I just read an article by Timothy McMahon, editor at Financial Trend Forecaster entitled All it Takes to Make a Million Dollars is Time, Consistency and Rate of Return.
McMahon shares some numbers and data to support this formula and it got me thinking about a pretty exciting reality: Anyone can be a millionaire.
It’s true. The tools are available, especially here in opportunity-rich North America, for anyone with a little bit of self-discipline and a willingness to learn. A-a-a-a-and there’s the rub. Despite having the key to the Million Dollar Formula, those two little characteristics make all the difference when it comes to WANTING a million dollars versus actually MAKING a million dollars.
Think about it. We all know that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And then another and another, until we finally reach the destination. We know the destination is there waiting for us even though we can’t see it. We know that paths are available to get us there, sometimes many different routes. So why do so many of us never actually make it there?
It’s been said that ultimately we are the sum of our choices in life. Nowhere is that more apparent than in our financial picture. Good habits are the cornerstone of success but to develop them you have to be willing to prioritize and maybe even curb some indulgences along the way.
The ability to delay gratification is a huge struggle for most of us. But it’s also your most powerful tool when it comes to money, saving and investing. If CONSISTENCY is one of the keys to the Million Dollar Formula, then having a plan and a system can really help you balance and manage the process, as well as to stay focused on the end goal. This is especially important when the goal is long-term, like retirement and the benefits can’t be seen or felt immediately. Make it as easy as possible for yourself to be successful!
Temptation and accessibility are the silent saboteurs when it comes to your money and savings. Take steps to make it harder to access your funds, like setting up a separate savings account that is NOT linked to your ATM card or locking up your credit cards (carry only one for true emergencies). Choose to go to the park or beach instead of the mall. Unsubscribe from magazines and emails with advertising and offers. Keep pictures to remind yourself of the end-goal and track your progress so you have a visual representation of your success.
Treat your savings like an iron-clad fixed expense and take it off the top of each paycheck no matter when or how often it comes in. YES, YOU CAN! Remember, it’s about making choices. Latte or $1M? Eat out or $1M? New car or $1M? Every single indulgence is a choice you make that adds up and pushes your goal back a little further. It’s not about doing without; it’s about priorities. If you want to get to the Million Dollar Destination you have to make it a priority. How quickly you get there depends on how high a priority you want (or need) to make it.
McMahon shares the math about the effects of Time and Consistency, along with an interesting thought: “Even if you don’t have a (lump sum) nest egg you can retire a millionaire. Simply by saving $10 per day and investing it at 15% per year you will still reach Millionaire status in 25 years. Is 25 years too long to save become a Millionaire? The average mortgage is 30 years! So why are people willing to go in debt for 30 years but not save for 25 years?”
Willingness to Learn
People will often tell themselves that others have more opportunities, more cash, more luck or more whatever so that they can absolve themselves of any and all responsibility for their own success (or failure!) The truth is that we are each in charge of how we handle the people, things and events in our lives.
We are in the Digital Information Age. There is information readily available on just about every possible topic you can think of, including money, finance and investing. There are many paths to get to the Million Dollar Destination but not all of them will be right for you. Taking time to read about different options and benefits will help you make informed decisions and more likely to avoid costly mistakes and setbacks.
Knowledge is power. Even a child can understand the value of knowledge. I asked my 13 year old son which he’d rather have: A million dollars or the ability to make a million dollars. He explained that, of course, knowing how to make a million would let him do it over and over again. (But as we all know, knowing and doing are two completely different things – cue self-discipline!)
Are you familiar with the phrase, The rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Knowledge and discipline really do make all the difference in the world. McMahon shares this insight:
The Wealthy buy Assets; the Poor buy Liabilities; The Middle Class buy Liabilities believing they are Assets.
Knowing the difference between an asset and a liability is fundamental to building wealth. Assets earn money and can appreciate in value; liabilities cost you and depreciate. A rental home has the capacity to provide income and tax benefits AFTER covering its operating expenses, as well as the potential to appreciate in value. Conversely, that boat you’re eyeing might provide hours of enjoyment and entertainment but it depreciates the minute you purchase and costs you every month for storage, gas, licensing, registration, maintenance and repairs.
As your funds grow, so will the temptation to spend and/or move them around. It’s important to understand the pros and cons and the ins and outs of what you are invested in so that you can make informed decisions, regardless of whether it’s the stock market, real estate or any other asset class. Rates of return vary greatly from product to product and every investment carries its own risk and parameters. Again, there are many possible paths to get to the Million Dollar Destination so you need a basic understanding how they work to decide which is right for you.
Million Dollar Formula
So here it is again, the not-so-secret formula for anyone to make a million dollars:
Time + Consistency + Rate of Return = $1Million
Whether it’s the magic of compound interest or the brilliance of principal reduction, the sooner you start, the longer your funds have to work for you.
You have the Million Dollar Formula ~ The big question now is what are you going to do with it?
BTW, did you know that one of the best graduation or birthday gifts that you can give your kids is a ROTH IRA? They may not fully appreciate it now but when it helps to pay for their college education or a down payment on a house, rest assured your kids will profusely thank and consider you a financial genius!