03/29/2012 03:13 pm ET

Warren Buffett Got His Start With Only $9,800

Take it from the world's greatest investor, Warren Buffett, you don't need much money to get rich.

Back in 1955, when the Oracle of Omaha was but a young thing, he only had $9,800 to his name. Today he is worth nearly than $40 billion. What's the secret to his success?

In a first-person article for the April issue ForbesLife magazine, Buffett talks about getting his start:

The thing is, when I got out of college, I had $9,800, but by the end of 1955, I was up to $127,000. I thought, I’ll go back to Omaha, take some college classes, and read a lot--I was going to retire! I figured we could live on $12,000 a year, and off my $127,000 asset base, I could easily make that. I told my wife, “Compound interest guarantees I’m going to get rich.”

It's worth repeating again: The secret to getting rich as an investor is the power of compound interest. And you don't even need $9,800 to get started.

A slew of new websites are aimed at making it easier than ever to get everyday investors into markets--without having to go through an investment advisor. With as little as $25, you can get started saving for long-term goals--like a down payment for a house or buying a new car.

A quick example to demonstrate the power of compound interest: A 25-year-old investing $500 per year until retirement at age 68 would earn $142,375 at a constant return rate of 7 percent.