Seeing people announce their net worth on social media may have you asking yourself, "How do I become a millionaire?" Yet "millionaire" can feel like a huge, unobtainable word. However, the good news is that becoming one is actually more realistic than you might think.
These days, being a millionaire isn't necessarily about butlers, private jets, and luxury. Instead, it can mean guaranteeing yourself a comfortable (or early) retirement.
It can give you the career freedom to pursue a passion instead of being tied to a paycheck. The public perception of "millionaires" may be rooted in consumerism, but that doesn't have to be your goal.
So, just how easy is it to become a millionaire? Well, "easy" isn't the right word—it requires a lot of intentionality, discipline, and patience. So a better term than "easy" is "simple".
By studying the common practices of millionaires, we can identify patterns and follow in their steps to become a millionaire.
Let's dive into how to become a millionaire the simple way!
How to become a millionaire with no money
Even if you're starting out without any cash at all, becoming wealthy is completely possible. Here are seven tips to find out how to become a millionaire with no money!
1. Develop a millionaire's mindset
So, to answer your burning question, "How do I become a millionaire" you need to develop a millionaire's mindset. Don't worry; I won't tell you to make a vision board (unless you want to).
But more than anything, wealth is a mental game. If you're not starting with a solid money mindset, you may struggle to adopt the habits and practices of millionaires.
Some mindset characteristics to build into your millionaire routine are:
Think ahead about your short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial plan and what you'll do in case of emergencies. Have a solid financial plan and prepare for unexpected events. It's a huge part of reaching your goal of millionaire status.
Patience and delayed gratification
Be willing to delay present wants for future goals. Evaluate what you truly want, which can keep you from frivolous spending and make saving and investing easier.
Have faith in yourself that you can pay off that debt that seems insurmountable, reach that next number in your savings account, or launch the business you've been dreaming about. If you start with the mindset that you can't, you probably won't, but the opposite is also true.
Be willing to learn, make mistakes or even fail sometimes, and then learn even more. Seek knowledge and surround yourself with positive influences.
Of course, not all millionaires share these traits, but I'm not talking about lottery winners, celebrities, or trust-fund inheritors. I'm talking about regular people who decided they were going to build wealth and went ahead and did it. They're not that different from you!
2. Carefully watch your expenses (big and small)
The secret to how to become a millionaire fast is to watch all of your expenses, big and small! One of the quickest ways to hamstring your financial progress is to buy "too much house" or "too much car". You may have heard the term "house poor," and this is what it means.
Too many people get caught up in the trap of having overly expensive mortgages and car loans that take up the bulk of their income, leaving them with little or nothing to put towards their savings.
While big purchase decisions only come around once in a while, your financial plan should also account for small expenses. These can be "death by a thousand cuts" to your savings goals.
Look for opportunities to reduce costs like your cell phone bill, cable or subscription services, eating out, shopping for non-necessities, and so on.
A great goal is to see if you can live on just half of your income and save the other half. Try it as an experiment for a year, and keep it going if you can! It will get you to your million dollars a lot faster.
3. Try to max out retirement investment accounts
Investing your money is how to become a millionaire fast. The two most common types of retirement accounts are IRAs, which are personal accounts, and 401(k)s, which are usually offered through work. You can have both kinds, and they both allow you to invest in the stock market while saving money on taxes.
If you contribute as much as you possibly can to these accounts, it's like the fast track of how to become a millionaire. Today, there is an all-time high of both "401(k) millionaires" and "IRA millionaires," meaning that people become millionaires just by investing in these accounts.
News like this is encouraging because the contribution limits are the same for everyone. For 2023, you can contribute a maximum of $22,500 to a 401(k) and $6,500 to an IRA, according to the IRS.
The conclusion here is that those "IRA millionaires" didn't get there because they were already rich and could contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars all at once. It means they got there through slow and steady investing and growth.
Crunch the numbers
- Let's say you max out only your IRA by contributing $500 a month, it would take you about 29 years to become a millionaire.
- If you max out only your 401(k) by contributing $1625 a month, it would take you about 19 years.
- If you maxed out both accounts for a total of $2125 a month, you could speed that up to just 16 years.
Like I said before: the "how do I become a millionaire" question has an answer that's simple, not necessarily easy!
Of course, no one knows what the stock market will do in upcoming years. It could have years with a negative return before recovering and growing again. But if you stop yourself from investing out of fear of a crash, you might just find yourself missing out on years of incredible growth.
4. Increase your income to become a millionaire faster
If you're staring at those numbers above and thinking, "Yeah, okay, like I have an extra two grand a month,"—I'm with you! Even if you've pared down your expenses as far as they'll go, sometimes there's just no more wiggle room.
When you need to know how to become a millionaire with no money, it's time to look at the other side of the equation: increasing income.
Increasing income can come in several forms. For instance, you could:
- Ask your boss at your current job about opportunities for career growth and promotions.
- Job hunt to see if you can get a higher salary offer for a similar role at a new company.
- Learn new skills to increase your marketability and make a full career change to a more well-paid industry.
- Do side gigs or take on a second job, like these work-from-home jobs.
- Start a business and work to scale it.
Clever Girl Finance founder Bola Sokunbi is a great example of income scaling. She saved $100,000 in 3.5 years by living frugally and starting a wedding photography business alongside her full-time job. Then, she launched this blog and grew it into a full-time business.
So evaluate your skills, interests, and strengths, and brainstorm how to monetize them. The more you earn, the more you'll be able to save and invest. Increasing your income is how to become a millionaire fast!
5. Use your money to make money
Most wealthy people don't just sit on a hoard of gold like a dragon—they put their money to work for them. Using your money to make money with little active effort is called "passive income."
The easiest way to generate passive income is by investing in stocks for the compound interest or keeping your savings in high-interest bank accounts. If you manage to max out your retirement accounts for the year, you can continue investing money in a brokerage account or an HSA for health expenses.
Many millionaires attribute their success to real estate investing, which can be active or passive income, depending on your method. Learn more about real estate investing options for beginners here.
There are also some unique ways to make passive income, like purchasing an ATM and earning through fees or owning a vending machine in a well-placed location. So, using your money to make money is how to reach millionaire status quicker.
6. Avoid "lifestyle creep"
As you scale your income, it becomes tempting to scale your lifestyle too. Lifestyle creep happens when items you once considered luxuries are now part of your new normal. It can be as small as buying expensive coffee every morning or as big as buying a beach house or a boat.
Another common trap people fall into is "keeping up with the Joneses." If your neighbors, friends, and family members are buying nice cars, eating out every day, and upgrading their houses, it's normal for a little jealousy to creep in.
But remember, the average American is about $90,460 in debt, including their mortgages. You don't want to keep up with the Joneses because the Joneses are stressing about how they're going to pay off that BMW.
It might sound a little strange, but if you're wondering, "how do I become a millionaire?", live like you're the opposite of one.
7. Avoid debt at all costs
If you need to know how to become a millionaire with no money, one way is to have more to invest by getting rid of debt. People get into debt when they buy things that they can't afford without additional funds. If you're serious about building wealth, it's time to put down the credit card.
This isn't to say you can never buy something on credit, but know that carrying a balance and paying interest is one of the big setbacks that can stop you on your road to wealth.
Instead of going into debt, pay off any debts you have, and in the future, save up for expenses rather than buying things that are unaffordable.
How do millionaires make their money?
Now you're aware of how to become a millionaire. But how do millionaires make their money? What type of jobs do they have?
It's important to note that about 90% of the billionaires in America are self made. Meaning they created their wealth on their own instead of inheriting it. And with focus and dedication, you can also learn the secrets of self made millionaires.
Here are some ways that millionaires get rich.
You might become wealthy as an entrepreneur. If you sell a product that becomes popular or you provide a service that people are willing to pay for, it's possible to make a great deal of money through business.
This typically takes a lot of hard work and dedication though, but if you're a great salesperson and have a good idea, this is completely possible.
Stock market investing
When asking, "how do millionaires make their money?", the stock market is going to come up a lot. Many millionaires put money into investments such as stocks to make a profit. Be sure to research before investing, but it is one of the best ways to grow your money.
Real estate can help you with building wealth, and it's a pretty popular choice. In fact, 90% of millionaires around the world made their money from real estate investments. Houses tend to go up in value, and it's just a ridiculously practical way to use your money.
Buying a rental property is one way to go with this, but you'll need to save up first. Another way to invest with real estate is through REITs, which allow you to invest passively but still use real estate as a means to gain wealth.
Assets are things like land, houses and other real estate, investments, art, and other things that can make you money. If your assets go up in value it raises your net worth, and it could help make you a millionaire.
Appreciating assets are great for acquiring wealth and should be something you pay attention to in your millionaire journey.
Books on how to become a millionaire
If you need to know how to become a millionaire fast, read. These books help show you how easy it is to become wealthy, thanks to the many insights from those who have done it before.
(P.S. The books listed below have affiliate links. This means we might earn a small commission if you use our link. This helps us keep our platform completely free!)
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley
The Millionaire Next Door digs deeper into the principle of living simply to build wealth. It shows that millionaires can be your Toyota-driving neighbors and emphasizes why showing off with status symbols is worth so much less than financial independence and security.
For those wondering, how do millionaires make their money, it offers tons of insight.
The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich, Free Life by J L Collins
The holy grail of many in the FI (financial independence) community, and for a good reason. The Simple Path to Wealth is clear but comprehensive and highly actionable no matter what stage you're in with your financial journey.
The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by David Bach
A book that has a similar lesson to the Simple Path to Wealth, focusing on maximizing your investments and living below your means. The Automatic Millionaire is a good option for beginners who are looking for a "set it and forget it" process for how to become a millionaire.
Check out these books to learn more about how to attain millionaire status!
You can become a millionaire!
So now you know how to become a millionaire! Remember, becoming a millionaire won't happen overnight, but with hard work, dedication, and time, it's totally within your grasp.
Keep in mind that there are so many lessons to learn from millionaires that can act as a roadmap. Your challenge now is to go off and build the mindset and habits you need to create meaningful wealth and a 7-figure future.
Start on the path to millionaire status with our completely free "Build a solid foundation" bundle! You will learn how to transform your mindset, create a budget that works, set financial goals, and organize your finances!