The Key to Financial Success? Here’s How Millionaires Answer

What is the best way to save up $1 million? In this year’s annual Wealth and Values Survey, PNC Wealth Management asks millionaires that same question. Here is how they answered…


The most common answer is no surprise to readers here on Begin To Invest. Over half (56 Percent) cited “saving early and regularly” as the most important key to their financial success.


Second place was a tie (with 38 percent) between “smart investment decisions” and “controlling spending”


Key to Financial Success


“For individuals who aspire to be millionaires, the survey results are positive. The most likely path to building wealth is not through inheritance, marriage or luck,” said Joseph Jennings, director of nvestments for PNC Wealth Management. “Most of the millionaires surveyed have controlled their own destiny by working hard and saving early and regularly.”



The study polled nearly 1,000 high net worth individuals. More details on the study can be found on PNC’s website here:

Survey Data

Press Release


Why is saving early so important?


Consider the following example of someone investing today compared to waiting 10 years to invest:


Person 1 contributes $1,000 a year to his retirement account starting at age 20 until he turns 34, for a total of $15,000 saved.  Person 1 does not contribute another dollar to his account. The money grows in a tax-friendly retirement account such as a Roth IRA until he retires at age 65. His investment grows at a rate of 7%, the average return of the S&P 500 index over the last 55 years.


Compare that situation to Person 2, who waits until age 30 to start investing $1,000 a year. Person 2 puts away $1,000 a year into a retirement account for the next 35 years, until he reaches 65 years old. Person 2 has saved a total of $35,000 ($20,000 more than Person 1), and will see that investment grow at the same historical average rate of 7%.

How do these situations play out in the long run?

Person 1 has saved $15,000, and got started 10 years earlier.

While Person 2 saved $35,000, but got started 10 years later.

Importance of saving early and often

At age 65:

Person 1 will have $206,148.

Compared to Person 2, who will have only $149,660.

Even though Person 1 saved $20,000 less, they will end up with more than $56,000 more than person 2!


If this is not motivation for new investors to get started saving and investing, I am not sure what is.


Related: Interested in more? One of the most popular posts on Begin To Invest has been our post: “How much do you have to save each year for a million dollars” – Check it out here:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *