First things first . . . despite the title of this article, it's not about selling you a get rich quick program or book. For most people, get rich quick does not work. Despite the disclaimer, I do think attaining more wealth does and can happen to anyone. I believe wealth is attainable and it's possible to do it sooner than later.
I believe that 80% of the wealth is in the hands of 20% of the people and most of these people did not win the lottery, inherit millions from their parents or even got really lucky. Having been in the financial industry for over 20 years, I've been fortunate to meet a lot of millionaires and most of these people did it the old fashion way . . . they saved it one dollar at a time.
How do you define millionaire?
Some people think a millionaire means having a net worth of a million dollars. This probably includes your house, investments and other assets. Others, define a millionaire with a million dollars of investable assets. In other words, a portfolio of investments and cash with 7 figures or more. When you really get analytical about it, different people will define the term millionaire differently. No matter how you define it, do you want to be a millionaire?
One man’s journey to becoming a millionaire by 35
Is it really possible to become a millionaire by 35? The answer is yes, it is possible. It is easy? Probably not. Just ask people who have done it. In this article, I thought it would be fun to share one man’s journey to becoming a millionaire.
Many of you may know one of Canada’s top financial blog sites Million Dollar Journey. It’s run by someone who goes by the name of Frugal Trader (FT). I’ve gotten to know FT a bit more as I have a lot of respect for his site. He shows his journey to become a millionaire by sharing his net worth from time to time. I asked FT a few questions and with permission would like to share them with you.
1. What do you think is the key (or keys) to becoming a millionaire by the time you are 35?
He came up with three ideas:
- Make More than You Spend – Everyone knows about the personal finance mantra of “spend less than you earn“. FT believes that is the foundation of everyone’s finances, but he prefers to twist it around a little. Cutting unnecessary expense are essential, but if you think about it, expenses can only be cut so far.. down to $0. However, income is potentially unlimited! Control your expenses is one solution, but the other is to look for ways to make more income! Whether it's business opportunities, career advancement or investments, have the intention of finding opportunities and you may be surprised as to what comes along. To FT, it's all about the cash flow, the more you have, the easier it is to reach your financial goals.
- Make Use of that Cash! Once cash flow is established, the next question is what to do with the savings? His first choice is of course to pay down debt, starting with the highest rate because it's guaranteed after tax return with no risk. FT does not carry credit card debt. His journey to becoming a millionaire started by paying off a boatload of student debt. After that was paid off, he diligently worked on paying off the mortgage. FT became mortgage free in 2010 at the age of 31. After debt servicing payments are eliminated, cash flow should be relatively high, which can now be used for investing.
- Know Your Financial Situation – FT is a big believer in writing things down to know where you stand in order to move forward. It's important to know how much you spend in a month by itemizing spending to see where costs can be reduced. The same goes for net worth and investment accounts, if the goal is to grow it to a particular milestone, it's important to track it periodically to measure progress.
- Set Goals and Take Baby Steps – FT believes in SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) goals, both long and short term. Set big long term goals and set shorter goals on the way. For example, he set the goal to have a million dollar net worth by the age of 35, but have annual financial goals along the way. The annual goals are further broken down into baby steps to keep him motivated.
2. What do you think is the main reason people can't or won't become millionaires?
Here's what FT has to say about this, “Personally, I think that anyone, providing they have enough time, can become a millionaire in their lifetime. It's a matter of starting as early as you can, building savings, and investing the proceeds for the long term. Becoming a millionaire in a shorter time span is also possible, just takes a bit more focus and dedication towards the end goal.”
FT is not a financial advisor and nor does he work in the financial industry. Building wealth is simple, not easy. It’s really not rocket science. It just goes to show that if you have the desire, you can do it because it really is not that complicated.
Do you have anything to add to the list if things it takes to become a millionaire by 35?