As a financial blogger, my job is to share a billion ways to pay off your debt, save your money, maintain a budget, invest your money, MAKE more money,
give your money to me, reach financial freedom, and on and on. I’ve probably shared over 3,000 ideas with you since starting this blog 6 years ago, and I’m sure I’ll spout another 3,000 ideas as fast as you can spell “jmoney’sabadass” too ;)
But here’s the thing: you could choose to only do ONE thing consistently and still make a huge difference. It just has to be one of the “biggies.” You do any of these things listed below – just one of them – and you’ll become a millionaire in no time. Even if you don’t do anything else!
5 Simple Ways to Become a Millionaire*
- Max out your ROTH IRA every year ($5,500)
- Max out your 401(k) every year ($17,500)
- Max out BOTH your IRA and your 401(k) every year! ($23,000)
- Pay off your entire mortgage and save the future payments ($100,000? $300,000? $500,000??)
- Win the lottery**
Yes, it’s in order of difficulty there, haha… But still – quite simple :) You do *any* of those on rotation year in and year out, and I guarantee you’ll reach financial freedom in 20-30-40 years from now. All depending on your expenses, and lifestyle, yada yada… (And if you’re not in a position to invest large amount of money every month/year, at least start with SOMETHING. Even just $100 or $200 a month can do enough to snowball you towards your goals faster!)
And notice I said “simple” there and not “easy.” Everyone knows how to become a millionaire over time (spend less than you make and save/invest the difference), but just like trying to lose weight or stop smoking – it takes more than just *knowing* what to do to make it happen. If that wasn’t the case we’d all be healthy billionaires walking around this planet!
We’ll have to save the “how” for another day (it basically comes down to figuring out how to motivate your ass), but for today just concentrate on the simplicity of it all. Again, you do ANY of those things above and you’re golden*, even if you never do anything else at all! Which of course you’ll do anyways throughout your life, but this is good to keep in mind when you’re down on yourself or wondering what “secrets” you’re missing out on.
There are no secrets. You already know what you have to do!
I reference back to my net worth tracker again. When I was going through all the articles and linking back to the page there, I noticed a pretty consistent (and amazing) thing: All I was pretty much doing was maxing out my retirement accounts every year. Sure I was hustling my ass off and trying to pay down my mortgage and other stuff too, but the single driving force to growing our worth from $58,769.65 to $447,240.46 in 6 years was simply following bullet point #2 up there, and then later on #3: Maxing out both my retirement accounts. That’s it.
(I know I know, “that’s it” – as if it were easy. Again it’s not, but it IS simple.)
I knew that I was doing throughout these 70+ months, but seeing it all laid out there on the graph like that really stopped me in my tracks. “Could that really be it?” “Can you imagine what this number will look like in another 70 months? Or even 140 months??”
I’m still taking it all in, but it’s a nice reinforcer seeing it all laid out in one simple graph. Sometimes you have to hit pause every now and then and take a look back through time. Not to be a broken record, but I really do encourage you to track your own finances and then take recurring snapshots so you can have a journey to soak in as well. Even if you’re starting at the bottom, or below that (it’ll make your graph look even sexier down the line! :)). And more importantly, recognize that you can be pretty successful by just *FOCUSING* and rockin’ a couple smart moves. The beauty is you only need to figure it out ONCE and then you’re good to go – that knowledge sticks with you for the rest of your life!
So the point? It doesn’t take grand wizardry to figure out how to grow your money. There’s a ton of things you can do to kill it like paying off all your debt, protecting yourself through insurance, becoming a side hustle maven, having an emergency fund, etc etc (and of course we’ll continue pimping these things as well), but committing to just one or two huge goals like above can get you to your dreams fast too. You’ll have to find the motivation to pull the trigger of course – it’s not easy – but I promise you your future self will thank you handsomely for doing so.
Now to just figure out how to win that dang lottery** and speed it up even more! ;)
*Don’t you tell me about interest rates or rate of returns, or that a million dollars won’t be a million dollars later on – those are all the things we’ll debate forever about that takes away from the main gist here. Which is that a simple (big) action item can do wonders for your money over time – even if you don’t do anything else. If you wanna argue about stock market conspiracies or how paying off your mortgage is dumb, you go start your own blog ;)
** Don’t you tell me about the lottery being for the poor either and how it’s a complete waste of time/money… We already know that – it’s just fun to talk about so go put that on your new blog too.
[Photo cred: Calgary Reviews]
Featured savings tip
You already know that banks pay $$$ for the privilege of holding your money…it’s called interest. But maybe you didn’t know this: that so-called interest can be as little as .01%. If your cash savings aren’t sitting in a high interest savings account that earns you at least 1%, you’re basically saying “no” to free $$$!
Now, obviously the 1% interest you get with a high interest savings account like the one at Discover bank won’t make you rich, but that extra 1% compounded over 30 years can grow into a *big* pile of cash. And if you wanna hit lofty $$$ goals, you should be looking for every edge possible.
Here’s another way to look at it: if you leave $50,000 in a regular savings account, that’s almost $500 you’re just throwing away, each and every year you don't setup a high yield savings account! Will you do 5-10 minutes of work right now to earn an extra $500/year for years to come?
If you said “heck yes”, then you can setup your high interest savings account here to start earning 1% on your cash savings.