# Save & Invest Even if Money Is Tight

**For millennials, today is the right time.**

**If you are under 30, you have likely heard that now is the ideal time to save and invest.** You know that the power of compound interest is on your side; you recognize the potential advantages of an early start.
**There is only one problem: you do not earn enough money to invest.** You are barely getting by as it is.
**Regardless, the saving and investing effort can still be made.** Even a minimal effort could have a meaningful impact later.
**Can you invest $20 a week?** There are 52 weeks in a year. What would saving and investing $1,040 a year do for you at age 25? Suppose the invested assets earn 7% a year, an assumption that is not unreasonable. (The average yearly return of the S&P 500 through history is roughly 10%; during 2013-17, its average return was +13.4%.) At a 7% return and annual compounding, you end up with $14,876 after a decade in this scenario, according to Bankrate’s compound interest calculator. By year 10, your investment account is earning nearly as much annually ($939) as you are putting into it ($1,040).
You certainly cannot retire on $14,876, but the early start really matters. Extending the scenario out, say you keep investing $20 a week under the same conditions for 40 years, until age 65. As you started at age 25, you are projected to have $214,946 after 40 years, off just $41,600 in total contributions.
This scenario needs adjustment considering a strong probability: the probability that your account contributions will grow over time. So, assume that you have $14,876 after ten years, and then you start contributing $175 a week to the account earning 7% annually starting at age 35. By age 65, you are projected to have $1,003,159.
Even if you stop your $20-per-week saving and investing effort entirely after 10 years at age 35, the $14,876 generated in that first decade keeps growing to $113,240 at age 65 thanks to 7% annual compounded interest.
**How do you find the money to do this?** It is not so much a matter of finding it as assigning it. A budgeting app can help: you can look at your monthly cash flow and designate a small part of it for saving and investing.
**Should you start an emergency savings fund first, then invest?** One school of thought says that is the way to go – but rather than think either/or, think both. Put a ten or twenty (or a fifty) toward each cause, if your budget allows. As ValuePenguin notes, many deposit accounts are yielding 0.01% interest.
**It does not take much to start saving and investing for retirement.** Get the ball rolling with anything, any amount, today, for the power of compounding is there for you to harness. If you delay the effort for a decade or two, building adequate retirement savings could prove difficult.

**Sources:**

**1. **nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/average-stock-market-return/

**2. **bankrate.com/calculators/savings/compound-savings-calculator-tool.aspx

**3. **valuepenguin.com/average-savings-account-interest-rates