How to Be a Millionaire

by David Ning · 76 comments

How to be a millionaire? You may be a bum wishing to have a million bucks, or you may be an aspiring young professional who wants to know if you are on the right path. Whatever the case may be, here are seven ways people become millionaires. Some are by pure luck but there’s no need to worry as others are based much less on chance and more on planning and wits. With some effort, you can have a big fat bank account one day too.

lotteryFirst and the easiest, Win the Lottery – Without a doubt, this is the quickest way to become a millionaire. I was in Vegas the other day, and there are a ton of ways to strike it big as well. The problem? Your chances are one in a billion. Good luck and start rolling the dice if this is the way you want to pursue wealth.

Be Innovative – Most people believe that the easy inventions are already out in the marketplace but yet, new gadgets come out every day. Ideas are everywhere, so put on your thinking caps. If you aren’t the thinking type, you can always…

Learn from Madoff – You will also be on the front page of every newspaper and be in jail for 150 years but at least your wife can enjoy a good life with money you stole from other people.

If you take this path by the way, let me know so I can report you.

Corporate Slave – Okay, this is the first way to be a millionaire while avoiding the headlines. Many high paid professionals end up with significant wealth built up. Of course, they get beaten up at work daily as they climb the corporate ladder and then pay obscene amounts of government taxes afterward, but hey, nothing is going to stop you from becoming a millionaire right?

Forget Millions, I Was Born a Billionaire – Having rich parents aint’ a crime right? Even if you aren’t born that way, you might get a second chance by being adopted. Of course, no money is ever safe if you don’t know how to use it. Just ask this guy who blew $10 million in 10 years.

Marry Rich – If you go to any bars or restaurants that are within close proximity to high end neighborhoods, you will see many very attractive ladies at the bar. There are some fairy tales alright, but most die trying.

Save Your Ass Off Millionaire – You can keep trying, but this is exactly how most of us will become a millionaire. It’s not glamorous like winning the nobel prize but no one will bother you (that’s a good thing when you are wealthy) because no one will ever know you are rich either.

Since this is actually the most probable way of becoming a millionaire, I’ve outlined a few steps you can take.
1. Generate Some Income
All the rubbish about a penny saved equal two pennies earned is true because pondering about that all day will save you exactly two pennies. If you ever want to save enough money to make your family proud, start earning some to begin with. This includes:

  • Stop watching TV. But everyone watches TV. Yes, couch potato the third, that’s why so few ever become millionaires. While you are watching TV, your competition, the more successful and the people you envy are all making money. Stop watching TV. In fact, cancel it if you always give in.
  • Working smarter and harder at work – If you have to choose between the two, please err on the side of being smart. Be friendly and helpful to coworkers, know when you should work hard and when to say no to distractions.
  • Get a side job – If you are earning less than $40,000 and trying to feed a family of four, you could probably write a book on money saving advice. Stop reading up on frugal living and write about it instead. Start your own business and earn more money (here are 15 ways to do so).

2. Save Some of It
Alright, what I said in step one was misleading (it wouldn’t be the first time so stop complaining). After you have decent income coming in every month, you need to save at least some of it. How much? It all depends on how fast you want to become a millionaire. There’s no right or wrong answer. No pain, no gain my friend.

Alternatively, you can also save more by reducing your current expenses. Do you still have your cable TV? You can try Netflix free with a one month free trial offer. At the very least, look for the AT&T U-Verse promotions and the Verizon FiOS promotions that seem to be all over the web if you already use their services.

Extra: What a tip? Start by resisting the temptation to improve your standard of living too quickly. It’s fun when you start going to fancier restaurants and living in bigger houses but there’s no going back (or at least without major pain). You can always spend more later, and there is absolutely no rush.

3. Investing It in Diversified Index Funds
I keep telling everyone that I’m becoming an index fund convert. No, I’m not those that liked index funds from the get go or someone who lost a bunch of money in the stock market betting on individual securities. In fact, I made a small fortune in the stock market. But it was risky, tiring, frustrating and stressful. I wanted a life. If you really want to be a millionaire, stick with index funds. You don’t need the crap and you don’t want to buy tissues after you bought Bear Sterns based on rumors that it was good value.

You are probably thinking right now – Tell me something I don’t know. Well, if you know everything already, why aren’t you a millionaire? Don’t be a smart bum that knows everything. Be a millionaire that got started reading and applying every common sense advice ever written.

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current AT&T DSL and U-VERSE promotion codes and promos and see if you can save more money every month from now on.

{ read the comments below or add one }

John January 13, 2016 at 7:41 am

Regardless of your background, income or situation I firmly believe if you stick to certain habits for 35-45 years you will retire a millionaire. Time is the biggest factor and contributing to investment accounts every month for as much as you can afford will get you there. Just can’t get emotional when the market has a recession and sell at bottom.


Michael October 8, 2015 at 2:11 am

for me most important thing to earn first million is innovation and motivation, you must be able to risk something hard. you should develop entrepreneurship skills. I do not agree that if you work in corporation and you are ‘slave’ of company can not develop that kind of skills, you should learn from your manager, CEO and ect. I know that Securitas epay CEO started job from very very bottom and could become inventor of such product.


JB October 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm

It has been said before, I don’t think most people are capable of being their own boss or inventing something. Invest regularly and spend less. On a note, I did marry well. My wife is a Partner at a Big Four accounting firm so we are able to save 40% of our income and still spend $85K a year doing almost whatever we want.


Marcel Rosa July 8, 2015 at 7:04 am

Hi, there!

I will follow these tips to become a millionaire. Thanks a lot for sharing.


Jonathan November 12, 2014 at 6:03 am

I agree that innovation is key to expanding your wealth. It’s about trying to look for new products or building on existing products and adding a new slant.

It takes a lot of hard work, time and energy in the longer term those benefits can really pay off.


Simon Cave August 19, 2014 at 7:10 am

I think that you have more chance to get your first million as an entrepreneur than as a corporate slave.


JB November 12, 2014 at 11:50 am

Why do you assume anyone that works for a corporation is a slave? There are plenty of good companies out there. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. We made our first million by working at companies.


Leo McHale December 28, 2013 at 9:57 am

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Fund, .05% expense ratio. Remember, markets are unpredictable, but cost are forever.


Ramble On December 18, 2013 at 8:25 am

I’m 60 yrs. old an I have found in my lifetime that accumulating wealth is more about controlling your spending rather than increasing your income. Spending less on TV is a start. I also don’t own an iphone or even a cell phone for that matter. I live in a warm climate so I ride a motorcycle instead of a car. I stopped using my central air-conditioning and bought window units instead, my electric bill was reduced from $500 per month to $75! That’s like getting a $425 per month pay raise. Keep more of the money you earn.


Fx Martin November 20, 2013 at 3:21 am

Not many people have become millionaires by for working for a living. Earning money is bottom of the pile, followed by making money, then finally top of the list is creating money… out of thin air. That’s what I am aiming for.


Ryan October 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Remember this before You purchase something big. You are either making yourself wealthy or you are making someone else wealthy, by default.


JB July 12, 2013 at 7:31 am

you have to have disposal income to start investing. If you are in debt, you need to pay off the debt first or you will never be out of debt. Paying off a house is a debate that many have. If you have car/credit card debt, pay those off first. Then, The simplest way to invest is to go to Vanguard/Fidelity, pick your Brokerage house and set up a brokerage account and start to buy an index mutual fund that contains the total US stock market and a fund that contains the total international stock market. you are now diversified and own every stock. the aveage, basic investor will never pick the correct stock to make them money. Just buy index funds since they are the cheapest funds to own. If the Dow goes up 10%, your fund goes up 10%. .001% of the money managers can consistently beat the market and you will never have access to those people. Then if you get more education and understand the mutual funds, you can move in ETFs, which are mutual funds that trade like stocks. Most of these are cheaper than mutual funds. Do some research and look at the expense ratio of what these funds charge to hold. That is your single most important factor. A mutual fund with a 1% expense will eat 20% of your profit if the fund earns 5%. ETFs and some Index mutual funds have an expense ratio of less than .15%, some lower than .10% because they are not actively managed. Go to and learn about the mutual funds and ETFs.


Jeff Diercks October 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Great post! Although I think winning the lottery is out the statistical probability for most of us.

One way to become a millionaire that you didn’t directly mention was by learning to emulate others who have already had succeed. Whether that is an entrepreneur or an investment manager find out what makes them successful and apply the same rules. Millionaires always have smart habits, like investing the excess of their earnings vs. spending them, that when done over time can translate into success for you as well.


JB July 12, 2013 at 7:34 am

Millonaires don’t buy new cars every 5 years. They don’t live in large houses. Many are self employed. Just these two items would free up $500 a month for most. Investing $500 a month will get you to millionaire status in 20 years. Obviously, the more you can save, the quicker you get there. Another obviously flaw, if your household income is less than $50K a year, it is much harder to accomplish, which is why the car you drive will significantly alter how much you can save. Read the Millionaire Next Door or The wealthy barber.


John September 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I like how you mentioned the lottery as your first point, but then pointed out that your chances are pretty slim! Too many people trust in the lottery to win big, work is a better method, and I know you agree! Thanks for a great post!


Ft. Lauderdale CPA July 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Becoming a millionaire is simple as long as you have the right network surrounding you and you are adept at solving problems and there is a demand for the solution.


JB July 12, 2013 at 7:35 am

No, you have to have the ability to save money. Hanging out with millionaires doesn’t make you one unless you emulate what they do. Not everyone is a doctor or lawyer, but I know plenty of broke lawyers.


J Barry July 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

I have earned a total of $1,000,000 over the last ten years of being a corporate slave.

My sister has earned $1,000,000 over the last ten weeks of being a business owner.
She started small, with nothing. She had neither education, product, or customer.

Word to the wise.


Foxy Forex April 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

Your article is both funny, and true. The humorous ways you outlined in the beginning really will make you a millionaire, they are shortcuts, no doubt, but what’s wrong with that? No need to sneer at those who succeed the easy way!


JB July 12, 2013 at 7:37 am

There are very few shortcuts that most can apply. The lottery is a shortcut, but very unlikely. Inheritance is a short cut, but you are hoping relatives have the money.


Sidharth Sud February 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

By working for someone you can never become a millionaire.


JB July 12, 2013 at 7:36 am

Not true. you have to learn to save money. My wife works for the Big 4 accoutning firm and I work for the county. we have never been self employed and have a 2.6M net worth.


Chris January 12, 2012 at 8:28 am

I recently stopped contributing to my 401k. My company does not match it and my investment options were limited. Instead I now take what I was saving and put it in index funds and ETFs. Uncle Sam takes more now, but my returns will be bigger in the long run. Plus I have control over what I invest in. Non-matched 401ks are nothing more than a savings account at the mercy of someone else running it. Growth opportunities and disciplined saving doing it myself far outweigh any tax advantages of my 401k over the life my saving.


tommy December 14, 2011 at 6:34 am

I am earning 4000 per month. Is there any possibilities of becoming a billionaire?


Andrew November 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Lottery sounds fun, but unlikely. Slow and steady isn’t flashy, but wins the race.


sherzod n. November 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Motivation is really important thing.
Self-motivate yourself is not easy. But staying motivated more difficult.
if you save $1 day, for 15 years with compound interest you make a million dollars. Some kind of myth or something.
But everything is possible.


Jovim September 10, 2011 at 8:26 am

How about, wasting time reading “How to Be a Millionaire” articles on the internet and just follow the basics you have learned already and stick to it ;).

Just do it. -Nike

My two cents… Start a side business while you’re still at your day job. Pay off all debts. Allocate your profits wisely – 30% Keep, 30% Growth (reinvest), 30% Dreams, 10% Play Money.

Keep your plan simple and stick to it. First years are grueling, 3rd year things start to materialize. Biggest problem I see with today’s generation is everyone is so damn impatient and a bunch of “on-demand” kids. Everyone wants to get rich, famous quick instead of putting in the work. They quit just when things are going to happen for them. #weak.


Bala Koh September 7, 2011 at 1:08 am

I still believe that the easiest way to become millionaire is to bet on the lottery.


Erill July 12, 2011 at 1:02 am

For me the secret to become a millionaire is to work hard, look for better opportunity, save more and most especially don’t spend beyond on what you are earning.


Witty Artist May 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

Great article. 🙂 TV is indeed a real time-eater if you’re watching out of boredom. Better make some second income by cultivating a hobby you love.


waheed May 12, 2011 at 5:02 am

i am not happy by this artical because it hasnot the main subject that i ask about


obillio February 23, 2011 at 3:46 am

1 : 0.01$
2: 1$

a jugs fills frop by drop ~ get it ?


chuck January 13, 2011 at 11:55 am

Great read..It took me a little longer to slow down the improved qualitiy of life pace..I am now 40 have over 150k annually income but just starting out on the savings & retirement..No wife, kids or debt..but what chance do I have to retire at 60?


marci January 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Chuck – you have EVERY chance….. Just learn to live frugally now – say on $20,000/yr, and SAVE ALL the rest…

I never made over $25000/yr, except 2 yrs at $30,000 – and I’m semi retired at 55, just working very part time for the health insurance til I decide not to.


eva January 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Well that is your good luck Chuck..You still got more than 20 years to retire,i’m sure you’ll be a millionaire pretty soon.Lol,plus you are lucky that you got no kids or wife..or debt.


shuhrat April 19, 2012 at 4:27 am

Chuck, what is the point of being a millionaire if you do not have the main beauties of life? No family no kids where you can come after work and enjoy. I do not envy you at all. Your life is nothing but work.


shuhrat April 19, 2012 at 4:29 am

Chuck, do not retire. What you will do at home alone? Work until you die.


Seth Tonner December 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Another option is listen to people who have been where you are and have what you want. This is what I have done to make more money and increase my quality of life. I am currently being mentored by multi-millionaires from all different backgrounds on a daily basis. A key point in becoming successful is believing you can. Napoleon Hill said it best “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and bring itself to believe, it can achieve.”


Will December 11, 2010 at 1:08 am

Great advice. couldn’t agree more… the hardest part is not about knowing the secrets, but about if you are able to apply the rules or not.


classiqa December 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Focus on your goal, and keep working without any expectations.You will one day become a millionaire for sure. Expectations will make you back off if you dont see results early


Cash Back Shopping Rebates September 3, 2010 at 10:00 am

Another tip: Pay for everything in cash, never finance with loans or with credit cards. Save up the money first, then make your purchase. People would be shocked if they actually calculated up how much money they spend on interest every year on all those credit cards, car loans, etc.

I’d say the one exception to this is maybe a house. Even with that, only take out a 15 year mortgage and try to pay it off early.


Someone With A Good Opportunity September 11, 2010 at 1:09 am

This is really good advise “Think Positive, Make Goals And Act To Do Something” Dont waste the time to watch the TV. Contact me for a good opportunity ..Thanks.


edwine August 22, 2010 at 4:08 am

it is not easy but its worth trying, easy to find but the task of maintaining your millions is not as easy finding


Jason August 17, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Great article. I love that one: “Get adopted.” haha


Financial bondage July 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Here is something to consider. Your odds of becoming rich are higher if you buy a $130 lawn mower and start cutting grass, as opposed to getting a job working for someone else as an employee.


Greg April 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

where’d you read that? I’d love to see the article


Tiffany June 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Well the majority of this post makes becoming a millionaire sound pretty far-fetched, but there is some good advice buried in the wit. Thanks for the post.


jon May 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm

hi thanks for sharing… But what about offering some legal and prospect-friendly business opportunity, could you offer some?


David Coleman February 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I agree, living within your means and managing your money is important to get ahead financially. Another suggestion for how to become a millionaire is to collect your debts promptly and efficiently. Remember, if someone owes you money, it could be sitting in the bank earning you interest so they are really taking you to the cleaners the longer the debt goes on.


Paul December 6, 2009 at 8:04 am

Yes, TV is a time vaccuum… an it’s an addictive habit and not great for your brain.

Ask the question “What will a Million get me?” and you might not need it to get what you really want.

Do what you love and live within your means… Doing that is worth more than a million.


Millionaire Acts October 21, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I think the ultimate way to become a millionaire is to EARN MORE and DESIRE LESS. Earning more increases your income i.e. (taking a second job, investing your money, buying assets that provide passive income, etc.) while desiring less lessens your spending (i.e. budgeting, frugality, etc.)

Make it a habit and definitely, you would become a millionaire someday


eva January 31, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Is a great idea to have a second job,but what if you don’t have a job at all?With this economy we are lucky to make money just to have food to eat..MILLIONAIRE??…Nah,is just a dream…I need a job just to keep me alive.


jay August 5, 2009 at 12:55 pm

T V ? For the last 2 yrs we cut out our cable subscription and found out it was the best thing we had ever did.We spent more time together as a family . I also started to do more things at work and at home .I started to think about investing and staying home to take care of my family .Can investing be a life time stay at home job or a living . ? Can anyone give me a suitable advice .?


UDEOFIA August 4, 2009 at 3:03 am

I love the first idea and i think i can make it if i may follow it. Thanks for that,but i don’t like the comment;”stop watching Tv” notify that you can get information from it.Meanwhile thanks a lot.


Trish July 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Another way to make money is to play to your strengths and start a very small venture based on it. I knit very well, and instead of starting a shop of my own, i sell the stuff i make to baby boutiques and make a nice profit. You could do the same with baked goods, artwork, or even decorations.


earn money July 19, 2009 at 9:36 am

When it comes to money, there are three types of people. Those who are happy with an average income and a safe, secure job, but ambitious; those who are a bit entrepreneurial and will take some calculated risk in order for the potential to enjoy limitless income; and there are those who have no goals at all and just assume life will take care of itself.


40percent 20years July 11, 2009 at 7:45 am

Investing in a well-chosen dividend shares in a diversiferad portpolio is enough and perhaps among the simplest and best way to become a millionaire. But one very important rule that one should re-invest the dividends. Otherwise it like investing in index fonds.


40percent 20years


DDFD @ DivorcedDadFrugalDad July 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Great post. I did a similar one in the beginning of June. Here is my list:

Be born into it– pure luck of the draw
Marry into it– they say you earn every penny
Win the lottery– better chance of being struck by lightening
Be a celebrity– might end up waiting tables
Be an athlete– don’t bet on it
Steal it– like small spaces with bars?
Earn it– over an entire lifetime
Start saving and investing– from the cradle
Counterfeit it– did I mention small spaces with bars?
Be a business owner . . .


Chiko777 July 4, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Invest in the stock market and gain 4,000% like I’ve done in the last 6 months.


Josh August 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

Dude, with whom did you invest and got those returns?


JB February 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

He is just being a troll. You can never out gain the market on a consistent basis, so just invest and be the market.


Shawanda July 3, 2009 at 5:36 am

“While you are watching TV, your competition, the more successful and the people you envy are all making money.”

I love this. It doesn’t just apply to television. I have to limit the amount of time I spend aimlessly surfing the internet. Time flies when you’re wasting it.

What motivates me is thinking about all the people with seemingly successful businesses who, in my humble opinion, are far less qualified and competent than me. More important than anything else, these people take action. I’m learning to do the same.


Wilson Pon July 2, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Ning, it’s so true, especially the television stuff, where we can become more productive, if we spent less time on the TV programmes.


Thicken My Wallet July 2, 2009 at 8:42 am

It is not so much a big idea that makes it big but how to execute an idea, even a medicore one, well that is the key. I think its a bit misleading to think of an idea to make millions. Many a tech start-up has died terrible deaths with that thinking. A better approach is to take an existing idea or business model and improve on it. After all, MS has made billions being 2nd into the market.


Afif July 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm

According in my situation right now, I prefer first and easiest option (similar as lottery game), that is money game.


David Dunn June 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Hmmm.. I think I’ll just go for the first option 🙂 Or I’ll keep dreaming haha


MoneyNing June 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Dreaming isn’t a bad option. I should have thought of that. 🙂


marci June 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Right about not everyone watching TV…. I found it to be the biggest time waster ever invented 🙂 There is not time in my life for it. Period.


ObliviousInvestor June 30, 2009 at 8:53 am

Haha, great article. 🙂 I’m enjoying the lighthearted sarcasm.

The part about finding some side income has been a huge boon to our family’s finances.


MoneyNing June 30, 2009 at 5:51 pm

I think your side income is soon going to take over as your primary income 🙂 It’s a strange but wonderful feeling I’m sure.


Jeremy Day June 30, 2009 at 7:14 am

Hi David,

This is good advice. Especially about increasing your standard of living slowly. I am almost 30 now and I have spent the larger part of my 20’s increasing my standard of living. While it has been great it has also come with a cost. So I say to everyone, control your spending.



MoneyNing June 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm

It’s “never too late” and I hope that you’ve learned your lesson. It’s always more important to look in the future and in the past so good luck in fixing your spending.


Rajeev Singh June 30, 2009 at 7:06 am

I think the best way of turning millionaire is to stick to the golden rule ” Spend less than you earn” or if you find it difficult to save more than ” Earn more than you spend”.


King Saver October 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I have a monthly net income of $1,794 and am 32 currently. I have worked to reduce my current debts and should be completely debt free by February 2012. It is my hope and intent to have significant savings, boosted via compound interest by the time I hit 50 which is in the next 18 years.

What do you suggest I do in terms of saving and investing, i.e., how much should I put up in liquid cash for emergency money and how much in investment money to go towards retirement? I welcome any sage advice on this as I want to do it right while I am young and able to do so.


Russell April 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Dear King Saver.

First of all, I want to congratulate you on becoming debt free at 32. However, you have a long life ahead of you, and to sustain this seems implausible. The fact that you are thinking of where to put your money is great. Firstly, you must protect yourself. Eg.. have Critial illness Insurance or Disability Ins in place before you start to “invest”. Secondly, have an Insured Retirement Plan in place. This is a life insurance vehicle that has investments growing inside it tax free until the day you die. If done properly, it will never be taxed as well.


JB February 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm

When it is time to invest, invest in low cost index funds that mirror the US equity market, some real estate and foreign stocks. You can be diversified with less that six funds. Learn to invest yourself and pay for advice every 3-4 years to make sure you are on the right track. Invest every month. Invest more in major dips in the market. The market has never been down over the course of 30 years. There will be 4-5 recessions in your lifetime. Know that these are the crucial buying opportunities. Don’t buy a car new unless you plan to keep it over 10 years, even then, buy a 2 year old car and keep it 10 years. Always pay cash for a cash, never finance it. You end up spending more. Buy a house that the payment is 10% of your salary and a 15 year mortgage, not 25%. then if you lose your job, the payment is easier to make.
These decisions will help you become a millionaire quicker than your friends. $20,000 here, $30,000 there will become much more over the course of the next 30 years.


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