How Much Should a 35-Year-Old Invest Monthly to be a Millionaire by 65?

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 19 August, 2022

Who wouldn’t want to achieve FIRE for retirement and live out their best lives after a lifetime of work? Here’s how you can reach a million by 65 through investing, saving, and the power of CPF.

S$100k by 30? That’s a figure that many have made it their life goal to work towards. It’s great to set ambitious financial goals to work towards if it helps motivate you to become more prudent with your savings. While it may be achievable for some with little tweaks in their lifestyle, some may not see it as a realistic goal because of other more pressing financial commitments they are tied to.

If you belong to the latter, well done! Either you’ve already achieved your goal or are making it your reality in the near future. But how about taking it one step further? If S$100k got nothing on you, maybe it’s time to face the real challenge — S$1mil by 65. Not only that, you can also aim to achieve FIRE.

Wherever you are on your wealth accumulation journey, we've broken down the exact numbers to show you how possible it is to reach a million in 30 years if you’re 35 this year. Another option is to consider getting a priority banking account that aligns with your lifestyle. For instance, if you're planning ahead for your child's education needs, the HSBC Premier account could be a wise choice with its overseas member privileges.

Our calculations are based on the assumption that you have no prior investments or savings before 35, so everyone can start on equal ground. Ready to reach a million dollars? Read on to find out how much you need to invest and save.

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How to become a millionaire?

Before we get down into the nitty-gritty, here are some habits that will help put you on the path towards a million dollars by 65 years old. These factors are non-negotiable and can very much accelerate the process of becoming a millionaire. The more disciplined and stringent you are on your cash flow, the higher your funds to invest and strive towards a million dollars.

Start saving from a young age

Saving from young can make a world of a difference when it comes to compounding. Not many realise how powerful compounding is, but it actually significantly grows your wealth. 

Let’s just say you start saving S$100 a month for 50 years from 15 years old, in the bank account that gives you 0.5% p.a. In 50 years, you would have saved S$63,000. But because of the power of compounding, you would have $68,178.45 in your bank. While it’s not an eye-popping figure, it does bring home the point that the earlier you start building your savings, the more you stand to benefit. 

Also, starting out young allows you to cultivate the habit of saving every time you receive some money. This will help you make more prudent financial decisions in the future and shape the way you view and perceive money.

Rake up more savings by signing up for a credit card and reaping the benefits!

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Avoid debt and unnecessary expenses

Debt takes you further away from your goal. Instead of saving the money, you’ll need to use a portion of your salary to pay the debt. But of course, some debts like home loans can’t be avoided and paid off overnight. So as a rule of thumb, it’s best to get rid of high-interest debt (e.g. credit card late payment) first so you can focus on saving and investing more towards your financial goal.

The same goes for unnecessary expenses. Eyeing a designer bag that you probably don’t urgently need? Sit on the purchase for a few weeks to see if it's an impulse buy. I’m all for giving yourself a treat from time to time, but if you find yourself spending a huge amount on unnecessary expenses monthly and having trouble saving up for an emergency fund, it’s time you reassess your spending habits and channel the money to somewhere more useful instead.

Work your way towards being debt-free by consolidating your debts into a single plan.

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Save 20% of your income

When it comes to budgeting, most of us are all no strangers to the 50/20/30 rule–50% on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings. If you can, saving 20% of your salary per month can definitely help in achieving your financial goals faster. But everyone’s financial situation is different, so sometimes saving 20% can be impractical for some.

Maybe you are the sole breadwinner saddled with mortgage debt, or you’re in-between odd jobs that don’t guarantee a stable income. Whatever it is, don’t bend over backwards just to try to hit the 20% rule. If you need to spend the extra money, don’t beat yourself up over it. As long as you commit to some savings per month, you’ll be able to reach your goal eventually. The point is to focus on consistency and build from there. 

Accelerate your financial goals by parking your savings into one of these high-interest savings accounts.

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Create other streams of income

Instead of relying on your monthly paycheck, help yourself achieve your S$1,000,000 goal faster by creating other streams of income to complement your main salary. Whether it’s doing freelance work, teaching tuition during the weekends or working on a side business during your free time, looking for other sources of funds will greatly increase your disposable income.

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Avoid the trap of lifestyle inflation

Lifestyle inflation happens when you spend more money because you have more money to spend. Imagine spending an average of S$2,000 for your monthly expenses, and you get a raise. In subsequent months, you end up spending S$2,500. You were working well within the S$2,000 budget before your raise, so do you really need to spend that extra S$500?

Though your salary increased, that doesn’t mean that you’re saving more because of your increase in expenses. It can be extremely tempting to “treat yourself” right after the pay raise, but be sure it doesn’t become a monthly occurrence. Save the money or invest instead — it will help you reach your financial goals faster!

How much must I invest as a 35-year-old?

Firstly, let’s assume that you start working and saving from 25 years old, so that gives you a 40-year duration to accumulate your savings and CPF funds till you reach 65. You have no prior savings beforehand and completely start from $0 at 25.

Next, we’ll also take into account the savings in your CPF Special Account (SA), instead of purely relying on your cash savings. The funds in your Ordinary Account (OA) will not be factored in as the average Singaporean uses the majority of it to finance their homes.

Thirdly, in order to have a balanced investment portfolio, a combination of low-risk and high-risk investments is ideal for balancing out the volatility. Even if you want to invest aggressively, parking your money only in high-risk investment vehicles can leave you in a vulnerable position when things go south. 

Lastly, let’s also assume that you invest and save each month consistently.

If you really just want to rely solely on investments, read on till the end to find out how much you’ll need to invest!

CPF SA Account

To illustrate an example, we’ll be using the average monthly salary of a Singaporean, which currently stands at S$6,282 (as of January 2022), without factoring in any yearly increment. 

We’ll also assume that you start working at 25 years old, which means there’s a 40-year period before you reach 65. 

Here’s how much you will have in 30 years, based on the monthly contribution of 5.5% of your salary to your SA account below 60 years old, and 4.5% from 60 to 65 years old.

Interest rate/return on investments10 years20 years30 years40 years
4% p.a.S$49,705S$123,281S$232,192S$388,391


Using the same salary as above, let’s assume you save 15% of your salary every month. Though 20% is the guideline, it might not be possible for everyone. You park your money in a savings account that earns you an interest of 0.5% p.a. regardless of the balance. You start saving money only at 35 years old.

Here's how much you would have saved in 30 years.

Interest rate/return on investments10 years20 years30 years
0.5% p.a.S$115,913S$237,769S$365,872


Factoring in your CPF SA funds and your savings, that will already give you a whopping S$754,263.26. You just need the extra boost of S$245,736.74. That is where investments come in. 

As a 35-year-old with a 30-year time horizon to reach 65 years old, here’s how much you’ll have to invest per month:

Interest rate/return on investmentsInvest per month
*1% p.a. (eg. bonds)S$100
*2.5% p.a. (eg. cash management accounts)S$100
*8% p.a. (eg. stocks)S$110
Interest rate/return on investments10 years20 years30 years
*1% p.a. (eg. bonds)S$12,555S$26,423S$41,742
*2.5% p.a. (eg. cash management accounts)S$13,444S$30,654S$52,683
*8% p.a. (eg. stocks)S$20,861S$65,897S$163,128
Total returnsS$46,859S$122,974S$257,553

*Disclaimer: Interest rates are an estimate based on market data and are non-guaranteed.

Kickstart your investment journey with one of these investment tools.

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Total funds available

Based on the calculations above, this is how much you’ll have when you reach 65 years old.

Source of funds 35 years old 45 years old 55 years old 65 years old
CPF SA S$49,705 S$123,282 S$232,192 S$388,391
Savings S$0 S$115,913 S$237,769 S$365,872
Investments S$0 S$46,859 S$122,974 S$257,553
Total S$49,705 S$286,054 S$592,935 S$1,011,816

Is it really possible to save and invest this much?

If you take a look at the figures, the amount you’ll need to commit to dollar-cost-averaging is actually very manageable. Saving 15% of your salary is also considered practical if you’ve no major financial commitments such as buying a house or setting up your family. 

However, this is just a rough gauge and the salary used is taken from Singapore’s average monthly salary. The figures for savings and CPF SA funds may be relatively difficult to reach if your salary differs greatly from the average. 

On the flip side, if you’re already earning this much, you should also consider your yearly increments from promotions or inflation, which can affect your SA funds and savings significantly.

How much do I need to invest if I don’t want to rely on savings and CPF?

Interest rate/return on investmentsInvest per month
*1% p.a. (eg. bonds)S$400
*2.5% p.a. (eg. cash management accounts)S$400
*8% p.a. (eg. stocks)S$480
Interest rate/return on investments10 years20 years30 years
*1% p.a. (eg. bonds)S$50,219S$105,691S$166,967
*2.5% p.a. (eg. cash management accounts)S$53,776S$122,614S$210,733
*8% p.a. (eg. stocks)S$83,443S$263,589S$625,323
Total returnsS$187,438S$491,895S$1,003,023

*Disclaimer: Interest rates are an estimate based on market data and are non-guaranteed.

Take a step further and sign up for priority banking to make your money work harder for you.

A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke


Use a personal loan to consolidate your outstanding debt at a lower interest rate!

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