My wife reads my site and often sends me links to stories and other ideas. One day she sent me a link to an article called 8 Ways to Make a Million bucks. The article chronicles 8 different millionaires and shares a brief story about how each of them reached millionaire status.
As you would expect, the stories are as diverse as the people they highlight. Several people started their own business, one man made his millions in real estate, a firefighter cashed in his pension, and another made his millions working an $11 an hour job (and making wise money decisions along the way).
I sent my wife a quick e-mail thanking her for the link and in closing, I wrote, “I wonder what our millionaire story is going to be?”
Her response: “You think we will have one?”
Me: “Of course, it’s only a matter of time.”
And I believe that. I don’t know what it will be, and it may not be glamorous, but we will be millionaires. It’s only a matter of time – and a few other factors.
A Step by Step Guide to Making a Million Dollars
Becoming a millionaire is not extremely difficult. It takes money, time, discipline, and a little luck. All you need to do is follow these 5 steps:
You Need a Source of Income
Unless you are born into riches, inherit wealth, or strike it rich in the lottery, you need to earn money. And as this 78 year old man proves, you don’t need to earn a lot of money to become wealthy; it’s what you do with that money that matters. If you want to increase your odds of becoming a millionaire, then look at some of these methods of making extra money. Just adding a few of these ideas to your lifestyle can increase your wealth. Check out a quick way to make an extra $250 free money just by opening up a new account with Chase Checking, you have to start somewhere!
Not only do you need a source of income, but having a second income is a great idea as well. I don’t mean that you have to have an additional part-time job, but find a way to make a couple extra bucks on the weekends or a few nights during the week. This could be anything from freelance work to selling homemade goods on Etsy. Making an extra hundred bucks every month could have a huge impact on your millionaire journey. It may not seem like a lot, but it can really add up every year.
How are we doing? My wife and I earn a decent living, but along the way we made several lifestyle choices which reduced our income, including the decision for my wife to be a stay at home mom. I firmly believe we will still become millionaires – even in a one income household – and the reason I hold firm in this belief is because we follow the rest of the steps in this article.
Earn More Than You Spend
My wife and I have done fairly well with our finances, primarily because we spend less than we earn. Another, and perhaps better, way to look at this is to earn more than you spend. I am not implying you should deprive yourself from the things you enjoy or live a monk’s lifestyle.
My belief is that you should focus on buying value on the the things you enjoy, and you should focus on making big wins to reduce your expenses on non-essentials and things which don’t bring you joy. For example, in our family eating out is a treat. We save a lot of money by not dining very often. But, when we do dine out we focus our efforts on nights where kids eat free. Not only do we save money this way, but if my son decides that tonight’s dinner choice is not high on his list of priorities, we didn’t waste money on a meal. This takes the financial tension out of any wasted food and allows my wife and I to enjoy the meal more.
Above all else, living within your means is the key to financial success. If you can combine both of these principles, earning more and spending less, you will be ahead of 95% of the world. If you want to supercharge your millionaire journey, it’s important that you aren’t spending every dime that you earn.
You probably can’t demand a raise from your boss, but there are a few simple ways that you can essentially give yourself a raise. Simple cutting out some of your major expenses, like canceling your cable or going out to eat less can save you hundreds of dollars every year. If you save $200 every month, you’ll find yourself with $2,400 at the end of the year.
Save Some of Your Income
There is a simple fact that many people miss: you will never grow wealthy if you spend everything you earn. Regardless of how much money you earn, you need to put some aside in savings. Having a cash cushion is nice because it helps you prepare for unexpected expenses and helps you avoid debt. But there is another reason that saving money is important – because of taxes and other factors, money saved is worth more than money earned!
Another advantage of having some cash savings is the ability to use the money for investments or other large purchases when you come across a good deal. This could be a something like an investment, property, or just a good deal that saves you thousands of dollars on a major purchase. Take advantage of these principles and save money whenever possible.
Make Regular Investments
Investing is the best way to grow your wealth. Compound interest has been called the strongest force in the universe, and you want that force working for you! There are many ways to invest, and you can be successful as long as you make wise investment decisions and let time and compound interest work for you. Investing in tax advantaged retirement accounts such as a 401k or Roth IRA can help you grow your wealth more quickly since you won’t have the drag of taxes pulling down your investment portfolio. You can also use retirement accounts to shape your taxes both now and in the future, giving you a powerful tool to help grow your wealth.
Investing can seem intimidating if you haven’t started yet. But it doesn’t have to be. Check out these investment strategies for beginners to get you started on the right path. You can also start by opening a 401k plan with your employer, or opening a Roth IRA.
Monitor and Repeat the Process
The path to becoming a millionaire becomes easier once you get the process started. It all starts at the beginning with small lifestyle changes. For example, making small lifestyle changes to reduce your fixed monthly expenses can go a long way toward helping you spend less than you earn. This in turn makes it easier to save a little money each month. Once you have a little cash saved, small emergencies are no longer emergencies and you are no longer treading water. This makes it easier to invest.
There are other things you can do to make the process easier. You can, for example, set up an automatic savings or investment program so you don’t have to think about it. Out of sight, out of mind is a great motto when it comes to saving.
But you also need to know where your money is going. I recommend using some form of money tracking software to give you an idea of where your money is going. There are a number of excellent free online money management tools which make it easy to see your income, expenses, and spending patterns in one place. My favorite is a free money management tool called Personal Capital which helps you track income, spending, and your investments.
Once you know your patterns, you can plan your spending and investing around them to help you reach your goals.
Is Becoming Wealthy Really that Simple?
Earn money, spend less than you earn, save, invest, repeat the process. After that it’s just a matter of time. Even if it takes years or decades, the process really is that simple. Of course, it may not seem as easy as I laid it out here, but it really is. Remember, this is not an overnight get rich quick scheme. It takes time, planning, and a little luck along the way.
Get started. If you want to become a millionaire, you need to decide to do it and get started. If you are not be able to save money right now because of debt or other financial obligations, you should work on those issues first. A good place to start is with Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. This is a tried and true method for setting up an emergency fund, paying down debt, and beginning your investments. Once you have that started, you can begin your million dollar journey.
What will your millionaire story be?