The Million Dollar Grid


Behold. The million dollar grid.

This grid shows how many years it will take you to save $1 million based on how much you save each year and your annual return on your investments. 

The grid assumes you are starting at $0.

An Example Using the Grid

Here’s an example of the math behind the grid. If you save $20,000 per year and invest these savings at a 5% interest rate, you can be a millionaire in 25 years:


Some Interesting Observations

  • Starting with $0, you can become a millionaire in 30 years by saving $1,000 per month and investing it at a 5% annual interest rate.
  • You can also become a millionaire in 30 years by saving only $500 per month (so $6,000 per year) and investing it at a 10% annual interest rate.
  • The more you save, the less investing returns influence how many years it will take to become a millionaire. For example, by saving $50,000 per year and earning 5% annual returns, you’ll be a millionaire in 14 years. By increasing your annual investment returns to 10%, you’ll only become a millionaire 3 years sooner…
  • …The opposite is also true. The less you save, the more influential investing returns become. By saving just $2,000 per year with 5% returns, it will take you 66 years to become a millionaire. But by saving that same amount with 10% returns, you can become a millionaire in only 41 years.
  • Even with pitiful 2% annual returns, you can become a millionaire in just over 30 years by saving $2,000 per month (so $24,000 per year).


Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.

Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.

His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.

His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.

His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.

His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.


Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.

7 Replies to “The Million Dollar Grid”

  1. Zach, your graphs are awesome! Could you please provide this same graph but the y axis extended so that it goes all the way up to 200k/year? (If this wouldn’t be too time consuming on your part of course). I figure that kind of aggressive savings is possible for individuals with high salaries (or, more likely, couples with high salaries).

    Thanks in advance!

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