13-year-old Chicago resident Michael wanted to become a millionaire, but he didn’t want to work 86 years at the Illinois minimum wage in order to get there.
How could this middle schooler accomplish his goal without turning to crime or workaholism?
This inspiring story from Dave Ramsey tells us how.
Dave Ramsey’s story:
Ben and Arthur were friends who grew up together. At age 19, Ben decided to invest $2,000 every year for eight years. He picked investment funds that averaged a 12% interest rate. Then, at age 26, Ben stopped putting money into his investments. That’s right — Ben stopped investing at age 26. He put a total of just $16,000 into his investment funds.
Before you jump to the conclusion that Ben just made a terrible mistake, read on for Ben’s jaw-dropping, fantastic result.
Arthur took a different path.
Arthur didn’t start investing until age 27. At 27, though, Arthur made a commitment to invest $2,000 every single year for 39 years — also at a 12% interest rate. The amount Arthur invested added up to a whopping $78,000 over 39 years. Wow! This was much more than the paltry $16,000 Ben invested! Surely Arthur must have ended up wealthier in the long run, right?
Read on for the surprising answer.
When both Ben and Arthur turned 65, they decided to compare their investment accounts. Who do you think had more? Ben, with his total of $16,000 invested over eight years, or Arthur, who invested $78,000 over 39 years?
Believe it or not, Ben — with his little $16,000 investment — came out ahead! $700,000 ahead!
At retirement Arthur had a total of $1,532,166, while Ben had a total of $2,288,996. How did Ben do it?
The key: COMPOUND INTEREST.
Every dollar that Ben earned in interest increased his little pile of money, causing him to earn even more interest the following year. This continued, month after month and year after year — until by the time he was 27 Ben had a money-making machine in place, cranking out cash while he slept!
Compound interest helped Ben to turn $16,000 into almost $2.3 million.
The Key Strategy
The key is to start investing early. Students, you need to know this: investing a relatively small amount of money can result in a huge future pay-off — if you start early.
Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze are the New York Times bestselling authors of the book Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win With Money. In my QUICK START Guide for parents who want to get kids through college debt free, I highly recommend the tools and resources available from Dave Ramsey that are available here.
Some 10th graders reading this post right now are thinking: “Wow. What if I did something truly radical and brilliant that could make me a millionaire!? What if I completed two years of dual enrollment college classes during high school so that I would have two whole years of college completed by age 18. Then, what if, at age 18, I took the radical step of staying home with my parents for one year, working two jobs for as many hours as I could, and saving and investing $16,000 or more. I could finish my last two years of college when I was 19 – 21, and still have my bachelors degree an entire year earlier than almost everyone else in my high school class!”
For some very clever, very strategic students who get along well with their parents — this idea is a potential goldmine.
“Wait a minute — won’t a student who just saved up $16,000 lose out on financial aid at age 20 because of being too rich?”
Nope! Remember, money that a student squirrels away in retirement accounts isn’t considered in financial aid calculations at all.
Parents, you can encourage this!
Some parents encourage this kind of investing by teens and 20-somethings by offering to match the funds their children put into long-term investment accounts. Students, it can’t hurt to ask your parents: “Hey, if I find a way to put $20 a week into an investment account, would you consider putting in $20 a week too? We could start using some of the Jeannie Burlowski strategies in her frugality blog post to scrape up the spare cash!”
To see my blog post encouraging students to put their saved money into a Roth IRA BEFORE December 31 of the junior year of high school in order to get more financial aid for college — click here.
Would you like free, clear, step-by-step help getting your kids through college debt free?
Subscribe to my weekly email newsletter using the form on this site, and then open it every single time it lands in your email inbox. For up-to-the-minute help for your individual situation — including specific instructions on how to get your 10th grader into “dual enrollment” college classes that can earn him real college credit starting in 11th grade — click on your child’s age in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website.
Did you show this post to your teen? What kind of response did you get? What are some other methods parents can use to encourage kids to invest early on rather than go into debt? Comment below, or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook and let’s talk about it there.
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Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie Burlowski is a full-time consultant, author, and conference speaker. She helps parents set their kids up to graduate college debt free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward is due out within months. You can find Jeannie’s free, clear, step-by-step help for parents in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website. Follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.
“We only got around to doing a fraction of what Jeannie tells people to do in the free help on her website, and we saved well over $50,000 on college costs. Our daughter earned a four year degree from an excellent private university at age 20, and she’s now in California happily working her dream job at Disney. Get to one of Jeannie’s live classes if you can. Buy a plane ticket if you have to!” — Liz and Tim Weatherhead, parents, Bloomington, MN