## If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

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ahmadcpa
Posts: 139
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:58 pm

### If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

Hello all,

I know the numbers can be mathematically derived but I was hoping to find a website than gives that sort of data. What I am looking for is how much money would I have by now had I been maxing my 401K since I began working which is age 22. I am 45 now. I guess the returns would differ based on the funds or the investment mix I would have chosen but I tell myself there is gotta be a website that'll do this for ya. So in summary, I want to plug the following
1- The 401K contribution amount
2- The fund choice or investment mix
3- The year I would have began investment
4- The year I would have stopped investing

Result: How much would the 401K balance be?

Anyone knows of a website that can do this?

eagleeyes
Posts: 102
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:49 pm

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

I like 401kfee.com

DavidW
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:14 pm

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

If you are well versed with spreadsheet, you can download the performance and come up with the number. It will be more flexible (adjust for income, contribution, life events...)

But, you may not be able to sleep well if you know how much you could have
Last edited by DavidW on Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

krow36
Posts: 1940
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:05 pm
Location: WA

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

Although this one is labeled for a 403b, it should do the job: https://www.360financialliteracy.org/Ca ... ?fpath=197

SDLinguist
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:39 pm

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

Best not to look back but to look forward. Given a retirement age of 65 you still have a 20 year time horizon. See what you could have in the future if you start now!

I'm only 28 and I don't want to know what I could have now if I had started at 22. Forward not back!

youngpleb
Posts: 229
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:06 pm
Location: VA, USA

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

PortfolioVisualizer has what you want. Go to their website and click the “Backtest Asset Allocation” option.
SDLinguist wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:11 am
Best not to look back but to look forward. Given a retirement age of 65 you still have a 20 year time horizon. See what you could have in the future if you start now!

I'm only 28 and I don't want to know what I could have now if I had started at 22. Forward not back!
I agree. I’m 27 and the what-if thought eats away at me sometimes too, but it’s much better to just be looking forward.
27. Always learning.

MathIsMyWayr
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:47 pm
Location: CA

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

hightower
Posts: 512
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:28 am

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

I think it's a useful exercise for people first starting out. When I first started to pay attention to money/investing/personal finance, I did a similar thing and ran some numbers of where I could have been had I paid off my student loans earlier, not bought a house when I did/bought a cheaper house, saved more during residency, saved more my first few years as an attending, etc, etc. I think it's okay to do this to learn the power of starting early and being consistent, but it's also important not to obsess over it and get negative in your thinking. It's fun to see the "what ifs" though.

livesoft
Posts: 62855
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

youngpleb wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:20 am
PortfolioVisualizer has what you want. Go to their website and click the “Backtest Asset Allocation” option.
How does Portfolio Visualizer have this? Does it know the maximum legal contribution for each historical year for 401(k) contributions?

My spouse and I have made the maximum legal contributions to our 401(k) / 403(b) since we started working, so that includes the years the OP is interested in. Our balances differ by about \$200,000 despite the same amount of contributions. The difference can be attributed to a few things:

1. Front-end loads charged in spouse's 401(k) in the early days.
2. Amount of company match, if any.
3. Investment selections and their fees.
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indexonlyplease
Posts: 1287
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:30 pm
Location: Florida

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

We can all guess what would of had but it's hard to account for all the investing mistakes one could make. Anyone with a long history of investing has made many mistakes along the way. So, there is only the dream of a perfect investment. Which you could start now if you follow the advise on the blog.

Maybe something as simple as the Target Dated Fund is all you need to keep the mistakes from happening again.

Forget the past but learn from the mistakes of others.

tibbitts
Posts: 8101
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

ahmadcpa wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:42 pm
Hello all,

I know the numbers can be mathematically derived but I was hoping to find a website than gives that sort of data. What I am looking for is how much money would I have by now had I been maxing my 401K since I began working which is age 22. I am 45 now. I guess the returns would differ based on the funds or the investment mix I would have chosen but I tell myself there is gotta be a website that'll do this for ya. So in summary, I want to plug the following
1- The 401K contribution amount
2- The fund choice or investment mix
3- The year I would have began investment
4- The year I would have stopped investing

Result: How much would the 401K balance be?

Anyone knows of a website that can do this?
I don't, but I also think you may be the only person who would want this information.

TX_Drew
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 11:37 am

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

I started at 23...probably hit max by 25-26ish. 6% match. 90/10 split.

It’s been 18 years, around 725k balance today.

Just do the pay roll deduction and build budget on what’s left. Not rocket science, but I did feel a bit poor after all those deductions.

FYI, my cars have always been 10-20k less than colleagues. And if I want that Range Rover or Tesla, I can write a check. Not that I would.

Nate79
Posts: 3710
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

If you could get the monthly returns for each of the funds that you hold going back to when you were 22 you could make a spreadsheet and figure it out. You would need to take into account monthly investment amount, how much match you were getting each year, and then the actual monthly returns of the funds.

To have any sort of accuracy I think you would have to do this on your own.

Cycle
Posts: 851
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: USA

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

I started maxing when I was 24, was contributing when I was 22.

I've got 470k in my 401k at age 34. I have 70k in my Roth. 40k in brokerage. \$190k in home equity. No debt or mortgage.

I don't have a super high salary, but save a lot.

Watty
Posts: 14574
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

ahmadcpa wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:42 pm
Anyone knows of a website that can do this?
You can do that in Firecalc and it will show you how that it would have done in the past.

One thing to keep in mind that is that the maximum amount may have changed over the years.

youngpleb
Posts: 229
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:06 pm
Location: VA, USA

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

livesoft wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:33 am
youngpleb wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:20 am
PortfolioVisualizer has what you want. Go to their website and click the “Backtest Asset Allocation” option.
How does Portfolio Visualizer have this? Does it know the maximum legal contribution for each historical year for 401(k) contributions?
Ah dang it, yup I always forget about that pesky limit updating! I’m a newb they should add that feature to PA though...that would be cool.
27. Always learning.

balbrec2
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:03 pm

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

The only reason to look back is to learn what your mistakes were.
You cant go back and relive it however. Apply the lesson to your future.
learn from the past, don't live in it!

CyclingDuo
Posts: 1836
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:07 am

### Re: If I began investing at 22 by maxing my 401K, how much would I have today?

ahmadcpa wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:42 pm
Hello all,

I know the numbers can be mathematically derived but I was hoping to find a website than gives that sort of data. What I am looking for is how much money would I have by now had I been maxing my 401K since I began working which is age 22. I am 45 now. I guess the returns would differ based on the funds or the investment mix I would have chosen but I tell myself there is gotta be a website that'll do this for ya. So in summary, I want to plug the following
1- The 401K contribution amount
2- The fund choice or investment mix
3- The year I would have began investment
4- The year I would have stopped investing

Result: How much would the 401K balance be?

Anyone knows of a website that can do this?
Have at it!

Go back to 1995 when you were 22 and compile a list of the maximum contribution allowed by the IRS from then to now. \$9240 for 1995 was the maximum an employee could contribute then. Add up the left column under employee contribution for your part, and then check with the percentage your employer(s) would have matched for each year from 1995 to present to figure out how much you could have received each year from your employer. Then figure out each year, based on your asset allocation, what you left on the table based on the returns of stocks and bonds each year for your particular asset allocation. Should keep you occupied as a little project to figure it all out.

https://www.financialsamurai.com/histor ... on-limits/

It might be rather difficult to find very many beginning workers at age 22 making the sort of salaries that allow them to max out their 401k plans unless they live at home and have expenses paid courtesy of Mom & Dad, are in a LCOL area with no student loan debt to service, have an amazing starting salary for their age, or are living like kittens with several roomies and keeping costs on the down low.

Here's somebody who started in 1996 and took a guesstimated stab with just the employee maximum contributions and 100% of it going into Vanguard S&P 500 Index fund:

https://retireby40.org/what-if-always-m ... 2353515625

So, your portion of the contribution and had it been 100% in the Vanguard S&P 500 Index fund since 1995 would have you at \$875,585 today + whatever your employer match was and the compounding of it as well.
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