It takes time, sacrifice and consistency to join the million-dollar club
Quit fantasizing about marrying a millionaire, winning the lottery or walking off with a TV-quiz-show jackpot. By making your money work harder and smarter now, you can become a millionaire by the time you’re ready to kick back and trade work for play.
There’s no magic involved in reaching the million-dollar mark. If you set goals, do the research and start investing now, you can hit your wealth-building target on schedule. And you don’t have to be a financial whiz! What are needed are time, sacrifice and consistency.
Time is most significant: The longer you invest, the smaller the amount you need to put away each month to reach $1,000,000. Thus the younger you are when you start investing; the younger you’ll be when you join the million-dollar club. Many of the estimated 8 million millionaires began investing in their teens, and always with a long-term goal. Let’s say you’re 28 years old now, with no money saved or invested and would like to have a million-dollar portfolio of investments by the time you turn 60. You will need to invest $300 a month in stocks or stock mutual funds that have at least an 11 percent annual rate of return. If you increase your monthly investment to $500, you’ll hit your mark by age 54.
Failure to sacrifice stands between most of us and that million-dollar nest egg. Investing means forgoing present consumption to build future wealth. Buying shares in mutual funds lets you own a wide variety of stocks, thus spreading the risk. And professional portfolio management relieves you of having to decide which stocks to buy and if and when to sell. But if you choose to invest independent of a financial adviser or broker, read the mutual funds’ prospectus to be sure they match your goals.
Consistency will help you reach your goal on target. By investing regularly, you’ll become disciplined, spend less and put more money to work. Let’s say you buy shares in a stock mutual fund using a dollar-cost averaging. Your money will buy more shares when the price is low and fewer when it’s high, but your average cost per share will be lower than if you buy a constant number of shares regularly.
Once your portfolio reaches the magic million-dollar mark, whatever else you do, don’t stop investing; given the inflation rate–even a relatively modest rate of 3 percent a year–in 22 years $1,000,000 will have the buying power of $521,892 in today’s dollars.