Millionaire Savings Calculator


Do you ask yourself "when will I become a millionaire?" If so, this calculator may help. The future is uncertain, but if you regularly set aside money and allow the investment to compound for an extended period of time you might be able to save more than you imagined. Enter your initial saves, the amount you regularly deposit, along with the anticipated annual rate of return on your investments.

Enter Your Savings

Optional initial investment:
Every deposit:
Anticipated annual rate of return:
Average annual inflation rate (%):

Your $1,000,000 Savings Results

Total amount invested:
Total investment returns:
Years untill your savings reaches $1 million:
What $1 million will be worth in today's dollars:

The Steady Path to Your Million-Dollar Goal

Guide published by Jose Abuyuan on October 26, 2020

Man swimming in a lot of money.

Let’s face it. We all want to be worth a million bucks. Financial security remains one of the most important life goals. Young people today aim to rise above the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, and the ultimate goal remains the same: reach that seven-figure sum.

Though nowhere near as glamorous today, a million dollars is still a comfortable amount of money to have. That sum can set you and your family for a very long time. But achieving this amount of wealth is difficult. Stagnant wages, rising prices, inflation, and taxes all stand in the way of building a modest fortune.

It takes as much time and effort to grow money as it is to earn it. But making smart moves today can put you right on track to your first million. Once you get the ball rolling, however, you can set the path towards your wealth goals.

The Escalation of Wealth

Back in the 19th Century, a million dollars was worth a lot of money. We’re talking about the level of wealth we associate with billionaires today. Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockerfeller were worth millions in their time’s money. In today’s money, they’re richer than even the billionaires of today. Adjusted for inflation, today’s millionaires are nowhere near as wealthy as the industry captains of yesteryear.

Did You Know?

Oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockerfeller remains one of the richest Americans who ever lived. Adjusted for inflation, his peak net worth would’ve been worth $336 billion in 2010. This is a fortune rivaled only by those of ancient kings.

A million dollars today won’t put you in the upper crust. But it will still pay for a very comfortable lifestyle. That’s money to secure a very nice home and car with plenty left over to invest and spend. Saving a few million dollars all but guarantees a comfortable life well after retirement.

Where the Wealthy Live

Beautiful house in a peaceful place.
The signs of wealth are often more than just your address.

It isn’t surprising that the world’s wealthiest nations are often the abode of the world’s richest people. As the home of many of the world’s top billionaires, the U.S. leads the pack in cumulative private wealth by a wide margin. This chart, based on data from Afrasia Bank’s Global Wealth Migration Review, ranks ten of the world’s richest countries according to private wealth in 2018.

All the figures are in the following charts are in U.S. dollars:

CountryPrivate Wealth
United States$60.7 trillion
China$23.6 trillion
Japan$19.1 trillion
United Kingdom$9.1 trillion
Germany$8.8 trillion
India$8.1 trillion
Australia$6.0 trillion
Canada$6.0 trillion
France$5.9 trillion
Italy$3.8 trillion

As expected, the U.S. is also the home of the most millionaires at 17,350,000 people. China comes in second with 3,480,000. But with their large populations, the actual distribution of millionaires to the rest of the population is staggering. China’s millionaires make up a paltry proportion of its population of 1.3 billion people.

On face value, you’d think that people in wealthy countries can build wealth with ease. But this isn’t always the case. A country’s median wealth is the best way to calculate how much money its everyday citizens are making. In 2018, Credit Suisse compared the average and median wealth per adult in the world’s richest nations. The following table ranks the top five nations based on median per capita income and compares them with the U.S.:

CountryMedian Per Capita IncomeAverage Per Capita Income
United States$61,667.00$403,974.00

The wealth of the richest people in the United States skewed its average wealth higher than it would be. The country ranks third in average per capita income but 18th in median per capita income.

Based on raw numbers alone, it isn’t easy to be a millionaire. Even in the developed world, people face many obstacles to building wealth. The barriers to wealth-building are varied and complex. A few of the bigger factors are as follows:

  • Rising cost of living: In many cities across the United States, people struggle with the increasing costs of food, transportation, and rent.
  • Stagnant wages: The average and minimum pay in many places has not kept pace with the cost of living. Called “stagflation,” this is a sign of long-term trouble for the average consumer.
  • Outstanding debts: A sizable number of Americans young and old are struggling with debt problems (mortgages, credit cards, college loans). Many American consumers are also stuck with less-than-ideal borrowing options.
  • Economic conditions: The U.S. underwent two major economic recessions in the past two decades. A few places across the country have not recovered.
  • Financial illiteracy: Among developed nations, Americans lag behind in financial literacy. This can make them vulnerable to poor financial decisions and predatory systems that can keep them in greater debt.

If you think these are bad, just imagine if you were already in financial duress! These pressures have a disproportionate effect on low income and marginalized demographics. Faced with these obstacles, most people are often left to take matters into their own hands. Of the above hurdles, excess debt and financial illiteracy can be quite prevalent among people.

For people in low-income brackets, sudden curveballs can be devastating. For some families, the quarantine during the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 forced them to save their expendable income. Others, meanwhile, struggled to save anything at all. Downturns of this magnitude can derail major life plans. As crisis builds, people caught without adequate contingencies face financial peril.

Did You Know?

Excess debt can undercut your ability to build wealth, even when you are making a lot of money. This is the case in Switzerland, the country with the second highest median adult income. The Swiss carry 30 times more debt per capita than the global average.

The Basics of Wealth-Building

The fundamentals of building wealth are grounded in simple mathematics. Earn more money than you spend, and you accumulate more money. Simple doesn’t always mean easy, however. There are many obstacles to saving that need a lot of clever thinking and effort to surmount.

It’s easy to fall into the syrupy words of anybody promising a million-dollar career. Everything from insurance sales to multilevel marketing sweeten the pot by promising a very large cash flow. But even legitimate job offers only provide income, rather than wealth. Although it helps, a large salary often isn’t enough to jumpstart the wealth building process on its own.

The secret to building wealth is to have a steady stream of savings that you can grow over time. What matters isn’t always how much you’re making but how much of it you can save. If you’ve only saved sporadically, it can take almost a lifetime to accumulate any wealth. That applies even if you have a high salary. Save regularly, however, and your wealth goals become easier to measure.

That said, you should still aim for a larger take-home pay. Every bit that adds to your savings counts.

Did You Know?

In Disney’s Scrooge McDuck and Money, the title character explained the fundamentals of personal finance in the form of a pie. Each of a person’s major expenses (rent, utilities, basic needs, taxes) all demand a piece of the pie. To begin building wealth, you need to make your piece of the pie much bigger.

Opening Moves

Happy piggybank with savings.
We all have to start somewhere.

To start, get an overview of your current financial standing. You might find several key obstacles to your wealth building plans. Do this by analyzing your cash flow and your net worth. These two metrics will tell what your opening wealth-building moves will be. Once you’ve secured your immediate financial needs, you can turn toward the future.

Cash flow represents where your money is going. This will be the template you’ll base your budget and starting savings on. Keep track of both necessary and discretionary spending. When time comes to cut back and bolster your savings, you need to learn which of your expenses to let go first.

Your net worth, meanwhile, will tell you what you need to do with your savings. Your net worth is the difference between the value of your assets (cash, real estate, important physical items) and the cost of your liabilities (debts). This outlines how much of your money actually stays with you. If your net worth is positive and growing, you’ve achieved a level of stability that’s ripe for wealth building. If it’s in the negative, however, you could find yourself in financial trouble if you don’t act soon.

Paying Debts to Build Wealth

Extra debt payments are considered part of your savings for two reasons. The first is that they offer higher, guaranteed returns than most short-term investments. The amount you save on interest payments is often more than you can earn from your savings over several years. These returns also come with very little risk on your part.

In times of crisis, payments to larger debts may be your most secure investment. The more you pay down on your mortgage, for instance, the more of your home you own outright. This leads us to the second reason. Debt payments reduce your liabilities, which increases your net worth.

The Million-Dollar Strategy

Couple winning the lottery.
Really, you’ve a better chance of getting struck by lightning.

When people think of making millions, they often think of the following:

  • Getting the winning lottery ticket
  • Answering the final question right on a game show
  • Being placed in your rich aunt’s will
  • Making it big as a celebrity
  • Coming up with a profitable business idea
  • Landing a job that makes a lot of money

As exciting as these situations are, they aren’t very common. Few people have the talent, diligence, and time to build the next big company. Even fewer people can strike it lucky and win the lottery or have a rich relative to inherit money from. For the average person, the best way to build wealth is often the least glamorous.

Moreover, money acquired through prizes, lotteries, and inheritance is known as “windfall cash.” Unless you have a good sense of self control, you are likely to spend this money as fast as it comes in. This is the reason why many lottery winners don’t stay rich for very long. The sudden influx of money often overwhelms them. This clouds their judgment and leads them to make poor monetary decisions.

To build a fortune, you must instead make regular savings. Place these in various investment assets and leave them alone. Over time, these assets will grow in value. Simply keep adding to your savings and wait. For the average person, it takes a very long time to earn the requisite million.

Did You Know?

Million-dollar game shows aren’t as old as you think. The $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime was the first quiz show to offer a regular million-dollar cash prize to its contestants. It premiered in 1986. But the contestants didn’t just receive a grand sum for them to spend at once. They instead received their million through an annuity.

Let’s use our calculator above to illustrate this point. In our example, we’ll assume you’ve stabilized your finances and saved a modest $20,000 in a dedicated investment account. Your account has an expected annual yield of 12 percent. You’ve set your checking account to automatically deposit $750 to your savings every other week on payday. Here’s how long it’ll take you to reach 1 million dollars:

Investment Account
Starting Principal: $20,000.00
Biweekly Deposit: $750
Anticipated Rate of Return: 12%
Expected Inflation Rate: 2%

Total Amount Investment$338,000.00
Total Returns$677,750.00
Years to Earn $1,000,00016
Equivalent Future Value of $1,000,000$728,445.81

If you maintained your savings, you would reach your million-dollar goal in 16 years. You can speed up this goal by adding more money to your savings and saving windfall cash. This can only be achieved, however, if your money stays in your investments. If you can increase your rate of savings, you can achieve your million-dollar go in even less time.

Pigly's Tip!

Time is your greatest ally in wealth building. If you start early, you can use an aggressive investment strategy that favors stocks. As explained below, they offer the best returns over a long time horizon.

Planning Around Inflation

One of the biggest challenges to building your millions is inflation. Over time, money loses its value. The money you have today is probably worth a lot less than the same dollar value several decades ago. This is also the reason why the richest people in the olden days give today’s billionaires a run for their money.

Often, pay rises with inflation. Well-established people in the workforce rarely feel the crunch as a result. However, it becomes a problem when you retire and begin relying on your investments for income.

In different contexts, inflation can be friend or foe to your wealth-building plans. Inflation reduces your money’s buying power. For the new millionaire, this means that the wealth they’ve worked so hard isn’t worth as much as when they started.

On the other hand, inflation can let you leverage debt to your advantage. Fixed-interest mortgages on real property have fixed monthly payments. These monthly payments remain the same throughout the life of the loan. While rents and profits continue to soar, your debts remain the same on paper. This can be good news for both debtors and real estate investors. A savvy investor can use debts and inflation to work in their long-term favor.

Your Wealth-Building Options

Investment 101.
Sound investments work better than lifelines.

Contrary to what the cartoons tell you, rich people don’t leave their wealth lying around their homes. Much of the wealth of the typical millionaire is in assets that grow in value over time. Only a part of that money will be in the form of liquid cash.

A comprehensive Harvard study tracked the real rate of return of standard asset classes over the past century. In contrast to nominal returns, those seen on paper, real rates of return are adjusted for inflation. The data below compares the real and nominal rates of return for these asset classes from 1950 to 2015.

Asset ClassNominal Rate of ReturnReal Rate of Return
Treasury Bills5.39%0.88%
Real Estate12.27%7.42%

Money-based investments (treasury bills and bonds) are among the most secure of investments. Your returns are more or less guaranteed. However, they are susceptible to inflation. Erratic investments like stocks hold more short-term risks but offer better long-term returns. Real estate is cyclical; it offers better returns in some years than others but it often keeps its value.

How much of your savings should go to which asset class is dependent on your risk tolerance. Not everybody can weather the rise and fall of stocks at once. How much risk you can afford to take is based on your age and financial standing. While young people can wait out their risks for longer, they often don’t have a lot of money to invest aggressively. Older adults often have larger cash flows but can’t risk as much because they’re so close to retirement. Examine your financial standing before choosing the right mix of assets.

Your Home, Your Million

Although still subject to market forces, real estate is resilient to inflation. Your home could be the biggest contributor to your net worth, depending on its location. Real estate tends to grow in value over the long term. If you bought your home with a fixed-rate mortgage, your home will grow in value even as your debt shrinks.

Many American homeowners today are “equity rich.” This is when they own a greater share in their homes (home equity) than they owe in their mortgages. Thus, your house will often be the biggest contributor to your net worth. Being equity-rich is often how most people become millionaires on paper.

The Business Route

The most famous rags to riches stories are often those of business people. The entrepreneur has been romanticized to oblivion and back. What most people don’t always realize is how risky entrepreneurship is as a decision. Most people just see the successful venture, not the many disheartening false starts that came before it.

What makes entrepreneurship risky as a venture is that it is also your job. When it goes belly-up, you lose your income source unless you worked a second job on the side. The risks and complexity involved far surpass that of merely investing your money. If you plan it right, however, you may find yourself with a very lucrative income source.

One of the key elements to making it big through business is understanding the market. The key is to “see a need, fill a need.” Satisfy an unmet demand and you create a ready market for your business. This increases your enterprise’s chance of short- and long-term success.

Ultimately, what a successful business does is increase your cash flow. As with any source of income, it works best when paired with good financial habits and sensible saving.

Assessing Your Spending

Mansion with foreclosure.
Reckless spending is always a bad idea.

People today are inundated with feel-good listicles of what the rich do that set them apart. Often, these include motivational things like odd daily habits or workaholic tendencies. The problem of many of these habits is that they are often vague and untenable unless you’re already well-off. There’s one habit, however, that makes some wealthy people stand out: sensible spending.

As we’ve discussed earlier, the key to building wealth is to dedicate a steady amount to your savings. One way to do this is by spending less. The rich, in the words of fantasy author Terry Pratchett, buy better quality goods that let them spend less. Many of the world’s richest people defy the stereotypes associated with the rich and famous. Successful business people often live simple lifestyles that eschew excess.

Conspicuous consumption is one of the biggest obstacles to wealth building. Too often, people end up spending more money on expensive things they neither need nor want. Before the Great Recession, people were obsessed with superficial shows of material wealth. Too many spent savings and got into debt playing an endless game of catch up with their neighbors.

By spending too much money trying to look rich, you may never be rich. Far too many people, from celebrities to the average person, learned this the hard way. They end up in massive debt by buying things that didn’t make them any happier. Instead of expensive frivolities, spend your money on quality items and revenue-generating investments.

Pigly's Tip!

Create an emergency fund and break free from the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. In extreme cases, you might need to tighten your belts until you’ve had contingencies in place. But it’s all temporary. Once you’ve built enough emergency savings to fall back on, you can begin planning for your other financial goals.

The Bottom Line

Effective wealth building is done through small, sensible steps. Before you even consider making long-term investments, you must stabilize your everyday finances. Set aside time to trace your cash flow. From there, plan a strict yet flexible budget that has room for extra money. Make it your goal to create a steady stream of income to build your savings.

Change the way you think about your everyday budget. Treat your personal savings as another vital expense you can’t cut back on. Once you’ve stabilized your budget, increase the amount of money that goes to your savings. This increase in capital will slowly but surely bolster your savings and help you reach your goals faster.

Tax efficiency is another cornerstone of wealth-building. When depositing savings, consider prioritizing your tax-deferred investments first. Your earnings there will grow without taxation for the entire time. Often, you likely fall into a smaller tax bracket by retirement. Leaving your money to grow tax-free lets you enjoy lower taxes when you do start withdrawing from your funds.

As the old aphorism goes, fools soon part with their money. But don’t let the quest for wealth make you a miser. Remember that money is a means to an end. Upon achieving financial freedom, you now have the privilege to fund the things you want. After all, you worked hard for the money. Go ahead and reward yourself when the time comes, albeit with some restraint.

Want to live in a mansion or ride a sports car? Fund your kids’ educational aspirations? Make the world a better place? Now’s your chance. But be wise with your expenses so you can continue living in comfort.

Making room for savings is your first step toward wealth building. For more on building a better budget, check out our cash flow and irregular expense calculators.

About The Author

Jose Abuyuan is a web content writer, fictionist, and digital artist hailing from Las Piñas City. He is a graduate of Communication and Media Studies at San Beda College Alabang, who took his internship in the weekly news magazine the Philippines Graphic. He has authored works professionally for over a decade.

Thanks for Reading

Please come again!