Becoming a millionaire is the ultimate goal of many and it isn’t actually all that unattainable. What it isn’t is fast. Many people will promise the chance of getting rich quickly, however these quick rich schemes are only designed to make the person who created them rich, not you. So keep that in mind the next time you you may be tempted.
Like anything worth doing, becoming a millionaire takes time, patience and a clever strategy. It’s also a matter of choice. Most people will say they want something, and then immediately set out to do something that completely undermines that want. For example, you may hear someone lament how people who are rich are so lucky and that they wish they were a millionaire too. In the next moment they’re spending needlessly on an impulse purchase not realising that it is this behaviour that is preventing them from becoming the person they want to be – a millionaire.
The same can be seen with smokers. They wish they could give up, they say between drags…
Wishing and wanting, is not the same as committing.
Making a change to your life involves commitment. Most often you will need to change your lifestyle drastically in order to achieve those things that you profess to want the most.
So the question is, do you want those things more that you want your current lifestyle?
If (hopefully) you do, then it’s time to incorporate changes into your lifestyle that will eventually lead to you becoming a financially independent person.
Write it Down
This is one of the most helpful ways to make a commitment. Thinking and saying goals is one thing, writing them down allows you to visualise them and see them laid out in front of you. What you are doing here is writing out your ‘financial independence’ plan. This will include:
- How much you need to save on a yearly basis to hit your monetary target within the time frame you have specified.
- How you’re going to do it i.e savings, investments, Roth IRA, contributing to 401k, purchasing bonds etc.
- How much you’re going to save and the frequency. It is a good idea to start smaller and grow. This allows you to become accustomed to cut backs and makes it easier as you see your savings begin to grow.
- Your reasons for doing this – to become financially independent, not to work for someone else, to look after your family etc. Whatever your reason is, write it down.
- What you would like to buy once you have made your million. This gives you a reward to work for at the end. You don’t want to blow all of your money but it might make it easier, if at the end, you’re going to treat yourself to your dream car for example.
- Contingency plans – sometimes investments won’t go the way you won’t, or an emergency will arise that will stop you from saving that month etc. Think of all the things that could go wrong and make contingency plans. It’ll greatly reduce the panic that comes with disaster and allow you to recover quickly.
Live Below Your Means
To hit the targets you have set for yourself above, you need to live below your means. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set yourself a budget and be incredibly strict with it. Set up an account specifically for bills and transfer a portion of your paycheque into it as soon as you get paid. Also set up a transfer of the amount you want to save from your wages as soon as it comes in as well.
Make sure you have the essentials covered and allocate yourself a little money to play around with. This will completely depend on your saving goals and commitment to achieving them. You should allow yourself some room for fun and activities however, otherwise it is easy to become disheartened.
This is going on from your contingency plan. If a sudden emergency or disaster should strike, you don’t want to have to raid your savings accounts. Instead, have an emergency fund set up where
you have enough money that you can live comfortably for 6 months with no income.
At the beginning you will be saving into a number of accounts but once you’ve hit the 6 month mark you can stop saving into your emergency fund and relax a little as you know you’re covered should the worst happen.
You don’t have to know a huge amount about investment to make your money work for you, but any extra knowledge you do learn is always a bonus. To get started, open an account with a mutual fund company that has no-load funds and low expense ratios. Build a diverse portfolio and you can expect to earn 8% to 10% annually on your investments over the long haul. This can amount to quite a lot over a long period and if you continually expand on your investment knowledge, you can steadily grow your annual returns.
Remember, it’s a gradual process. Leave the emotion at the door and invest sensibly, it will eventually reach great sums.
Use a Financial Planner
Once you have made a dent into your savings goals, it’s time to use the services of a financial planner to help you hit the rest. Good financial planners will analyse your investments and recommend what to keep and what to dump.
Obviously good financial planners cost money and this is why you’ll utilise one when you’ve got to around a quarter of the way through your goal. You might not want to keep their services on but many will offer a one time appraisal and analysis for a fixed fee. It is good practice to use one and will also give your more confidence in your investment choices.
However, 71% of deca-millionaires use a financial planner and it is recommended to hit your final goal, that you find a great one and allow them to help you achieve your goal of becoming a millionaire, and eventually more.