How to Make a Million Dollars [13 Great Ways Updated for 2022 ]

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Be Patient

Regardless of the path you choose to get rich, it will take time. Investing in the stock market takes years for your money to grow and compound. Starting a business and nursing it to success doesn’t happen overnight. When it comes to the math of compounding returns, the greatest financial growth occurs in the later years. “Making your first million will often take longer than making your second,” said Daniel Zajac, certified financial planner and partner at the Zajac Group. “Whether it’s through building a business, or years and years of saving, the first million is often the hardest. Stay committed, stay patient and keep your eyes focused on the goal.” Don’t let the initial slow growth through compounding or the pitfalls of starting your own business thwart your long-term wealth aspirations. Fear and impatience can be your worst enemies when trying to make $1 million.

4. Own Your Home

Many of us rent a home or an apartment because we cannot afford to purchase a home, or because we aren’t sure where we want to live for the long term. And that’s fine. However, renting is often not a good long-term investment because buying a home is a good way to build equity.

Unless you intend to move in a short period of time, it generally makes sense to consider putting a down payment on a home. At least this way, over time, you can build up some equity and the foundation for a nest egg.

5. Make Something Better

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, fire, or the home computer to become a millionaire.

You could try, but why swim upstream when there’s an easier way to make much more money that takes less effort?

Another path — and one of lesser resistance — is to take an idea that’s already been put into practice and then improve on it.

So, while coming up with the next Uber, Space X or iPhone could make you rich overnight, you don’t have to struggle with trying to do that.

Let’s look at a business model that’s doing well right now and find ways to improve on it.

In our example, we’ll use a fast-food restaurant order and delivery app — most cities or countries around the world have at least one of these services operating there.

You start researching how you can improve on the fast-food delivery app, and you realize they’re charging each restaurant a 15% fee on every single order sent through the app.

This then means every customer’s meal is more expensive than it needs to be.

Now you need to come up with ways you could launch a similar service, but only charge the restaurants a 7.5% fee instead of the exorbitant 15% they’re paying right now.

You could also come up with special “meal deals” that are only available to users of your fast-food delivery app.

Very few fast-food businesses could refuse a deal like that, especially if you can offer them some level of exclusivity in the area e.g. you might only allow the top five Thai restaurants in a given area to offer their food via your app.

Or how about a service competing with DogVacay, where dog hosts only kickback 10% to the service provider, instead of the 20% DogVacay currently charges?

Sure, either of the above ideas will take time and money to implement, but earning a million dollars in just a few short years requires effort and investment.

You can find thousands of stories online about people who came up with simple business ideas that made them millions.

You just got two million dollar ideas free of charge. You’re welcome.

Index Funds

  • Invest in low-cost index funds. They can be ETFs or mutual funds. Compare their expense ratios and average annual returns using a site like Morningstar. For Nancy, I assumed an average annual rate of return of 7%. 
  • First invest in tax-efficient accounts, like 401(k)s, IRAs, or HSAs, before using normal brokerage accounts

I would love to learn more about what you think. Send me an email at if you have any questions or doubts. Meanwhile, check out the following hashtags #debtfreecommunity #FIRE #FIREjourney and be empowered by all the amazing goals these communities are accomplishing across the socials.

Adjust Your Lifestyle

Discard the myth that millionaires all spend with abandon and live high on the hog. In the book, “Millionaire Next Door,” award-winning authors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko studied how individuals became rich, and their findings were surprising. “Many people who live in expensive homes and drive luxury cars do not actually have much wealth,” they wrote. “Then, we discovered something even odder: Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods.” The authors found that high salaries don’t necessarily translate into high net worth. In fact, Stanley and Danko found that those who accumulated the most wealth would be considered frugal themselves, and married to conservative spenders as well. The gap between income and spending is an asset for those learning how to get rich. Think about it realistically: You can’t build wealth if you spend all that you earn — or worse yet, spend more than you earn.

Step 4: Find a million-dollar business idea (it’s easier than you think)

One very common misconception about starting your own freelance hustle is that you need to come up with the “perfect” idea to do it — when that couldn’t be further from the case.

I know it’s difficult to imagine that you might have profitable skills already — but you do. In fact, Shannon has a perfect solution to find out those skills: Look at what your friends ask you to help them out with. That’s how she got her start as a freelance CPA consultant.

From Shannon:

“I had a colleague who needed help sorting through her finances. She asked me to help her out, and she became my first client. Then I had another friend who started a law office and needed help, so I helped them out with all of their accounting. I’d meet with them to make sure that they were still compliant and help with their tax returns.

It just started with helping people as a hobby, but then my husband pointed out that I was getting clients without even trying. Eventually, I was able to start a freelancing business from it.”

Sometimes it’s just a matter of trial and error like it was for Erik. He says:

“Before freelancing, I was at a large tech company, and regularly tried my hand at little entrepreneurial side-projects. Come to think of it, I’ve attempted to sell made-to-measure men’s suits, novelty wall clocks, coaching, and both product and digital design services. But nothing really stuck until Learn UI Design.”

Spend about 10 – 20 minutes now writing down five skills that you already have and could charge money for. Once you’re done, congratulations — you now have 5 potential business ideas that you can grow into a flourishing side hustle.

For now, just choose one business idea. It’s okay, you can always change it later. For now, we’re going to just try one out and try to find a client with it.

Need to find a way to earn money without leaving your house? Check out my free List of 30 Proven Business Ideas to find the perfect opportunity for your lifestyle.

6. Dont Sell Yourself Short

Some individuals are extremely loyal to their employers and will stay with them for years without seeing their incomes take a jump. This can be a mistake, as increasing your income is an excellent way to boost your rate of saving.

Always keep your eye out for other opportunities and try not to sell yourself short. Work hard and find an employer who will compensate you for your work ethic, skills, and experience.

Finally, find your magic monthly savings number

As you’ll see in the charts below, you’ll likely want to take on some investment risk to increase your chances of earning a higher return over time. Otherwise, you’ll be tasked with finding a way to save a whole lotta dough each month.

You check out the summary in the graphic at the start of this article.

If you have 40 years until retirement

Those with the longest investment horizon are in the best shape, thanks to the magic of compound interest.

If you start early and retire late, you could retire a millionaire by saving just $179 per month, assuming a 10% rate of return. Using a more conservative 6% rate of return, you will need to save $522 per month.

Related: Still don’t believe in the power of compound interest? You have to see this

If you have 30 years until retirement

Waiting just 10 years has a huge effect on the amount you’ll have to save to reach your goal. Even with an average annual return of 10%, you’ll have to save $481 per month to get to $1 million before you retire. At 6%, you would need to save $1,021 per month.

If you have 20 years until retirement

The longer you wait to start saving, the more cash you’ll have to put aside each month to reach your goal. If you wait until retirement is 20 years away, you will need to save $1,382 per month to hit the million-dollar mark, assuming a 10% return. At 6% you will need to save $2,195 per month!

If you have 10 years until retirement

As you can see, waiting until the last 10 years before retirement is a dicey strategy. At 10% returns, you would have to save $4,964 per month to reach a million dollars. That’s pretty tough to do, especially if you haven’t built up the habit of saving consistently over your lifetime.

If the returns were lower, it seems even more impossible: at 6%, you would need to put away $6,125 per month to get to a million.

For those of you somewhere in between the numbers listed below, use MU30’s calculator to find your own numbers.

The bottom line is, the longer you have left and the higher your average annual return, the greater your chances of reaching your goal.

The good news for savers and investors is that if you’re saving through a 401(k) or another employer-sponsored retirement plan, your employer may be matching a percentage of your savings. Those matches can make a huge impact on a retirement portfolio, no matter where in the savings cycle you are.

Millionaire Calculator Terms & Definitions

  • Current Savings – The amount of money you’ve already saved – both tax deferred in retirement plans and taxable in regular savings or brokerage accounts.
  • Monthly Deposit – The amount of money you will contribute to savings each month.
  • Annual Interest Rate – The rate of return on your investment savings.
  • Average Annual Inflation Rate – The annual rate of change of prices (as indicated by a price index).
  • Net Present Value – The value of your money after adjusting for inflation’s erosive effect to purchasing power.

Become A Millionaire

Have you ever wondered how people retire with a million dollars (or more)?

How did they become millionaires?

With this millionaire calculator, you can discover how long it will take you at your current income and savings rate to acquire your first million dollars. It’s not that hard.

Invest Early and Often

  • The best time to start investing is now. The numbers show that a 21-year-old who invests for 10 to 15 years for a lower amount can outperform someone who starts investing heavily at 45. The idea is that you want to give our friend compound interest the time to work its magic.

Hustle and Hustle More

No one is going to hand you a million dollars. You have to hustle and be consistent. It took me a few years of constantly working 14 hours every day until my business partner and I generated our first seven-figure earnings. Today, I can leverage my time and money to create greater products and live my lifestyle at the next level. 

So keep on hustling and hustle more every day until you are already making your first million dollars of earnings. But remember — you can only hustle more if you are passionate about what you are doing. And after days of hustling, make sure you take some time to recharge — you need rest in order to be productive!

Build a List

If I could start over again, the first thing I would do is build a list of prospects instead of creating a website. I realized it was a mistake to create a website at the start because I was only doing what most people were doing at that time. Having a website is fine if you are using it as a platform for building a list of business objectives, but make sure to keep your priorities in order. 

The list is essential because it is your target audience where you can sell and acquire participants for your paid events. Your list is also a good source of traffic for your website and an excellent pool of prospects to your landing page. If you have no audience, no distribution, or no list, you have no money.

So, start building an audience by having a list! You can do this through subscriptions and email newsletters. You may give away freebies and perks like ebooks, tutorials, webinars, and coaching sessions for those who opt-in to your subscription. Spend time building a list, and you’ll have a constant source of prospects for your products and services. One of the things I did was guest posting at highly-reputable sports blogs. My exposure to these popular sites allowed me to build a list of qualified prospects for my events. 

8. Earn Income on the Side

James Foster

James Foster

A part-time job or side gig courtesy of the sharing economy could be the ticket to generating some extra cash. If you invest the money or use it to, say, help you buy a house, you’ll get closer to your $1 million goal.

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Danielle and Joe Haymes of Houston found a side gig they love two years ago after searching for a place to board their two dachshunds. Danielle is a technology instructor for a local school district and Joe is a sales manager, but they decided to become dog sitters on the side after learning about DogVacay, which matches pet sitters with dog owners. The Haymeses usually take in three to four dogs at a time, depending on their schedules. In 2015, they earned about $13,000; the year before, they earned about $12,000. (Sitters set their own rates and pay 20% to DogVacay.) That income alone might not make them millionaires, but they’re planning to use it as leverage to reach a larger goal: They have saved most of the money as a down payment on their dream house in a neighborhood with a great school district.

Step 1: Get out of debt

The number one barrier preventing people from compounding wealth is debt.

That’s why getting out of debt is step one on the road to becoming a millionaire. Before you even think about investing, saving, or earning more money, you need to take steps to get out of credit card debt.

Getting out of debt was also a priority for Shannon when she and her husband/business partner first got married.

“When my husband and I were first married, we were really disciplined about getting out of debt and saving,” Shannon says. “We paid off all of our debt out of college. We paid off all of our car debt. And now we’re paying off our house.”

Paying off your credit card debt is one of the most important investments you can make into your Rich Life. I’ve written extensively about this before, both on the blog and in my New York Times bestselling book.

If you’re in debt and want to learn more about my system, I highly suggest you read my article on how to get out of debt fast.

If you’re worried about your personal finances, you can improve them without even leaving your couch. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance for tips you can implement TODAY.

3. Let Your Boss Help

Some employers provide valuable benefits that can help you reach your $1 million goal. For example, about 18% of private workers and more than 80% of public workers are eligible for a traditional pension. And restricted stock units—shares given to employees after a vesting date—can be lucrative if your company’s stock performs well, as any number of Silicon Valley millionaires can attest. For example, a Google employee with 1,400 restricted stock units would have a nest egg valued at more than $1 million.

Another benefit that could be worth a lot more than you think: a health savings account. To qualify for an HSA, you must sign up for a high-deductible health insurance plan. In 2016, you can contribute up to $3,350 to an individual HSA or $6,750 to a family plan. Over time, contributions to an HSA can add up because HSAs offer a triple tax advantage: Contributions are sheltered from income taxes, the money grows tax-deferred, and funds can be withdrawn tax-free in any year for medical expenses. About half of large companies match contributions to an HSA; the average employer match is about $900.

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To truly tap the power of an HSA, use money outside of the account to pay medical bills and let the money in the account grow. After you sign up for Medicare (when contributions to an HSA are no longer allowed), you can reimburse yourself for any eligible expenses you incurred after you first opened the HSA, plus pay for retirement health expenses—including long-term care.

5. Write an e-book

"Six years ago, I hired someone for $100 to design my first e-book, 'Crush The CPA Exam Study Guide.' It only took about a week to create — and all I had to do was write the copy. It's been selling on autopilot ever since, and I've made at least $100,000 as a result. It was shockingly easy.

Use your knowledge and resources to write a book. Then, pay a designer from a global freelancing platform (e.g., Upwork) $100 to make it look nice and incentive people to sell it for you through an affiliate marketing program. Simply contact the websites that show up in Google when you search for your e-book topic (e.g., type in 'best CPA study guides').

Offer to pay them a commission for any sales they send to you. When you leverage their traffic and the trust they have built with their audience, you don't even have to build a website."

—Bryce Welker, CEO of online education company Crush Empire and founder of Crush The CPA Exam. Follow Bryce on LinkedIn.

Final Thoughts: Reaching One Million Dollars

When we think of becoming a millionaire, it sounds a bit out of reach- like it’s too big of a goal to even contemplate.

Well don’t join the naysayers, become a big success and rub it in their faces!

But how will you achieve those millions you ask? 

It may be useful for you to break that million down into more manageable chunks.

For example, why not think about making your first $1000? That sounds much easier than a full million dollars.

Then you just need to think about the fact that a million bucks is made up of multiple $1000s.

You just need to do it one step at a time and make $1,000 whenever you can!

Even if you thought it would never be possible for you, the chance of earning one million dollars has never been better than it is right now.

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