It’s common knowledge that the earlier you start saving the better. But, it might surprise you to see just how much better and how big of a role time plays in investing.

If a 25 year-old saved $250 each month at a 9% annual rate of return, at age 65 he or she would have just under $1.2 million.  But, waiting just 5 years and beginning to make the $250 monthly installments at age 30 would cost you more than $438,000, as your investment would only grow to about $741,000 by age 65. Postponing those contributions for 10 years and waiting until age 35 to begin saving $250 per month would only get you to $461,000.

If you were to procrastinate even longer and begin to save $250 per month at age 45, giving yourself just 20 years to save for retirement, you would end up with only $168,000 at age 65. This is more than $1 million less than if you had started at age 25!

This doesn’t mean that you can’t make significant positive changes to your financial picture later in life. It just means that it may be a bit more challenging. The sooner you start making smart investment decisions, the easier your road to financial success will be!

The lesson here is an easy one – whatever your age is, don’t wait to start investing for retirement.