Being a millionaire isn’t everything. Despite the glamour of it all, having seven figures in your bank account isn’t the source of all happiness — and it definitely isn’t the only way to have a comfortable retirement.
So long as you put a few hundred dollars into a retirement account each month, you could retire with a cool million yourself (we did the math!). Currently being a millionaire? Not required.
Even if you’re not in your 20’s anymore, and you haven’t started saving for retirement, it’s not too late. Start now with these smart financial moves that can grow your wealth and have you retiring in style.
1. Make Smart, Strategic Investments
The stock market averages about 7% growth each year. And while it does have its ups and downs, over time, it tends to go up. Which is why investing is such an important part of building up a retirement fund.
The problem is that sometimes it feels like investing is only for the super rich, who own shares of the world’s biggest companies.
And if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.
But with an app called Stash, it doesn’t have to be. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — on Stash you can buy pieces of other companies for as little as $1.
That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and more for as little as $1. The best part? If these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.1
It takes two minutes to sign up, and it’s totally secure. With Stash, all your investments are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — that’s industry talk for, “Your money’s safe.”2
Plus, when you use the link above, Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.*
2. Stop Overpaying Your Monthly Bills
Finding extra cash on the street each month would be an easy way to build up your retirement savings. But since the likelihood of that happening is pretty low, you need to go searching for that money yourself.
Start by looking at the bills you have to pay each month — are you spending more than you need to? If you haven’t looked for new car insurance in a few months, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars that would be better off in a savings account.
You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $489 a year.
Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
3. Grow Your Savings 16x Faster
Part of being prepared for retirement is having a good chunk of money available now, too. If you have a healthy savings account, you won’t have to worry about dipping into your retirement fund early (which can come with hefty fees!).
But you still want to make sure that money is going to grow, right? Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.06% is nothing these days.)
But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cash back and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account.
Not too shabby!
Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash. Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
4. Invest in Real Estate (Even if You’re Not a Millionaire)
The stock market can be a scary place. Stock prices shoot up and down like a roller coaster ride, and who knows when the whole thing might crash?
It would be nice to diversify and invest some of your money in real estate, but don’t you have to be wealthy to do that?
Now you can invest like the 1% does, and all you need to get started is $500. A company called DiversyFund will invest your money in private real estate — specifically, in apartment buildings it co-owns with its investors — and you only need $500.
You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolio through their online dashboard — like a 54-unit apartment complex in Salt Lake City, Utah, or a 30-unit waterfront property in Stuart, Florida. And you don’t have to experience the headaches that come with being a landlord — DiversyFund does all the heavy lifting for you.
Real estate has historically been very stable compared to the stock market. Over the long term, investing in the stock market will earn you an average annual return of 7%, adjusted for inflation, according to a number of studies. DiversyFund can’t guarantee how its investments will perform in the future — no one can — but historically, real estate has outperformed the stock market for the past 30 years.
So you don’t need a fortune to invest in real estate. All you need to get started is $500.