Anyone, and I mean anyone, can become a 401(k) millionaire if given enough time. According to Fidelity, the number of 401(k) millionaires on their platform has grown an astounding 25% this year. That doesn’t include all retirement account millionaires (those combining assets in all their retirement accounts). Keep reading as we share the reasonably easy steps to put yourself on the path to becoming a 401(k) millionaire.
1) Open A 401(k) Account
Sometimes the most challenging part of anything is just getting started. The first step to becoming a 401(k) millionaire is opening your 401(k) account. Don’t be scared; it is straightforward.
Assuming you have a job that offers a 401(k) plan. This employee benefit will only help if you open the account. If your organization provides a 401(k) match, you would be crazy not to set up an account and get what is essentially free money from your employer.
If you are self-employed, take the time to set up a 401(k) for your business. If you make more than $500,000 per year, consider setting up a Cash Balance Pension Plan in addition to your 401(k) Profit Sharing plan.
2) Contribute Enough To Your 401(k) Account
The second step towards becoming a 401(k) millionaire is determining how much to contribute to your 401(k). Below, we will share some of the math of building a millionaire retirement account. A rough rule of thumb is to save at least 10% of your salary into a retirement account. If you start late or want to quickly become a 401(k) millionaire, you will want to save even more.
The tax benefits of contributing to a 401(k) can help make these contributions easier to make. You will not owe income taxes on the amount you contribute to your 401(k) each year. The maximum contribution to your 401(k) in 2023 is $22,500. For those age 50 or older, you can make an additional $7,500 catch-up contribution each year. Self-employed individuals or business owners could potentially save $66,000 per year, plus the catch-up contribution if they are 50 or older.
3) Invest Your 401(k) Contributions
Becoming a 401(k) millionaire without contributing $1 million into your retirement account will require investing your funds. If you want to do it the slow and hard way by contributing $22,500 per year and just having it sit there, it will take around 45 years to become a 401(k) millionaire. Assuming a 10% return on your investments, it would take 18 years with the same $22,500 contribution per year.
4) Take The Time To Become A 401(k) Millionaire
Becoming a 401(k) millionaire takes time. There are annual contribution limits to your 401(k) plan, so at a minimum, we are talking about a few years for anyone to become a 401(k) millionaire. Here are some rough calculations to become a 401(k)-millionaire, depending on how long you have to reach this big milestone. We are assuming an eight-percent return on your retirement account investment.
Forty-eight years require about $170 per month.
Thirty years require about $735 per month.
Twenty years require about $1,821 per month.
Ten years require about $5,755 per month. (Which is above the maximum 401(K) contribution limits unless you are self-employed and over age 50).
Five years require about $14,205 per month (which is obviously above the contribution limits.)
As you can see here, the earlier you start investing for retirement, the easier it will be to become a 401(k) millionaire.
5) Don’t Make The Mistake Of Raiding Your 401(k)
Following these prior four steps should have you well on your way to becoming a 401(k) millionaire. However, if you make the mistake of raiding your 401(k) before retirement, you will significantly reduce your chance of achieving financial freedom. You will also get hit with taxes and penalties on withdrawals. Not raiding your 401(k) when times get tough is essential to accumulating enough retirement assets to maintain your standard of living in retirement.
Follow these simple steps, and you should be on your way to becoming a real-life 401(K) millionaire. While a million-dollar balance in your 401(k) is a huge accomplishment, most people reading this post will likely need to accumulate even more retirement assets to have the retirement they dream of. Work with your fiduciary financial planner to determine your financial freedom number.