommended by Warren Buffett, and online investment platforms called robo-advisors.

To help you save more and spend less, check out:

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