Who doesn’t want to be a millionaire? The cost of living is so high nowadays that it can feel like you might not be earning enough unless you achieve a major milestone like becoming a millionaire. Although it might seem impossible when it’s just a thought in your head, the reality is that the dream is achievable. In 2017, the number of households in America that were millionaires increased by 700,000, bringing the total in the country to more than 11 million millionaires.
Were there 11 million lucky lottery winners? Not exactly. Rising stock prices and home values caused the number of millionaires to grow. The S&P went up close to 20 percent, and the Dow increased by about 25 percent just during 2017 leading to huge gains for investors in the stock market and property owners. So, want to know how to make millions?
First, come up with a plan. It’s nice to daydream or fantasize about becoming a millionaire, but if you want to know how to make millions the same way others have done it, the first thing you should do is sit down and put together a written plan.
Note where you’ve overspent in your past and use that knowledge to avoid or correct those pitfalls. List your necessary and discretionary expenses. Figure out where you can spend less money. Shopping? Dining out? Entertainment? Set a goal to achieve saving 20 percent by saving some money out of every paycheck. Saving less than that is fine as long as you get into the habit of saving.
Don’t just stick to your plan, but also track your development every so often. If you deviate from your program, try to get back on track and stick with it. Disciplined management of your finances can be tedious, but it’s necessary if you want to see results.
Get Out Of Debt
The interest rates on credit card debt will typically be higher than any interest you could see as a return on any future investments, so your best bet before you get started building wealth is to zero out those credit card balances.
If you have a decent credit score, look for a new credit card that offers zero percent interest for balance transfers so that you can move the balance from your high-interest card to that one. Some cards give a year or two of zero interest on the balance you’ve transferred, so all the money you pay will go towards eliminating your debt during that period. If you owe money on a student loan, do some research and find out if you can refinance your debt at a lower interest rate.
Make More Money
Tracking your expenses and cutting out the fat is a great way to save money, but to become a millionaire you also need to find ways to make money. These days, having a “side hustle” has gone mainstream. From Uber driving to freelancing, there are many different methods to acquire a second income.
To stay productive, don’t try to take on multiple jobs like working for Uber, Lyft, and other ride services or create freelancer profiles on every platform. Just pick one and try to pick something you enjoy that could even potentially lead to becoming your own boss.
If you don’t have the time to take up a second job, and you’ve managed to save some funds, find a way to use your money to make money. One of the best ways to make your money work for you is to invest.
- You are your best investment. Make time to read books about financial planning and investment strategies. Take an online course in something that could help you learn to make more money. Find a career or life coach to help you on your journey.
- Try the stock market. You don’t have to spend your entire savings, but you can invest a little at a time using “dollar cost averaging” where you pay less for shares when the market is high and spend more when the market is low.
If the market seems to be in a crisis, stock prices drop making it, ironically, the perfect time to buy stocks. When the market, inevitably swings back up, you could gain some serious return on investment. The trick to this strategy is to have the patience to stick it out long-term and not pull your money out when things look dicey.
- Become a banker with peer-to-peer lending. Through this system, you stand to make anywhere from about five to seven percent interest on the money you loan to people.
- Dabble in real estate. Investing in real estate doesn’t always mean becoming a landlord. Platforms like Fundrise allow people to invest small amounts of money in commercial real estate. Over the past five years, Fundrise has returned between 8 to 12 percent on investments. You can get started with as little as $500.
Keep in mind there’s no such thing as a no-risk investment. What could be booming one minute, could bust the next. However, accept that market unpredictability is par for the course when it comes to developing wealth over time.
Be Smart With Your Money
Taxes and investment expenses are two things can seriously affect the returns on your long-term investments. To become a millionaire, you’re going to want to pay as little as possible for both taxes and investment costs.
One way to pay less tax on your investments is to open a Roth or traditional IRA (individual retirement account). An IRA is an account where you can save your stocks, bonds, and other savings and allow the interest to compound, without taxes cutting into it. The earlier you invest in an IRA, the more time the money has to grow tax-free.
When you become an investor, find a brokerage firm that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg per trade and try not to buy and sell stocks frequently. Buying shares and holding on to them for years as a long-term investor equals less investing expenses.
Think And Act Like A Millionaire
One of the biggest factors for how to make millions is to think and act like a millionaire. Is there a millionaire that inspires you? Or maybe even a billionaire? Like Oprah or Bill Gates. Successful people develop habits that have an impact on their lives.
Making certain changes in your mindset can help you go further.
- Don’t let your age become a factor. If you’ve already got excuses in your mind because you think you’re too young or too old to accomplish your goal, then you’re already sabotaging your plan. Think positively to encourage positive changes.
- Spend time on self-improvement. Try to read or listen to books or podcasts that are relevant to becoming a millionaire, accomplishing goals, or making life changes.
- Know when to recharge. Millionaires don’t work all day, every day. Spend time on hobbies, make time for friends and family, travel when possible, but still, live within your means. Taking some time off can help you come back refocused and with energy to keep on, keeping on.
- Accept setbacks. You might not accomplish your goal by the time or in the way that you wanted to. Although you might have a plan, know that life happens, and things can change in ways you never expected, including losing money or making monetary mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up about it and learn from the situation instead.
- Keep making progress and setting goals. Once you’ve accomplished your goal of making that first million, don’t just sit back on your heels. Continue learning, growing and set a new goal, like how to turn that one million into two.
- Don’t obsess about money. Learn to view money as the reward for having taken the right steps and not necessarily as the end all, be all. Continually focusing on how much money you’re making can distract you from taking the actions needed to create wealth.
On your quest to become a millionaire, it could also be helpful to develop certain habits similar to those who are already millionaires.
- Practice meditation. Oprah and Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, credit meditation as being extremely useful for cultivating success.
- Be an early riser. Most wealthy people get up around three hours before they start work.
- Be thrifty. Don’t spend every dollar you make on rampant consumerism. Investor Warren Buffet still lives in the house he bought for just over $30,000.
Becoming a millionaire can seem like a pipe dream for many, but there are several solid tips, investment options, and sources of information out there that can help guide anyone in the right direction to achieving that goal. The most important thing you can do is to let go of the analysis paralysis, negative thoughts, and take the first step towards the path.
Joan Perry is the publisher of www.WomensWealth.money, the national authority site for women and money. She is a Best Selling Author of ‘A Girl Needs Cash’, Random House; and Living Proof, Celebrating the Gifts that Came Wrapped in Sandpaper (co-authored with Lisa Nichols). Joan is also the creator of The Women’s Wealth Model, A Heroine’s Journey to True Wealth,. As a pioneer in the field of women’s wealth, she founded the first female-owned investment banking firm that underwrote and traded municipal bonds for major governmental entities. Now as a women’s wealth advocate, she serves as a teacher, coach, writer and speaker.