How to Become a Millionaire: 9 Proven Strategies [2023]

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In my 7+ years as a wealth advisor, I worked with clients worth up to $100 Million.

During that time, I studied the strategies they used to become millionaires…

And I used those strategies myself to help build my net worth from $0 to $1 Million by age 27.

And in this guide, I’m going to break down those exact strategies so you can apply them too.

Let’s dive in!

In this article

The Secret to Becoming a Millionaire

Now, before we dive into these strategies, I have a question for you:

Do you believe that becoming a millionaire is unattainable?

If you said yes, then think again.

Because there are over 1,700 new millionaires created every single day!

1,700+ new millionaires are created daily

Source: Bloomberg

In today’s world of entrepreneurship, almost anyone who is willing to put in the:

  • Time
  • Effort
  • Patience
  • Dedication

Will likely see results – over the long term. 

And here’s another crazy statistic:

80% of millionaires are self-made.

80% of millionaires are from the first generation

In other words, they started from $0 and built their wealth from the ground up.

Through hard work, grit, and determination.

The secret is this: To build a better tomorrow, you have to give up a little today.

If you’re not able to sacrifice a little today, then you shouldn’t plan on building a successful future.

How to Become a Millionaire

Becoming a millionaire (unless you win the lottery or receive an inheritance) will take a lot of hard work, patience, and effort.

If you follow the strategies below, you’ll have a real chance to become a millionaire, the legit way.

Step #1: Analyze Your Current Situation

Before you even think about your action plan to build your millionaire future, you first need to analyze your current situation.

Below are a few things I’d recommend for you to analyze:

Let’s start by discussing your net worth. 

Your net worth = assets – liabilities.

In other words, your net worth is equal to what you own (your assets) minus what you owe (your liabilities).

You’ll want to work toward a positive net worth – but even if you have a net worth equal to $0, that’s an awesome start.

The median net worth for Americans age 35 to 44 is $91,300.

The median net worth for Americans age 34 to 44 is $91,300

Source: CNBC

Your net worth will typically increase as you age (that’s because as you age, you likely increase your income).

When was the last time you checked your net worth?

If you’ve never checked your net worth before, that’s totally OK – you can get started with my net worth template below.

Remember: Your net worth = assets – liabilities.

Fill out the template and be honest with yourself.

free net worth template

Free Net Worth Template

Sign up below to receive my free net worth template and my latest content updates.

Don’t get a panic attack if your net worth is negative.

That’s ok – and it’s actually pretty typical if you’re in your 20’s or even in your early 30’s, just because we have student debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, car debt, etc. to offset our assets. 

Some typical examples of debt include:

  • Auto debt
  • Mortgages
  • Student loans
  • Business loans
  • Credit card debt

Some typical examples of assets include:

  • Patents
  • Equity in home
  • Savings accounts
  • Investment accounts

Now it’s time to add your net worth together.

It’s probably a good idea to check your net worth every quarter or every month at the most.

Now that you have a rough picture of your net worth, it’s time to determine where you want to be in X amount of years.

And if your goal is to be a millionaire by 35, then that would be your net worth goal.

Now that you have an overarching goal, it’s time to break it down into smaller, more actionable goals.

Here’s an example:

  • Invest $3,500 every month
  • Stay out of high-interest debt
  • Build 3 passive income streams
  • Contribute the maximum to an HSA
  • Contribute the maximum to Roth IRAs
  • Save and invest 75% of annual income
  • Maintain an adequate emergency fund

As you can see, these goals are actionable, they are precise, and they give some guidance on what you need to do to accomplish your ultimate goal.

Now, take some time to think about the mini-goals you need to pursue to make your millionaire dream a reality. 

The Bottom Line: If you want to become a millionaire in your 30’s, you need to commit and relentlessly pursue your mini-goals.

It’s not going to be easy, and you’ll need to put in 100% of your efforts.

Step #2: Become a Master Budgeter

If your ultimate goal is to become a millionaire, then you really need to improve your budgeting.

First, you need to figure out:

  1. How much debt you owe
  2. How much you’re spending
  3. How much money you already have saved (and invested)

What needs to happen next:

  • Reduce high-interest debt to $0
  • Spend less than you earn and use frugal habits
  • Increase saving and investing as much as possible

If your goal is to become a millionaire, you’re going to have to give up a lot in order to make your goals a reality.

And that’s why you will need a partner who’s on board with your plan.

So, first and foremost, you need to create a budget to track your income and expenses.

My budgeting rules of thumb would say the following:

  • Monthly housing debt: < 28% gross monthly income
  • Total monthly consumer debt: < 20% of net monthly income
  • Total monthly debt payments: < 36% of gross monthly income

This chart is fairly accurate – but only if your goal is to continue on your current path.

If your goal is to become a millionaire, then we will need to make some serious modifications to this chart.

You will need to decrease your expenses drastically.

And by drastically, I mean this:

  • Cut the cord
  • Stop eating out
  • Go thrift shopping
  • Don’t buy new cars
  • Stop taking vacations
  • Stop buying new clothes
  • Consider downsizing your home
  • Find a roommate to split housing costs

If you want to become a millionaire, you must align your words with your actions.

However, this is the part where becoming a millionaire might not be so much fun.

Why?

Because you’ll likely see these things happen, while you’re dramatically cutting back on all expenses:

  • Your friends buying big homes
  • Your colleagues buying the newest cars
  • Your colleagues buying designer outfits
  • Your friends traveling to hot vacation spots
  • Your friends going out to the hottest restaurants 

Yes, it’s going to sting a bit, but after a while, you get used to it.

Why?

Because you have to remind yourself of your goal: Becoming a millionaire.

And chances are that your friends and colleagues will NOT be millionaires in the same time frame, because they’re spending money on luxury things.

Make sure to keep an eye on those monthly expenses and cut them when possible.

Some examples of recurring monthly expenses include:

  • Internet bills
  • Car payments
  • Cable TV costs
  • Cellphone bills

The Bottom Line: One of the fastest and most effective ways you can ensure becoming a millionaire is by becoming a master budgeter.

Create a budget, stick to your budget, and remember to always spend less than you earn.

To become a millionaire, you must stick to your goal and stay strong.

Step #3: Pay Off High-Interest Debt

If you have high-interest debt, you’re making your millionaire journey harder.

Do you want to become a millionaire?

If the answer is yes, then you’ll need to eliminate bad debt…NOW.

Here are 2 types of debt:

  • Bad debt – High-interest debt often used for depreciating assets
  • Smart debt – Debt used for appreciating assets

Some common examples of bad debt include:

  • Car debt
  • Payday loans
  • Credit card debt

And although car debt may not always be high-interest debt (which is typically defined as debt with interest rates of over 10%), cars, in general, are depreciating assets.

This is why I would categorize car debt under the “bad debt” scenario.

Some common examples of smart debt include:

  • Mortgage
  • Student loans
  • Business debt

There are several ways to pay off debt and you should start paying off your bad debt ASAP.

One option you could consider when paying down your debt, is debt consolidation.

Debt Consolidation Defined: Debt consolidation is when you take out 1 loan (typically at lower interest rates) to pay off all your other, high-interest debt.

Remember that debt consolidation only solves the issue at hand: Your debt.

But, it doesn’t solve the root of the issue (if there is one), which could be your spending habits.

If you feel like your spending habits were the reason you fell into the debt trap in the first place, it might be time to seek out professional help.

Debt consolidation can be helpful – only if you are 100% dedicated to paying off your loans.

You need to be 100% committed to your goal, which might mean that you may have to make paying off your debt the priority over investing and/or saving.

The Bottom Line: One easy way to guarantee that you won’t achieve your millionaire goal is by keeping high-interest debt (like credit card debt).

High-interest debt will rob you of your future self.

Step #4: Invest as Early as Possible

I used to think that all millionaires were made because they invested in some glamorous investment, like:

  • Bitcoin
  • Dogecoin
  • The next “Apple”
  • A hot new real estate project

You get the point.

The fact of the matter is that most millionaires don’t earn their money through exotic investment opportunities. 

Instead, they earn their money through:

  • Long-term investing
  • Consistent investing
  • Low-cost index fund investing

In fact, 80% of millionaires invested in their company’s 401k, which helped them achieve their financial success.

80% of millionaires invested in their company’s 401k, which helped them achieve financial success

Even more important – becoming a millionaire takes a lot of time. 

In fact, it took the average millionaire about 28 years of hard work, saving, and investing before they cracked the million-dollar marker.

The last thing I want you to keep in mind is that the majority of millionaires actually don’t have super high-paying C-Suite jobs.

In fact, the top 5 careers for millionaires include:

  • Teacher
  • Attorney
  • Engineer
  • Accountant
  • Management

Once again, I want to prove to you that you don’t need to have a job that pays $100,000 or more for you to become a millionaire.

In fact, only 31% of millionaires stated their income averaged $100,000 or more over the entire course of their careers.

31% of millionaires stated their income averages $100,000 or more over the entire course of their careers

How do most millionaires make their money?

Here’s how:

  • They invest early
  • They invest consistently
  • They increase investments as their income increases

What if you’re not sure how to start investing?

Easy.

Just open an investment account with a platform like M1 Finance.

You can either build your own portfolio or you can select from 80 professional portfolios.

This is the sure-fire way to become a millionaire.

The Bottom Line: One advantage that early investors have is time.

The earlier you invest, the faster your investments will grow over time, and that’s because of the power of compound interest.

Even with just a $100 investment, you’ll see results in the long run.

Step #5: Save & Invest as Much as Possible

If you want to become a millionaire, then you need to start saving and investing as much as humanly possible.

Sadly, however, the median checking account balance for American households was just $3,400.

The median checking account balance for American households was just $3,400

And the statistics become even worse…

About 38% of Americans are unable to come up with $500 of cash (without selling something of theirs or taking out a loan) for an emergency.

38% of Americans are unable to come up with $500 of cash

If you find yourself falling into one of these statistics, then stop right now and figure out how you can increase your savings.

So many rules of thumb say that you should save 10% to 15% of your income.

If you want to be a millionaire, those rules of thumb will likely not cut it.

Instead, set your sights higher, so you save (and invest) around 50% to 80% of your gross annual income.

No, I’m not kidding.

If you feel like you’re having trouble even saving 10% of your gross annual income, first, start a budget with top apps like YNAB.

After setting up your budget, you’ll need to focus on:

  • Cutting costs as much as possible
  • Increasing income as much as possible
  • Investing the difference as consistently as possible

Even if you can only afford a $5 investment every week, then do it.

The Bottom Line: Invest as much as humanly possible if your goal is truly to become a millionaire.

Don’t just invest 20% of your income.

Plan to invest 50% or more of your income to truly accomplish your millionaire goal.

Step #6: Invest in Yourself

Investing in the stock market is one thing, but investing in yourself is a completely different ballgame.

The highest return on your investment will be when you invest in yourself.

No, you don’t need a formal college degree (or an Ivy League degree) to become a millionaire.

In fact, there is so much information out there, at your fingertips through:

  • Blogs
  • E-Books
  • Libraries
  • YouTube

Cutting your expenses is limiting. Increasing your income is limitless.

To increase your income, you need to invest in yourself.

Remember the following:

  • Increase your knowledge
  • Increase your value
  • Increase income

In other words, the more knowledge you have, the more money you make.

And that’s why you should always continue to invest in yourself.

The most important thing is to start investing in yourself.

Starting today.

The Bottom Line: Start by reading books, listening to self-improvement podcasts, or even continuing your education to increase your knowledge, add value, and increase your income.

Step #7: Surround Yourself with Winners

If you want to think like a millionaire, then you have to surround yourself with millionaires.

And that’s just the truth.

If you want to:

  • Be a millionaire
  • Act like a millionaire
  • Think like a millionaire

Then chances are, you’ll need to surround yourself with millionaires to learn from them. 

In many cases, you can find millionaires (or at minimum, people who are well-known winners) in some of the following places:

  • Your local university
  • Your community events
  • Your Chamber of Commerce

When you meet various people in your life, you’ll want to make sure to keep their contact information or business card.

Periodically, reach out to them to:

  • Wish them happy holidays
  • Wish them happy birthday
  • Ask them how their pet is doing
  • Ask them about their recent vacation

Why should you put so much effort into keeping your network close?

Your network will be much more inclined to help you if you stay up to date with them.

The more you stay in their forefront vision, the more likely it is that they will help you should you need their help.

Here are some additional networking tips:

  • Keep a network diary
  • Always ask for a business card
  • Reach out to your contact every quarter or so
  • Set important dates as recurring in your calendar
  • Note some items you remember from your conversation
  • Note their physical appearance on the business card to remember how they look 

If you haven’t already, it’s time to find a mentor to help you on your way.

Mentors are the ultimate shortcut in life. 

Mentors help:

  • Guide
  • Navigate
  • Brainstorm

Essentially, mentors help you in life because they’ve already “been there, done that,” and they can give you guidance for your personal, financial, and professional life.

I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my mentor.

The Bottom Line: If you want to be a millionaire, then chances are, you’ll have to think like a millionaire.

The fastest way to understand how millionaires think is by surrounding yourself with them and other winners.

Step #8: Become Your Own Boss

School teaches us to become excellent employees.

But what schools fail to teach, is how to become an employer.

An entrepreneur.

And let me tell you something:

If you want to improve your chances of becoming a millionaire, then you need to become your own boss.

In fact, 66% of millionaires own their own businesses.

66% of millionaires own their own business

If you’re an employee, your income is limited to:

  • How much your boss likes you
  • The time you spend in the office
  • How well you get along with your co-workers

In other words, your income as an employee is always limited. 

However, when you become your own boss, your income potential becomes unlimited – both on the upside and on the downside.

Becoming your own boss doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start a multi-million dollar business.

In fact, becoming your own boss may just mean starting your own side hustle.

I can’t tell you how many people I know who have started their own side hustle who later quit their day jobs to work on their business full time.

Some side hustles can pay you some serious money down the road.

The downside is that some side hustles typically take years to build – often with 0% returns – or even negative returns – in the first few months/years. 

However, in the long run (if you are consistent and stick with your plan), you could probably make north of $10,000 per month.

Whatever amount of money you earn from side hustles, make sure you:

  • Pay off high-interest debt
  • Save and invest as much as possible

Be consistent, be relentless, and be focused.

If you stick with your plan, you’ll have a very good chance of making your millionaire goal a reality.

The Bottom Line: Increasing your income is unlimited – and you can virtually do anything when you become your own boss.

That doesn’t necessarily mean starting your own company, you can also become a sidepreneur and start a side hustle.

Step #9: Choose Your Partner Carefully

One of the most important financial decisions of your life will involve who you choose as your long-term partner.

In fact, your long-term partner could make or break your financial future. 

About 60% of relationship fights are about one partner’s spending habits.

60% of relationship fights are centered around a partner’s spending habits

And, there really is a formula to a successful relationship: Be open with your finances and discuss your financial dreams with your partner.

In fact, 94% of respondents say they have a “great” marriage because they openly discuss their financial dreams with their partners.

Clearly, there is a link between the success of your financial future (in this case, achieving millionaire status) and the quality of your relationship.

Becoming a millionaire with a supportive spouse by your side will be so much easier than if you have a partner working against you. 

The Bottom Line: One of the best things you can do for your future self is to find a partner who supports you and who also shares your frugal financial mindset.

Marrying the right person is the most important part of building wealth.

Closing Thoughts

To recap, here are the steps you need to take to become a millionaire:

  1. Analyze Your Current Situation
  2. Become a Master Budgeter
  3. Pay off High-Interest Debt
  4. Invest as Early as Possible
  5. Save & Invest as Much as Possible
  6. Invest in Yourself
  7. Surround Yourself with Winners
  8. Become Your Own Boss
  9. Choose Your Partner Carefully

Now you have all the information you need to crush it.

Follow the steps above with consistency and relentless dedication.

I have full faith in you!

Now it’s your turn:

Which strategy are you going to try first?

Maybe it’s calculating your net worth, or creating a budget.

Either way, let me know by commenting below 🙂

Fiona Smith
Fiona Smith
Fiona Smith is the founder and CEO of The Millennial Money Woman. She has spent 10+ years studying finance, with the last 7 as a wealth and investment advisor. She has worked with clients with a net worth of up to $100M and holds her Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning. She has also co-founded a local non-profit community teaching financial literacy and her work is featured on Forbes, FinCon, and MSN.

20 thoughts on “How to Become a Millionaire: 9 Proven Strategies [2023]”

  1. You’ve got some good pointers in here MMW!

    This sums it well: “I have cut out discretionary spending (like eating out), built up an emergency savings account, max out my 401k, max-contribute to my ROTH IRA all while still living a life I love.”

    As long as you don’t cut discretionary spending to the point of detriment in your ability to maintain healthy levels of savings & investment over the long term, that’s definitely a key point — the savings & investment have to come from somewhere after all.

    Looks like you’re on a solid track, especially since you’re thinking about all these things in your mid-20s!

    Building the mentality to reach for financial independence at that age pays more dividends than you might expect, and I’m not talking about money.

    1. Chris, First of all, I want to say thank you so much for your kind words and for the thoughtful comment you crafted. I really appreciate it.

      You are absolutely correct when you say that it is important to save and work toward financial freedom without entirely sacrificing the enjoyment you can take out of life. I think of it like dieting: If you are too stringent (with food or finance) then there is a much higher likelihood that you fall back into your original (and probably not cost-effective) spending pattern. You cannot be a total hedonist, but you also cannot be a total ascetic either. It’s important to find a happy medium, just like you said.

      If people find a way to engrain productive financial behavior in their lifestyle from an early age (which will include delayed gratification), then I would assume they likely will see financial success down the road. It’s just a matter of maintaining that long term vision.

      I look forward to hearing more from you Chris! Thanks again.

  2. Congs Fiona
    I really agree with you that your long time partner can either increase or break your earning for good. And there are proven facts for this. The truth is love and money is a sensitive topic. Sometimes we love the wrong people all the time , and not only do they break our hearts but also take away our life savings. Chosing the right partner remains very important but difficult.

    Awesome post btw.

    Cheers.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the post 🙂
      You’re absolutely right in that your partner can make or break your future financial goals. It’s so important to choose your future partner wisely.
      Cheers!

      Fiona

  3. Great thoughts here as usual.

    I will start by cutting down my spending drastically , pay off my business loan and put more into savings that can be used to upgrade my business in terms of sales , marketing , expansion and equipments buying to my hospitals.

    Thank you.

    1. Hello Adebeshin,
      Thank you so much for your kind words!
      Small changes can certainly yield large results – and as long as you are patient and consistent with your efforts, you’ll very likely start seeing positive results. You probably won’t see overnight success, but if you stick with your goals, there is a high probability change can happen. Continued luck to you!

      Cheers,

      Fiona

  4. Wow, such a great article! I loved how you broke all the info down and gave examples! Yes, blogging is such a wonderful side hustle! I’m planning to building into a business real soon! It’s a lot of work, especially when juggling school + work, but it’s so worth the long term gains!

    Here’s to us bloggers!

    xx Sara

  5. This is so enlightening!
    I recently started my Passive Income journey and intend to save and invest most of the income while using my 9-5 to take care of my expenses!
    I’d definitely implement the things I have learnt from this🙂

    1. Hello Idara,

      Thank you so much for your kind words!
      I’m so happy to hear this article helped 🙂 It sounds like you have a pretty solid plan on how to build your future.

      Good luck on your journey!

      Fiona

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