Most young professionals dream of becoming a millionaire. Even by today’s standards, a million dollars is quite substantial. It might not be worth as much as it once was, but it’s certainly a solid mark of financial success.
The trick to becoming a millionaire is to do it while you’re young. That way, you can enjoy your money while time is on your side.
Of course, if you want until you become older to become a millionaire you can still have fun and enjoy your golden years. But with a little bit of planning, you can arrive at this magic number long before you go grey.
In fact, you can become a millionaire before some of your friends even get real jobs. #goals, amirite?
Become a Millionaire by 30: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Make it your top goal
- Get to work
- Avoid bad debt
- Invest aggressively
- Diversify your income
- Enter the real estate game
- Stick to a budget
- Continue to build wealth
1. Make it your top goal
Becoming a millionaire is no easy feat. There are countless distractions and pitfalls to avoid along the way that can derail your mission and set you back years.
Only you can determine what these distractions are. For some people, they may be expensive trips to the bar on Friday night, which can burn your money and cost you a night of work (and the next day, if you’re hungover).
You may be better served staying in and growing your small business than going out and partying with friends every weekend. Instead of doing shots all night, you might decide to invest in real estate or try your hand at micro-lending, both activities that could help you unlock passive income streams.
Other people choose to take a year off after college, wasting a prime earning year jet setting around the globe (and often falling into debt in the process). College can be a financial trap too, unless you get a job and work through it, or find other ways to pay for college and avoid student loan debt.
If your goal is to become a millionaire at a young age, you need to stay focused after graduating college. With determination and the right approach, you may very well be able to accomplish it. Anything is possible!
On the flip side, if you don’t actively think about becoming a millionaire by 30, it’s much less likely you’ll reach that milestone.
2. Get to work
If you want to become a millionaire, you need money, plain and simple. The longer you delay building your nest egg, the more time you waste.
And if you’re trying to get to millionaire status, time is everything. You need time to make your money work as hard as possible.
Your first mission should be to get a job. It doesn’t matter if it’s driving for Uber or Lyft or working at a local convenience store. Whatever you do, start working and work as much as possible. Work two or three jobs if you have to, at nights and on weekends. And put away as much as you can.
What’s your “moneymaker”?
You should also figure out something you do really well. Chances are you have a gift you can monetize to start earning more money and launch a lucrative career. Maybe you have social media chops and are able to run accounts for startup tech companies, for example.
Or maybe, if you know how to draw pretty well, consider learning graphic design. If you’re good at communicating with people, learn how to master sales. If you speak English well, teach English online. If all you know how to do is argue, become a lawyer!
Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be something you’re amazing at. You can just be good enough, for now, and learn as you go along.
Either way, you should try to figure out a niche and run with it. This can significantly increase your earning potential over the long term.
In other words, find your inner diamond in the rough and look for a way to grow that skill set while you’re young.
3. Avoid bad debt
Not all debt is bad. In fact, some types of debt can help you get ahead. A real estate mortgage is an example of debt you can use to improve your overall financial situation.
What you want to avoid is bad debt, like consumer credit card debt, which can pummel you with high interest rates. Don’t get a credit card unless you’re responsible enough to stick to a budget and pay off your balances in full and on time every time.
Is student loan debt bad?
The answer to this question largely depends on where you go to school and whether you could get a cheaper degree somewhere else while earning the same amount or more after you graduate.
Whatever you do, avoid going to a brand-name school just for the college experience. Football games and frat parties are fun, but if you don’t have a clear direction with a dollar sign affixed to it, you could wind up paying for your four-year vacation for years to come, instead of profiting.
Remember: If you want to become a millionaire by 30, your early 20s are crucial. If you attend college, find a way to make money while you’re there. The more money you make during school, the better off you’ll be. And if you don’t go to college, your top priority should be making as much money as possible.
Keep in mind that college isn’t for everyone. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Imagine if you took the money you would’ve spent on college and invested it in index funds instead. You could be a millionaire by the time you’re 25!
4. Invest aggressively
Speaking of which: As you make money and avoid debt, it’s critical that you start investing your earnings as soon as possible.
There are two ways to invest if you want to become a millionaire by 30. First, you need to invest in a long-term retirement plan. Open a 401(k) through work or a solo 401(k) or a simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA if you’re self-employed or an independent contractor.
By doing so, you can leverage tax-free or tax-deferred growth, significantly increasing your chances of making a million dollars or more.
However, retirement plans come with a catch: You can’t access the money without a penalty until retirement age—59 ½.
This can be frustrating for young people. Imagine becoming a millionaire by age 30 but not being able to touch your money for decades. Of course, your money will grow significantly during that time, giving you a boatload of cash to live off of in your older years.
However, you’re still going to need more money to live a good life while your money grows in retirement funds. For this reason, you should also use a brokerage account.
By opening a brokerage account, you can access the full power of the stock market. However, you’ll pay taxes on capital gains and dividends.
While you’ll pay taxes with a brokerage account, you can still access larger returns compared to putting your money into deposit accounts that offer practically nothing in interest.
To sum it up, use brokerage and retirement accounts together to maximize your investments and grow your earnings into long-term wealth.
5. Diversify your income
Here’s an exciting concept: There is money to be made everywhere. Opportunities abound, and you should be salivating at the thought of earning as much as you can.
Working a full-time job is just one way to earn money. You should also have a side hustle like walking dogs or delivering food. Millionaires love making money and look for any way possible to start generating cash.
Begin looking for ways to diversify your income and try to make money during the majority of your waking hours. At the end of the working day, walk dogs for money. When you get home, take paid surveys on InboxDollars. And on Saturdays, shop for people in your community on Instacart.
The more income streams, the better. It’s also a good idea to look for opportunities to bring in passive income for a residual cash flow. You can sell pictures and put them on sites like Shutterstock to receive royalties from every download.
Steady brings together a large selection of gig economy jobs and makes it easy for you to earn extra money.
6. Enter the real estate game
Picture two young people, Joel and Tina.
Joel goes to college, barely works, and graduates with student debt.
Tina, on the other hand, works as hard as possible, living at home to save money while she goes to school and spending all her free time working side hustles. By senior year, Tina has enough money to buy a small duplex while most people her age are living in dorms and racking up debt.
Suffice it to say that investing in real estate can bring in a lot of money and propel you to millionaire status at a young age… assuming you get a lucrative piece of property in a great market. At the same time, real estate can also be a money pit. So don’t just jump in for the sake of jumping in.
If you don’t want to invest directly in real estate, look into real estate investment trusts (REITs), which you can buy just like stocks. These funds are required to pay out 90% of their profits as dividends to maintain REIT status.
7. Stick to a budget
As you start to make more money, the temptation to spend it is going to increase. Maybe you want a bigger car, a better place to live, or a new wardrobe. Or, you may want to spend your money on lavish brunches or weekend trips to the Bahamas.
Resist this lifestyle inflation at all costs. Remember: your goal is to become a millionaire, not spend money like one. If you can spend less money and increase the gap between your income and expenses, you’ll have more money to invest.
Make a budget and stick to it. This is the only way to avoid lifestyle inflation so you can reach millionaire status by 30.
You may be surprised to learn that millionaires typically stick to budgets. That’s because many people who become millionaires know how hard it is to get to that level and they want to protect their wealth.
8. Continue to build wealth
If all goes according to plan, you’re going to wake up on your 30th birthday with a net worth of $1 million or more.
The difficult part is accepting that nothing will be different. The sun will rise, you’ll get up in the morning as always, and your day will be just as busy as it is now.
The trick is to keep going.
Once you make $1 million, focus on making another million dollars and investing the money that you’ve generated to collect interest and grow your wealth.
If you get to $1 million at 30, you should make it a point to hit $5 million by 40, $10 million by 50, and so on. Why not?
Why You Should Become a Millionaire by 30
This begs the question: Why become a millionaire at 30 when you can spend your younger days having fun instead?
Here are some of the top reasons why you should prioritize becoming a millionaire by 30.
It builds character
The great entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said that you shouldn’t become a millionaire for the dollars, but for what it will make of you to achieve it.
Think of the sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching millionaire status by 30. Most people spend their 20s working odd jobs and finding themselves. That doesn’t mean you have to, too.
Becoming a millionaire at 30 can propel you out of poverty or the middle class and open up a world of possibilities.
There are better things to invest in at this level, charities to support, all kinds of interesting business leaders and entrepreneurs to meet, and exciting places to travel.
You can become a business owner, invest full-time, and give your family a better life. The possibilities are truly endless.
Achieve financial freedom
Becoming a millionaire at 30 offers true financial freedom. It means saying goodbye to working for a paycheck and saying hello to working from a laptop from the beach in your 30s, making investments, and launching business opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you put money into savings accounts in your 20s?
You absolutely should put money into savings accounts in your 20s. Investing can be risky. As such, it’s just as important to load money into interest-bearing deposit accounts protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Focus first on building an emergency fund that can float you for at least six months. That way, you won’t have to tap your investments if something happens to your main source of income.
Nobody knows what the future holds, so saving money is one of the smartest things you can do.
What is compound interest?
Compound interest is interest that collects on interest. As the interest grows, you earn more and more.
Over a period of two or three decades, you can significantly increase your initial earnings with compound interest. This is why Albert Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world!
What is financial independence?
Financial independence happens when you stop working for a paycheck at a day job and start living life on your terms because you don’t need money anymore. Reaching millionaire status by 30 is a great way to achieve financial independence.
That doesn’t mean you stop earning money when you reach financial independence. Rather, your life changes direction, and you start doing more of what you love.
The average person can reach financial independence at a young age by making the right personal finance and life decisions over time. It requires a strong work ethic, consistency, and a solid investment portfolio.
When you really think about it, keeping this mindset up can help you bring in any amount of money in the long run.
The Bottom Line
The journey to becoming a millionaire at 30 starts as soon as you leave high school. If you’re focused on making money, strive to reach the million-dollar mark and don’t let anything stand in your way. And if you’re already 30, try to become a millionaire by the time you’re 40.
It’s never too late to achieve financial freedom!
If you’re thinking about becoming a millionaire, one of the most important things to do is try your hand at entrepreneurship. Look for a way to distinguish yourself and start making money with your own business and investments.
Reach for the stars. Who knows? You just may become a billionaire in the process. Either way, I’m rooting for you.