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Becoming a millionaire

February 22, 2010

I will be a millionaire.

Maybe not this decade, and maybe not next decade, but at some point in my life, I will have a million dollars in net worth.

Most people ask me why I want to be a millionaire, when I mention it.

I certainly don’t want to do it so I can be an ostentatious jerk like the people you see on TV. I don’t want to be a millionaire so so I can be one of those people who spends all their money of big houses and cars and fancy jewlery. I don’t even want to be a millionaire so I don’t have to work.

No.

Reason #1: ‘Cause “they” told me I couldn’t (read: “Sheer bullheadedness”)
I want to be a millionaire because people tell me it can’t be done. Not only that, but it’s something that most “normal” people from middle-class background (i.e., me) don’t think they can do. Live comfortably, sure, but a millionaire? Not as likely. Being a millionaire is seemingly reserved for people who’s families are already rich (they have a head start, and insider knowledge), or for people who are coming from nothing (they have the motivation to change their situation), or for young, intelligent upstarts who don’t want to play by the rules (see Richard Branson).

Reason #2: Financial security and peace of mind
I want to be able to leave my children and grandchildren a legacy (to be passed on when they’re old enough to handle it responsibly). I don’t want to have to worry about my retirement money running out, and I never want to be a burden to my family when I’m older. I also want to be able to take care of my parents when they’re older, and retired, because I don’t want them to worry about anything.

Reason #3: I want to travel with my family
I have always loved traveling, and I’ve always wanted to have a family. My family traveled some when I was growing up, to Colorado and the Southwest, and we always went camping, but I never got to go out of the country until I went on study abroad. And I would like to be able to do things like that with my children, and my parents. Just for fun.

Reason #4: I want to be able to do the work I want to do
I don’t mind work; in fact, I rather enjoy it. But at the same time, I want to do the work that I want to do. Granted, this is more likely a means to go to being a millionaire than a benefit of being a millionaire, but still.

Reason #5: I want to do it because I want to help people
I know that you don’t have to be a millionaire to help people, and I certainly don’t plan to wait until I reach that goal to start (I mean, who knows, I might not reach it until I’m in my late sixties or early seventies or something), but I know that it will help. I want to leave a legacy, and a way to help people who are starting in a position of disadvantage get a step up. I’m not sure exactly how I will help people when I have money, but it’s something I know I want to do when I get to that point.

My plan: To live below my means, live debt free, spend wisely, invest wisely, and generally be frugal. In short, I plan to be a millionaire like the people described in the book The Millionaire Next Door (affiliate link).

Who knows, I may not hit a million. But you know what that old cliche: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” (Les Brown)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 22, 2010 10:13 am

    This is a great post, and I felt I should respond to it.

    Pre) Economic classes develop because of disparities in individuals’ earning potential and income. However, they persist and compound the disparity (read: rich get richer and poor stay poor) because of interest on people’s savings and loans. Not spending may make you a millionaire (and SOMEONE has to save in order for anyone to get a loan!), but realize that it is happening as a result of interest paid on the debt your savings are funding. (That is not so much for you, Megan, as it is for other people who might read these.)

    Also, I would like to differentiate between wanting to be rich so you do not have to work, and wanting to be rich so you can choose to not work. Choosing not to work turns one from a productive member of society into a pure consumer, producing no additional value to society. Being ABLE to not work means your financial life is stable enough to survive intact even after a serious, income-preventing incident (loss of a loved one, serious accident, medical troubles…) and, IMHO, is one of the most appealing parts of being rich as it takes mounds of stress out of your life. I would also clarify that “work” that does not pay, like volunteering and non-profits is still a form of work.

    1) ANYONE (starting under the age of 30, maybe a bit older) can become a millionaire (especially with the inflation we are looking at over the next decade, lol, *sigh*, :cries: ). However, deciding to do it and keeping with the program (metaphorical, no specific *magic* plan) is the dividing factor between those who want it and those who do it.

    4) Sadly, I would disagree and say that is definitely a benefit of BEING rich rather than a means to becoming a millionaire. Woking hard and maintaining continued employment and saving is more important to becoming a millionaire than doing what you love. Albeit it is easier to work hard if you enjoy what you are doing.

    5) Simply having the money and having made the money helps and has helped people. You get paid for having provided value to other people and debt can only be financed from other people’s savings. You enable a school to build its expansion by purchasing a municipal school bond; you allow a couple to get a bank loan for their first home or to get a replacement vehicle when your money is saved with that bank. The power plant worker who keeps the reactor burning is allowing thousands of people to light their rooms, heat their buildings, and power their computers — that is very valuable to society, although a different kind of “help” than running a soup kitchen. (There are many cases where one could argue about the division of value between what is paid to the worker and what is kept as net benefit to society, but I will leave that for a different time.)

    If you can keep your attitude then I have no doubt you will be a millionaire some day.

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