How to become a millionaire
We asked Priya Malani, cofounder of Stash Wealth to let us in on how we can all become millionaires.
By: Priya Malani
Fact. You can and will be a millionaire. And for what it’s worth, becoming a millionaire is a necessity these days. As freelancers with inconsistent incomes, it's easy to put off opening a retirement account. but the hard truth is it's up to you to plan for the future you want. So, what do you need to know to be a millionaire?
A retirement account lets you put money away with a high rate of return, on the condition that you don't take the money out until you are 59 ½ years old. That means, the earlier you start saving for your future, the better. For example,
If you’re 25, $1 today is worth about $16 dollars at age 65
If you’re 35, $1 today is worth about $8 dollars at age 65
If you want to have $1,000,000 at age 65:
A 25 year old would need to invest $4,400/yr until they are 65 (total savings = $176,000)
A 35 year old would need to invest $9,680/yr until they are 65 (total savings = $290,400)
By waiting 10 years to open a retirement account, the 35 year old needs to save an additional $114,400 ($290,400-$176,000). And that number increases the older you get.
For freelancers looking to start now, I'd recommend opening a SEP IRA account.
THE MAGIC NUMBER
Now, there’s another part to this. Is $1,000,000 even enough to do what you want in retirement? Well, it all depends on what you want to do when you retire (the cost to live a remote life in the countryside is very different to globe-trotting, obviously).
That said, there’s a savings number that we should all be shooting for and that number is 20%. Saving $0.20 for every dollar you make for the future puts you on track for maintaining the standard of living you enjoy today. If you currently make $50,000 and save 20% of it, your future savings put away in a retirement account will be able to provide you with an income stream of around $50,000 assuming you retire at 65 and don’t live beyond 90-92.
As your income goes up or down, make sure to maintain that 20% savings rate.
THE 2 RULES OF THE REVERSE BUDGET™
At Stash, we know that budgeting doesn't work. That's why we practice what's called the Reverse Budget™. Because we all want to be able to spend our money without thinking twice and without feeling guilty, the Reverse Budget™ operates on the principle to “save first, and then blow the rest”. To make sure that happens, there are two rules to Reverse Budget™ your life.
Rule 1: Automate your savings. The idea of automating your savings is the key to the Reverse Budget™. Before you have a chance to spend your income, get it out of your checking account. Don’t just move it to a savings account at the same bank. Open an online bank account where you’re getting a higher interest rate (a.k.a your money’s making money) and it’s “out of sight, out of mind” so you don’t invariably tap it.
Rule 2: Nickname your savings. Studies have shown that unless you assign a purpose to your savings account, you fall off the wagon or use the money for something other than its intended purpose. Using an online bank like CapitalOne360 allows you to set up multiple savings accounts (up to 25!) for free. Set up savings accounts and nickname them things like “Holiday Gifts”, “Travel”, “Emergency Fund”, “New Couch”, etc. Then decide on a dollar amount needed and automate the savings amount on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. basis. Once the money is automatically moving from your checking account into these sub-savings accounts, whatever’s left in your checking account is yours to blow, guilt-free.
Don’t compromise your life today or your life tomorrow. Instead, get smart about living life according to your income and figuring out what your priorities are. Hopefully, this breakdown helps to get you started on the path to becoming a millionaire.
Stash Wealth is having a party this Thurs Feb 23, and you're invited! Get to know Priya and meet other freelancer millennials in the city. Click here and enter the 20% discount code tycoonVIP.