Learning how to become a millionaire means overcoming unthinkable obstacles. Understand that if the opportunity to “get rich quick” seems too good to be true, it likely is, and building wealth over time boils down to planning, temperament, and discipline. When you experience an economic downturn, which most of us eventually will in our lives, don’t panic. Instead, understand that there are highs and lows in any journey, including your path to becoming a millionaire. You can become a millionaire—regardless of family’s money or your education. It has everything to do with you.
15 Ways On How To Become A Millionaire
1. Financial Plan
Setting a plan with your tolerance for risk, target returns, earning, investing, and saving can have a massive impact on your finances.
Successful individuals plan for their future. They also do not dump their money on risky, quick schemes that do not work. Instead, they come up with a financial plan to achieve an asymmetric risk-reward relationship where they assume the least amount of risk with a lopsided potential reward.
For instance, would you risk $1,000 with a 50 percent probability of making $1 if there was an equal probability of losing your initial investment? You’d rather risk $1 with a 50 percent probability to make $1,000. This is asymmetric risk-reward.
Let’s Look At A Plan For Savings:
Learning how to become a millionaire involves understanding the percentage you invest in.
The average personal savings rate in the U.S., including retirement savings and emergency funds, is 5.5%.
If we apply that percentage to the median household income of approximately $59,000, it calculates at $3,245 a year or around $270 per month.
Invested over 30 years, assuming a 10% rate of return, that money could turn into $586,256. That number looks great, right? Not until you see that the average couple will need $280,000 for medical expenses in retirement, and that doesn’t include long-term care.
If you subtract $280,000, you’d only have about $306,000 left. Can you live off that for two decades? It ends up being only $15,300 per year!
On the other hand, if you invested 15% of that $59,000 income, you would be putting away $8,850 a year or around $737 a month. Over 30 years, that could grow to $1.6 million, assuming a 10% return. And if you waited just five more years, you’d be sitting on over $2.3 million.
If you’re doubtful, hiring a financial planner is recommended for this stage for personalized strategies based on your current wealth, age, risk appetite, and more.
If you study the habits of millionaires, you will find that many are voracious readers who enjoy the process of researching their respective fields. Warren Buffett is known to read for hours each day, including entire annual reports of the companies he invests in or is considering investing in.
Even if you don’t have the time to read annual reports cover to cover, this doesn’t mean you can’t effectively research investment strategies, opportunities, business ideas, etc. Also, look for ways to be joining a community, listening to a podcast or an audiobook, or reading on the bus.
3. Equity Ownership
There are few millionaires, and billionaires, who do not own equity in a business or real estate.
Entrepreneurs start out by establishing what has been coined, “sweat equity,” named from the level of hard work they invested in building the business and the subsequent value created.
Most people are not entrepreneurs, but this doesn’t mean you can’t build equity. When hiring, it’s a common negotiation tactic to offer options or shares in the business—depending on the stage of the company. There’s a huge advantage in investing shares in a company if you ever get the chance to receive equity or options.
This gives you skin in the game, which will likely make you more passionate about your work and the success of the business.
If you buy a share on the public markets, you technically own a piece of that business’ equity and therefore should act like an owner, although remaining dispassionate if and when it comes time to sell.
Investing in a diversified basket of stocks and bonds, including index funds with low expense ratios, has traditionally been a successful strategy for minting millionaires and billionaires over the years. In addition to knowing this, investing early helps you become a millionaire.
$300 a month beginning at age 25 is all it takes to reach millionaire status by age 60. By age 67, you’d be sitting pretty on a $2 million nest egg come retirement.
That’s just $300 per month!
If you waited until age 35 to start investing, you’d have to put away $800 per month to hit the million-dollar mark by age 60.
Some investments generate income on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, in the form of dividends. It can feel like an extra paycheck that you should immediately spend on but this isn’t the millionaire approach.
Until you’re ready to retire and have built your wealth to a point where the principal amount in your accounts can cover all of your living expenses, it’s beneficial to continue reinvesting your dividends, thus adding to your principal investment balance, also known as your cost basis. This means you own EVEN more shares and you get more dividend income.
6. Diversify Investments and Income Streams
If most financial advisors agree that diversification is a beneficial strategy for portfolio management, this strategy should work for other businesses and investments!
An average successful entrepreneur has many sources of income. Whether you’ve built your earnings and net worth based on active or passive income strategies, or a combination of both, you should look to diversify and differentiate your sources of income.
This ensures that if one stream of income suddenly erodes, it should only impact a percentage of the entrepreneurs’ income and not their entire revenue stream. Differentiation doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start multiple businesses simultaneously, but you should look for other opportunities to invest. Put money into real estate, building a side-hustle business, investing in public equities etc.
7. Increase Your Income to Reach Your Goal Faster
If you’re crunching the numbers and realize you still can’t put away the recommended 15%, you do need to increase your income so you can.
Start by getting a job that pays more.
Take on a second job temporarily.
Train to increase your education, skills and expertise, to increase your salary.
Apply for scholarships and grants to save money instead of taking out student loans!
8. Avoid Debt
Speaking of student loans, you can get a loan for pretty much anything nowadays. You should get what you want when you want, like buying a new house and paying for it later – right?
In reality, this debt is the worst idea. Every time you buy something on credit, you’re digging a deeper hole for yourself. That money you’re sending to lenders could be yours to keep!
For example, take the average car loan, which has a monthly payment of $523 and a term length of five years and nine months.
If you were to invest $500 a month for five years instead, you could have $40,000. And had you invested that $40,000 for another 20 years, you would have made almost $270,000! Now where’s that car in 25 years? Most likely in a junkyard somewhere.
Bottom line—get rid of debt as soon as possible.
9. Become Tax-Efficient
Paying taxes is something that everyone must do, but all taxpayers aren’t created equal under the tax code.
Understanding how debt, equity, income, investments, charity, children, and more impact taxation is important when considering your return on investment. The difference between a 10 percent and a 37 percent tax bracket can severely impact your actualized returns.
10. Rebalance Portfolio
Rebalancing one’s portfolio is an important part of a long-term value investing strategy as your risk tolerance changes throughout your investing career. For example, as you approach the age of retirement, you may be more interested in a liquid store of wealth versus Wall Street’s most popular momentum stock to help preserve wealth in the later stages of your life.
11. Work Hard
Success comes from preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
Even with today’s fast-paced technological innovation, overnight success stories rarely happen as fast as people imagine. The development of technology wasn’t born “overnight.”
12. Cut Unnecessary Expenses
As you work on learning how to become a millionaire, use money with intention. So, sit down and evaluate your expenses regularly. Look at your budgets from previous months to see where money may be unnecessarily spent.
- Insurance – Can you get better rates? Look around and find out. Sit down with an independent agent who can show you areas where you can save.
- Cable/Satellite – With the competition among streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, you can probably get the shows and stations you want without cable.
- Restaurants – Try an experiment with me. For one month, eat every meal at home—even that coffee on the way to work. See what happens. We guarantee your budget will change in 30 days!
- Gifts – Spend wisely.
- Automatic Renewals – Look at gym memberships, streaming music services, and magazine subscriptions. How many of those do you really use? Be honest.
If your budget has been cut to the bone and you still can’t put away 15% of your gross income every month, you can still cut expenses.
- Downsize to another home with a smaller mortgage payment and cheaper utility bills.
- Move to another part of town or even to another city altogether where the cost of living is more affordable.
13. Keep Your Millionaire Goal Front and Center
Learning how to become a billionaire runs parallel to most people’s behavior. Just this year, a study showed that 57% of Millennials said they spent money they hadn’t planned to because of what they saw on social media. And 88% of them, along with 71% of Gen Xers and 54% of Baby Boomers, believe social media creates a comparison problem.
Millionaires don’t play the comparison game. They stayed focused on their own goals and didn’t worry about what other people were thinking or doing.
14. Work With an Investing Professional
Parents can value the weight a teacher pulls when they have to help children do homework. Asking to find a tutor who’s in the game, who’s better at it, is an efficient stepping stone. Working with a financial pro is no different.
One study from John Hancock showed that 70% of people who work with a financial pro are on track or ahead in saving for retirement, compared to just 33% of those who don’t use an advisor.
And another study found that people who have no retirement plan have, on average, around $45,700 in retirement savings. In comparison, those who have a written plan prepared by a professional advisor have, on average, about $203,000 saved for retirement.
To become a millionaire, allow time and compound growth work. That’s why you’ll often hear that investing is a marathon, not a sprint. Big financial goals need to focus on small actions for decades. You have to stay out of debt. You have to keep investing.