Who hasn’t played the “if I had a million dollars” game? If you are a fan of Office Space, it probably comes as no surprise that I’d take the Peter Gibbons attitude (see the name of the site). Actually doing nothing would get boring after awhile I imagine.
While a million dollars isn’t what it used to be, it is a great start towards financial freedom. Most people don’t know how to become a millionaire. I believe it is an attainable goal if you follow these 5 easy steps:5. Find the elusive money-growing tree and hoard it all to yourself (But first call me and let me in on the royalties since I gave you the idea.)
4. Find yourself a sugar daddy/mama and marry them ASAP.
3. Spend all your time and energy on making your life as ridiculous as possible. Then get an equally ridiculous television station to pick up your life as their newest reality show. (It worked for Jon and Kate… not so much for the balloon boy)
2. Con your friends into playing Monopoly with real money, build hotels on Boardwark and Park Place, and rig the game so that you continually land on the “Free Parking” space and collect the loot from the middle. (That is assuming you play with the rules that Free Parking actually earns you money.)
You don’t like those options? Good, you shouldn’t. The chances of you securing your future and becoming a millionaire through those first four steps are about as good as Michael Jordan becoming a star in NFL now (remembers his baseball career?). Give me one more chance at proving you a path to financial freedom.
1. Read the rest of this article.
The beauty of the prestigious millionaire club is that there is room for all of us at the table. Everyone has power over their financial status if they focus on a few small things. Here are several simple steps that could change your life forever and help you in becoming a millionaire.
- Don’t spend more than you make – That sound easy enough, but for most it’s easier said than done. For many, today’s cashless society makes it easy to swipe the credit card and plan on paying it off later. Others, like my wife, just tend to spend whatever cash they have on hand, because it’s a quick transaction (not having to sign anything). We tend to buy now and think later, rather than the other way around.
- Get out of the “Now” mindset – Many young couples get married, buy their first home, and expect to immediately have all of the ‘luxury’ items that it took their parents thirty years of working to obtain. I wish I could get them to change their thinking… realize that building your dream home, owning the perfect car, and being able to take extravagant vacations will not happen overnight, nor in 5 years. It takes time to achieve it, just as their parents did. In the same way, realize that it is almost impossible to become a millionaire overnight. What you can do is implement the basic financial principles today that will increase your chances of becoming a millionaire in the next 20 years…
- Save Money – In the immortal words of Al Bundy, “Save hard, save now, save silent, save deep…. the key word here is: SAVE!” (Actually, Al used the word “run” instead of “save”, but it is one of my favorite lines and it fits.)
The easiest way to effectively change your saving habits and make a monumental difference is to save at the beginning of your month, rather than at the end. Too many people trick themselves into thinking they are saving by just transferring what is left each month to their savings account. Sure they are saving, but they are not saving intentionally. If you don’t tell your money where to go, you’ll get to the end of the month and question where it went. Decide what you will save each month (after making a monthly budget) and take that straight to your savings account the day you get paid. Don’t allow yourself to touch it, not even for an emergency. Have a separate emergency fund of $1,000 so your savings can be safe. If you are married, try to live off of one income and save the second. This is difficult, but very doable by cutting certain expenses.
- Attack debt now – Step #2 doesn’t apply here – when it comes to debt get in the “Now” mindset. Though I’m not really a fan of Dave Ramsey he I do agree with his approach of attacking debt with “gazelle intensity.” (Don’t confuse this with Tony Little’s Gazelle which will get nowhere.) Go after your debt rather than letting it control you. Work on your highest interest loan first, and once you have paid it off, take the amount of that monthly payment and add it on to your next loan’s monthly amount. Many people make the mistake of paying off one debt and then taking that money they would’ve been spending and simply increasing their standard of living. Instead, wait to get out of debt completely and then celebrate with something small.
- Invest your savings – Be careful with this step. Don’t go after the get-rich-quick schemes. Look into the mutual funds and other financial vehicles that have historically been shown to appreciate in value. Your savings is not something to gamble with. Don’t make the first four steps obsolete by a reckless decision in the final step.
Whatever you do, make sure that your path to becoming a millionaire is focused on doing something that you absolutely love. Find your passion and follow it. When you do, those long hours and the stressful days becomes a lot more fun.