Young Adults are Time Millionaires

If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you’re already a millionaire.

But you may be saying how can that be? I’ve got student loan debt, maybe a little saved, and a home with a big mortgage. Millionaires are gray haired people in big homes on Lake Minnetonka who drive Porsches and own boats, right?

Well yes, but you have something they don’t—time. That’s why Morgan Housel recently coined the term “time millionaire” for young people.

As I’ve written about before, compound interest is an exponential function with time as the exponent. This means the main determinant of your lifetime investment returns is when you start investing and how long you continue to invest.

To illustrate this, let’s use a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you have 35 years to invest, and you simply return the long-term average US stock market return of 10%.1

How much money would you have to put away every month to save $1 million?

$1000? $5000? $10,000?



$261 per month for 35 years, earning the average return, makes you a hypothetical millionaire. That is what we mean by time millionaire. Nothing special needs to be done besides the foresight to begin saving right now and the discipline to continue saving for long periods of time. This example assumes that you continue to contribute monthly for the full 35 years and won’t take any withdrawals.2

As we begin our adult lives, we may feel like we’re at the bottom of the totem pole. We may look longingly at those further along the path who have that cushy job or that nice house you dream of. But it’s important to recognize we have strengths too, like time, which we can take advantage of to get ahead down the road.

That is easier said than done. Life will get in the way. Expenses will add up. Friends will have other ideas on how you should invest your money. If you’d like help on how to get started and coaching to stay on track, feel free to reach out to me.

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Calvin McKenney

Author: Calvin McKenney

Cal is a financial advisor at Fortune Financial in Minnetonka, Minn. When you work with Cal, you receive a lifelong ally who is committed to listening to you, researching your options, weighing tried and true methods with the latest strategies, and finally, empowering you to make a decision that supports your overall wellbeing.

Calvin is a registered representative and investment advisor representative of Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC.

1Sources: Morningstar, Inc. 2022 Fundamentals for Investors compound interest calculator

This hypothetical example is for illustrative purposes only. Not based on any particular investment. Assumes 10% annual return. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed, may be worth more or less than originally invested. These values assume that the currently illustrated non-guaranteed elements will continue unchanged for all years shown. This is not likely to occur, and actual results may be more or less favorable than those shown. All return assumptions are net of expenses and does not factor in taxes associated with investing.  Investment returns will fluctuate and when redeemed, may be worth more or less than originally invested.

Cal is a registered representative and investment advisor representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc. 5501696/DOFU 3-2023