Let’s say you begin contributing $5,000 annually to an empty Roth IRA when you are 20 years old, and the expected rate of return is 7%, with marginal tax rate of 25%. At 65 years old, your IRA would have a balance of $1,528,759. A million and a half. Use the money wisely, and you will have nothing to worry about for the rest of your life.
But what if you waited five years? At retirement you would have $1,068,048. Still over a million, but $460,711 is certainly nothing to sneeze at. If you wait another five years, that number becomes $739,567. Another five? $505,365.
You can always work more hours. Perhaps even get a better paying job. But for that person who waited until he was 35 to start contributing to his Roth IRA, he will never be able to see that 1.5 million dollars in his IRA. You cannot force money to grow. It takes time.
Time is a unique resource that is absolutely non-renewable and universally scarce. It truly is the greatest common denominator for all. It is something that is constant for everyone and outside of our control. All we can do is choose what to do with it. Inaction is not an option either, because time will flow no matter what you choose—or not choose—to do. There are always consequences. Time lost, therefore, is one of humanity’s greatest sorrows.
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecc. 12:1); “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13).
I assure you, every moment you wait and every day you put off has an impact on the spiritual matters directly or indirectly related your family, friends, and everyone and everything else with which you come in contact in your life. Most of all, every moment that we waste is equivalent to the abundant growth, potential, and opportunities that God has instilled within every one of us. When we let time get out of control, we are robbing ourselves of such blessings. We cannot force growth or “put more in,” so to speak, regarding our souls. Like a retirement fund, we must start as early as possible and be diligent. With consistent contribution over time…God will give the growth. Let us remember to not waste our time, as time truly is our greatest asset.