Crisis' effect is all about life stage

"More than any other generation, these people need to be dependent on themselves. They really need to be saving and providing for their own future because we don't even know if they're going to get social security or Medicare and we know they won't get a pension," says Adam.

With time and the power of compounding, a disciplined person in their 20s or 30s can still accumulate a respectable retirement sum even at low appreciation rates. Even with a 5 percent return, a $500 monthly investment over the course of 30 years can yield a sum of $420,725. At a 7 percent annual return, that sum will grow to $610,000. And a 25-year-old who aims to retire at age 60 with $1 million only needs to start investing $575 per month to reach that goal. If the market averages out to its historic return of 10 percent, that individual will accumulate $2,073,233 by age 60.


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