How Much Interest Does 1 Million Dollars Earn Per Year?

by Jason Butler on February 1, 2017 · 7 comments

How Much Interest Does 1 Million Dollars Earn Per Year?
A million dollars is a lot of money. For most people, they believe that amount of cash will be a life changing ticket to easy street.  But, have you ever considered how much interest 1 million dollars could earn each year? The amount depends on the type of investment you have.  And, based on your lifestyle the interest may or may not cover your expense.  So, how much interest does a million dollars earn year?  Could you live off it?


Most people miss this, but a great way to invest one million dollars is through bonds. Depending on the amount of risk and length of the bond, you’re looking at between 1.19% and 4.63% percent interest payments. So, on a million dollars you’d get between $11,900 and $46,300 per year. A good choice for investors who want safety are treasury bonds. The current rate for a 30 year US Treasury bond is 3.43%.  This means you would get $34,300 from the one million dollars each year.  That isn’t bad, but its not great. Let’s see how much you can get by investing in some alternatives.

Savings Accounts

A regular savings account currently pays just .01% interest. If you decided to put your money in a regular savings account from a bank such as Bank of America or Chase, you could expect to earn only one thousand dollars each year.  That is basically a waste of time – money market funds and certificates of deposit pay more interest.

Money Market Funds

Money market funds pay between 0.64 and 1.0% interest. One million dollars invested in a money market fund would give you between $6,400 and $10,000 annually. Better than a savings account, but still not as good as bonds.

Certificates of Deposit

Certificates of deposit typically pay more than savings accounts – although not much more.  The interest rate on certificates of deposit is between 1.40 and 2.85% interest. So if you put a million bucks into this asset class you’d have $14,000 to $28,500 in annual interest payments. This is still better than a money market and savings account, but not as good as bonds.

To recap, here is what you’re looking at in terms of interest rates:

Bonds: 1.19 – 4.63%
Savings Accounts: .01%
Money Market Funds: 0.64 – 1.00%
Certificates of Deposit: 1.40 – 2.85%

Of course, if you actually have a million dollars, you’ll almost certainly want to negotiate a higher interest rate for your funds.  Certificates of deposit, bonds and savings accounts have less flexibility as their rates are constrained by law.  You’ll probably have better luck with a money market deposits as banks have more flexibility with these products.

Can you live off the interest?

Q: How much interest does a million dollars earn you per year?

A:  Between $1,000 and $46,300, depending on how you invest it.

Under current interest rate considerations, bonds are your best bet.  That said, for many people, even the maximum amount that bonds will pay per year – $46,300 – is not enough to live off of. This is especially the case factoring in inflation and taxes. Putting a million dollars in a regular savings account shouldn’t even be an option. You can make an extra thousand each year by selling things on Craigslist – so the bank account option doesn’t make much sense.

So, if you ask the question, how much interest does a million dollars earn per year and you don’t like the answer, you could speak with a financial advisor to figure out some of the other options that are out there. Stocks and mutual funds are a couple of other choices that you can consider. You want to make sure that you are comfortable with where your money is going, so consider consulting a professional.

Some people may choose not to work anymore if they can find a way to grow the million. That decision will come down to a couple of things.

Your Expenses

You have to consider your expenses. Your housing, food, bills, healthcare, and taxes should all be included. For many people, the interest on one million dollars is just not enough to live on. You will still need some more income coming in.  You’ll need to be aware of your expenses and have at least a rough budget drawn up.

The economy

We live in a very unpredictable world. Right now the economy is doing well, but the future is difficult to see – an economic crisis like 2008 could happen again.  The advantage of interest bearing investment is they tend to be less risky than other assets like stocks or real estate. As you’ve read, the amount that one million dollars can earn from interest can fluctuate.  So if you want to live off the interest on a million bucks, you may need to look beyond investments that just generate interest and consider choices like stocks or mutual funds.

This posting has been sponsored by EHL, the leading Conveyancing Solicitors in the UK – for all your real estate needs in the United Kingdom.

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Disease Called Debt

Interest rate data source:, accessed 12/7/2017

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jamie @ Medium Sized Family February 4, 2017 at 9:16 am

It would certainly be nice to have that money invested and work part time to supplement your spending as needed. I wonder what return you could “expect” from stocks?

2 Emily @ JohnJaneDoe February 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Muni bonds would be another option. They are tax-free on your federal return and possibly on your state return (if you have one). Generally, they a pay a bit more than Treasuries since they carry a little more risk.

3 Tyler February 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Jason, a million dollars would be plenty for my wife and I. Our expenses are pretty low (less then $25k a year) and we could easily get that with a million in stocks, or as you brought out even in US treasury bonds. Now the trick is getting the million…

4 Mel @ brokeGIRLrich February 4, 2017 at 2:31 pm

I didn’t realize it would generate that much income just through bonds. That’s actually a very livable amount to me.

5 Gary @ Super Saving Tips February 4, 2017 at 2:37 pm

While $30k a year in interest might not be enough to support you entirely, it would definitely make a nice supplement to whatever else you choose to do for income (or in my case, my Social Security benefits and existing retirement funds).

6 RAnn February 4, 2017 at 8:14 pm

Luckily there are a lot of other things you can do with a million dollars. A general consensus of many financial planners is that you can withdraw 4% of your account every year indefinitely. That would be $40,000 which, while not a fortune, is probably liveable when added to social security.

7 Wade February 9, 2018 at 1:17 pm

This post forgot to mention cash flowing real estate… I myself with my sister and my nice are each set to inherit a million dollars from our fathers 401K, less the taxes It could be around $600,000 each. Just being smart (or lame when you really think about it) , and investing in multi unit residential properties with $75,000 down and closing cost I can see how in a year the cash flow could be around $5,000 a month at a capped tax rate of 20% (and with a half way decent accountant even that can be eliminated)

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