How to hit a million dollar in 10-30 years?

The Business Times’s Young Investors’ forum recently published that a Singapore household earning $10,000 monthly could accumulate $1 million in 10-30 years.  I find this article quite encouraging and thus, decided to share with you readers.

The basis for the calculation is that the household consist of two working individuals earning $10,000 a month (includes CPF contribution) or $4,300 monthly each (without employer CPF). This salary according to the writer is arguably achievable by many university-educated professionals in their early 30s, assuming a starting salary of $3000 (the medium wage excluding bonuses earned by fresh graduates in 2012) and increments of $200-$300 a year. The couple is also assumed to be remain healthy and able to work and not hit by major catastrophes. So without further a do, let’s look at the calculations:


Source: The Business Times, 3 Feb 2014

As you can see there are 3 different ways of achieving a million dollars with the starting amount and the different sum of money you put in per month. The writer wants the reader to understand that these 3 ways are based on how well you manage your spending as a result different amount of saving you left to allocate into investment fund. He classified them under 3 different modes which are easy, normal and hardcore modes (sounds like gaming).

1. Easy Mode

In Easy Mode, the writer assumes little changes have to be made to their current comfortably above-average level of spending. The couple is therefore assumed to own a car, eating out at restaurants, going on holiday trips and having a maid. The expenditure is estimated to be $5800 per month which placed them in the top 20% of average household expenditure by income in 2007/2008. This would left them with a saving of about $1,000 per month for investing. Taking that after working for 5-10 years, they would have $20,000 of cash in bank to start investing with.

Therefore, with reference to the first part of the illustration above, the couple will require 33 years from the day they start investing to break the million dollar mark.  The calculation is based on a rate of return of 5% annually with returns reinvested.

2. Normal Mode

In normal mode, the couple is assumed to spend like median household, an amount that will sap away their income by $4,600. This will leave them with about $2,000 for investing which is a third of their take-home pay. As the couple in normal mode are assumed to be more thrifty than the couple in easy mode, they are assumed to have saved $50,000 in their bank to kickstart their investment journey.

Once again, using the illustration above, the couple is expected to reach a million dollar at the 20th year from the day they start investing.  This actually will save the couple 13 years of time and the timing should be well before retirement and their kids are entering into higher education.

3. Hardcore Mode

In hardcore mode, the couple is determined to reduce their spending to just the necessity so as to reach the million dollar mark as soon as possible. Their monthly expenditure is to be about $1,800 to $2,000 per month, leaving them more than $5,000 per month which is  a whopping sum of money for investing.

To digress a bit, the monthly $2,000 expenditure can be breakdown as follows:

1. Transport – $150 per pax

2. Food – $250 per pax

3. Child education (PAP Kindergarden) – $100 per child (say 2 kids)

4. Utilities, Internet/Cellphone bills – $500

5. Miscellaneous – $500 (Insurance, medical checkup etc)

Assuming the couple has saved over $100,000 in the bank to kickstart their investment and a monthly sum of $5,000 put into growing their portfolio, they will hit a million dollar in just 11 years! 


To conclude, the writer illustrated that all three groups of couple could possibly achieve a million dollar of saving for their retirement if they would to diligently manage their finances and expenditure well. It is just a matter of how soon you will achieve the target  – 30, 20 or 10 years.

In my opinion, no doubt the writer has put in the many ideal assumptions in his calculations in which these 3 groups of couples are blessed with lots of luck in order to be having such a smooth sailing life (with no surprises and catastrophes), we can still take it positively and work toward this goal. Yes, the road to financial abundance could be tough but hey, at least there is a possibility. If in the end, we could not reach the goal, but at least we should be near there, just like the old saying to always aim for the moon and land among the stars.

Last but not least, always remember that the process is just as important as the outcome. Along the way, do enjoy the process of doing personal budgeting and no matter the end result, the fruit will be tasting just as sweet! 🙂

3 thoughts on “How to hit a million dollar in 10-30 years?

  1. This is an interesting article. However, I would have liked the charts better if they had all started with the same amount for a ‘head start’ initial investment. Of course, the scenario with the largest initial investment is more likely to have the largest amount at the end.

    Also, it would have been better if this had been illustrated for couples that are earning a combined $80k or $150k a year. Since there are A LOT of industries where $40k – $75k is reasonable, even for college educated graduates. That being said, even when I’m earning 1/4 of of the salary in the above scenario, I’m still contributing slightly more than the ‘easy’ scenario. I wouldn’t call it ‘easy’, but it’s nice to know that if I keep up this pace I might be a millionaire before I die….

    • Hey Duaimei,

      Thanks for your comment!
      Yup, I do agree that the chart used could be better like having an equal starting ground. But I think the creator of this chart (the business times) just wanted to illustrate the possibility of having a million dollar at 3 different scenario. Maybe he will whipped out another chart one day? haha. I will share with you readers again if I come across any other useful information!

      As for yourself, all the best in achieving your goal k! I am sure with consistent effort, the goal will be reached. As you proceed on with your career, you will be earning more and in turn, you can expand your portfolio to shorten the duration. However as I mentioned in the post, do enjoy the process of investing too! The process is just as important as the end goal. 🙂

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