The dream of becoming a millionaire… Is this just a pipe dream or is it possible? The short answer: it is absolutely possible to become a millionaire. One of the best Christmas presents you can give yourself, and your family is the decision to become a millionaire and start on the steps towards that goal. Here are some stats you might find interesting:
- 8.8% of adults in America are millionaires (approximately 22 million people).
- Being a millionaire places you in the top 10% of wealth in America.
- 88% of millionaires have at least a college degree.
- The average age for millionaires in America is 57.
- Only 21% of millionaires became a millionaire through inheritance. The vast majority earned it!
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You can do this. But to achieve this lofty goal, you will have to do things differently from almost everyone else. Start with these steps:
Decide. Right now… at this moment, decide that you will do whatever it takes to become a millionaire. The key phrase here is, “Whatever it takes!” YOU are responsible for your outcomes. YOU are responsible for your destiny. Expect surprises. Expect obstacles. Decide now that you will overcome all of them. Remember this date: Christmas 2022 you decided you would do whatever it takes to become a millionaire.
Start now. Getting started does not require much thought. If your employer has a 401(k) plan that matches employee contributions, start there. Contact your HR department this week and enroll for payroll deduction to capture 100% of their matching contribution. If your company does not offer a matching contribution or a 401(k) plan, open an online account with a discount broker such as Charles Schwab or Vanguard.
Automatically invest. Do not leave your investing to chance. The ninety-plus percent of Americans who do not achieve millionaire status typically rely on investing what is left over at the end of each month. Life has a way of getting in the way of this strategy.
How much should you invest?
Invest as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. When I started at age 22, I invested 20% of my paycheck. By ‘paying myself first,’ it forced me to adjust my spending and watch my money closely. This habit paid big dividends during my career. Remember, the more you invest and the sooner you start, the quicker you will reach your financial goals. Everyone should have the goal of saving a minimum of 10% of their income…more if you are getting started in your 30’s or older.
Invest in stocks. While not impossible, it is hard to become a millionaire by investing in savings accounts, CDs, or bonds. When you invest in stocks, you are investing in the equity of publicly traded companies. While it is very volatile in the short term, it has earned an average of 9% over time. If you invest $6,500 annually (maximum IRA contribution for 2023) for 31 years at 9%, you’ll have $1,000,000. Nine more years and you’ll have almost $2.4 million. Wow! There’s magic in compounding!
Work hard. To become a millionaire, play the long game. The average millionaire works 28 years before achieving this goal. Virtually all millionaires I know are hard, dedicated workers. They work hard. They stay focused. They prioritize saving and investing.
Never give up. I reiterate…your journey will include roadblocks, wrong turns, and disappointments. You must persist anyway.
For advice and guidance on how to head in the right direction to becoming a millionaire, consult with your financial planner.
Stewart H. Welch, III, CFP®, AEP, is the founder of THE WELCH GROUP, LLC, which specializes in providing fee-only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. He is the author or co-author of six books, including 50 Rules of Success; J.K. Lasser’s New Rules for Estate, Retirement and Tax Planning- 6th Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.); THINK Like a Self-Made Millionaire; and 100 Tips for Creating a Champagne Retirement on a Shoestring Budget. For more information, visit The Welch Group. Consult your financial advisor before acting on comments in this article.
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