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The amazing secret to getting rich slowly

The amazing secret to getting rich slowly

One of the greatest sources of wealth is getting your money to work harder than you do. This is achieved through the power of compounding.

Time, patience, and a bit of money is all it takes.

One of the greatest sources of wealth is getting your money to work harder than you do. This is achieved through the power of compounding.

The problem with compounding is that it only works with time – there is no get-rich-quick scheme involved. While powerful, it requires patience.

This is partly why so many wealthier people are either older or have benefited from inter-generational wealth – money that has had generations of time to keep growing.

Many people will be familiar with Warren Buffet. Before he gave his money away, he was the richest man in the world. He started buying Coca-Cola shares with his paper-round money at the age of 11. He never sold them.

He just kept buying shares and sticking them in his drawer, leaving time to do its work. Yet even Buffett had to wait until he was a pensioner before becoming uber-wealthy.

While most of us would be quite happy to have $40 million by our 40s, Buffett only experienced exponential growth once he was in his 60s. It is this exponential curve of compounding that makes it so powerful.

For example, if you receive a 10% return on your investment, your money doubles every seven years. But what does that really mean?

Let’s say you invest a lump sum of R100 000. In seven years, R100 000 doubles to R200 000.

In the next seven years, R200 000 doubles to R400 000.

Then in the next seven years, R400 000 doubles to R800 000.

And in the next seven years, R800 000 doubles to R1,6 million.

So, while the period remains the same for each doubling of your investment, the actual rand amount of the growth starts to escalate. The last seven years is 15 times more valuable than the first seven years.

How does this apply to your retirement savings?

Due to compounding growth, R60 000 saved over 10 years can be more valuable than R150 000 saved over 25 years.

If you save R500 per month from the age of 25 to 35, and then stop contributing and leave the money in an investment earning 12% on average a year, you would have nearly R2 million by the time you turn 60.

Over 10 years you would have contributed R60 000, and the rest of the growth is due to the power of compounding.

In comparison, if you started saving R500 per month at the age of 35 and continued to save R500 for the next 25 years, until the age of 60, you would have contributed R150 000, but you would only have R939 000.

Remember that this amount does not take inflation into account, so it is not R2 million in today’s buying value.

By that time, your R2 million would buy you the same basket of goods that R658 000 would buy you today, assuming inflation is around 5%.

Even so, just by starting to save early, you can grow R60 000 to R658 000 in today’s value – by having patience and letting time create the wealth.

Maya Fisher-French

Change expert, Maya Fisher-French, believes that the big change equals big opportunity.

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