How to invest $100,000 to make $1 million

Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty ImagesInvesting takes patience.

If you want to get rich quick, we have some bad news.

Most of us don’t have the time, knowledge, or risk tolerance to multiply our money quickly. Even then, experts say hot and of-the-moment investments that promise big returns – think Bitcoin or individual stock picking – aren’t actually the best way to make money while investing.

Granted, any investment in the stock market is risky, but there are some strategies that offer a much higher chance of earning a return on your investment – but patience is essential. The easiest and safest way to grow your money is to invest it in the stock market, make automatic and consistent contributions, and simply wait.

Using SmartAsset’s investment calculator, we estimated what the average investor would need to do to turn $US100,000 into $US1 million. Assuming a 7% rate of return (remember that returns aren’t guaranteed when you invest), the investor would need to make an initial contribution of $US100,000 and put in about $US155 a month for 30 years to end up with $US1 million.

For a shorter time horizon of 25 years, the investor would need to contribute about $US530 a month on top of the initial investment to reach $US1 million. To get there in 20 years, an investor would need to make monthly contributions of about $US1,150.

How long it takes $US100,000 to become $US1 millionAndy Kiersz/Business Insider

So it’s not impossible to start with $US100,000 and end up with $US1 million – but it’s going to take some time, and you have to keep saving.

Financial planners recommend putting your money in index funds, a type of passive investment that exposes investors to a broad selection of stocks in order to diversify and, ultimately, minimise risk. They’re low-cost and regularly outperform actively managed funds. Plus, Warren Buffett is fan.

Rather than choosing and buying individual stocks, an index fund allows an investor to own a small piece of every company or asset in the fund. Many index funds track the S&P 500, which is the 500 largest US companies, including Google, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, and General Electric.

An index fund, whether in the form of a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF), is the ultimate “set-and-forget” investment. With the S&P 500’s average annual return rate of 7% after inflation, it’s difficult for the average investor to beat an index fund’s performance.

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Ultimately, the longer an investment sits in the market, the more time it has to compound – an investing term that refers to a sum of money snowballing into more money after earning interest on itself.

One of the best tools to get started in investing in an index fund with is a retirement account such as a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA). These accounts take automatic contributions from your paycheck before taxes, so there’s no heavy lifting on the investors’ part. Just be sure to find out what you’re paying in management and account fees – large plans typically charge about 1% of the investment portfolio, while small plans can charge more than 2%.

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