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Can You Become A Millionaire?

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Can You Become A Millionaire?Recently, I saw a question on Twitter – Can anyone become a millionaire? My gut instinct said yes. I was sure anyone can become a millionaire if they just save and invest consistently. Inflation alone will make the millionaire status much easier to attain in 30 years. Everyone will make a lot more money so it shouldn’t be that hard. That was my reply. However, there were a few dissenting opinions. I didn’t have any research to back it up so I didn’t argue and let it go. Today, we’ll take a closer look and see if anyone can really become a millionaire. First, we’ll crank some numbers and then look at the psychological side of this question.

Median income

Let’s look at the average case first to see if they have a chance to become a millionaire. We’ll call our average family the Joneses. The median household income in the US is about $60,000 per year.  Median household income means that half of the population makes more than this and half makes less. It’s the middle line.

That’s how much the Joneses make. If the Joneses save and invest consistently, can they become millionaires?

Here are my assumptions

  • The Joneses will receive a 3% raise every year. This really isn’t much. It’s barely beating inflation, which is around 2%. I assume the Joneses will keep their saving rate steady. When they get any annual raises, they’ll save a bit more.
  • They’ll invest in the stock market and generate 8% return every year.

I’ll graph it out. We’ll see how long it’ll take the Joneses to reach millionaire status with different saving rates.

millionaire

Ha! It is as I suspected. The Joneses can become millionaires in 31 years if they religiously save 10% of their income. The more they save, the faster they’ll become a millionaire.

Saving Rate Millionaire in
10% 31 years
20% 23 years
30% 20 years
40% 17 years
50% 15 years

 

From this table, it looks to me like anyone who makes median income AND is under 30 can easily become a millionaire. Saving 10% really isn’t that difficult at that level of income. Of course, I recommend saving much more than that in order to achieve financial independence in a reasonable timeframe. You really should aim to save 50% of your income.

You VS anyone

On Twitter, a few people disagreed with me. They argued that many households make very little income and they can’t save. Okay, they have a point. I guess “anyone” is too broad. After all, 50% of all U.S. households make less than median income. The less they make, the more difficult it is to save.

What if you don’t make $60,000/year? Does it mean you can’t become a millionaire? Not at all. You are not just anyone. If you’re reading this, you’re already on your way to becoming a millionaire. It means you want to be a millionaire and you’re trying to figure out how to do it. Only motivated people would ever find this post on the internet and read this far. Most people are watching cat videos and goofing off on social media. If you’re reading this, you’ll figure out how to earn more, and then you’ll be able to save more.

The question really is – Can YOU become a millionaire? I believe you can. You have to save, invest, and keep at it. If you make less than the median income, then focus on making more. (Read more at the link.) You’ll get there someday.

The biggest obstacle is…

IMO, the biggest obstacle to becoming a millionaire is age. If you’re in your 20s and 30s, you have plenty of time to work on it. Compound interest is your friend and it won’t be too difficult to become a millionaire. Our son is just 7 years old and I’m 100% sure that he’ll be a millionaire in the future. In 50 years, the median household income will probably be a $200,000 per year. It will be much easier to become a millionaire in 2068.

However, it’s much harder if you’re older than 40 and don’t have much savings. Then you’ll have to drastically increase your income and saving rate to become a millionaire. Or start a successful business. That’s a hard road, but it can pay off very nicely.

Now, I want to hear your opinion.

Can YOU become a millionaire?

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What do you think? Am I right or am I wrong?

DIY investors,

*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your investments. I log in almost every day to check on my accounts and cash flow. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

Photo by Alex Radelich

Can anyone become a millionaire? No, not really. But, can YOU become a millionaire? I'm pretty sure you can. See why I think so. #money #millionaire #wealth #invest #save
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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 72 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako September 17, 2018, 12:29 am

    Nice article Joe. Arbitrary numbers like $1 million have always seemed like big money, but over time inflation has really whittled away at the value of $1 million.

    Now, you really need $1 million in a 401k just to retire these days. If you want to retire early, I believe several times that ($2 million – $4 million) is appropriate.

    Real financial goals shouldn’t be arbitrary numbers like this however — The goal should be financial independence!

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 10:04 am

      I agree. The goal should be financial independence. Becoming a millionaire is still a great accomplishment that elude many people. We’ve got to take baby steps.

  • Ernie Zelinski September 17, 2018, 12:48 am

    First, I think a “true millionaire” is one who is worth at least $3 million given that $1 million is not worth all that much today. Of course, there is also the issue for me particularly about whether we are talking US dollars or Canadian dollars.

    Having said that, I think that I can become a “true millionaire” in Canadian dollars and even in US dollars provided that I live for at least another 10 years.

    Just a note that it recently occurred to me that I made very little money in a fairly lengthy period of my life. In October 1980 I got fired from my Engineering job for taking too much vacation. I totalled all the income that I made from the beginning of 1981 to the start of 1991 and it is somewhere between $$65,000 and $70,000. So I made an average of $6,500 to $$7,000 a year (in Canadian dollars) from the time I was 32 years old to 42 years old. In other words, I was totally broke at 42 with a MINUS net worth of $30,000 (due to student loans).

    On the other hand, my net worth nowadays keeps increasing by about $100,000 a year so it appears that I can become a “true millionaire” in Canadian dollars in another 10 years. In US dollars, that is a little more difficult.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 10:07 am

      You’re right. A million really isn’t that much these days. $3 million is much more difficult to achieve.
      Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know you made so little in your 30s. It’s great that you’re making much more now. Enjoy it!

  • Michael @ Financially Alert September 17, 2018, 1:12 am

    I agree with you, Joe. It’s much harder to make a million if you’re older and don’t make a significant salary. If you’re below the median income, you’ll definitely need to leverage compounded interest over time. If you start in your early twenties though, it’s certainly doable with discipline.

    Having said that, with life expectancies so high these days, most of us are going to need more than a million to “survive” with our current lifestyles.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 10:07 am

      Most people will have a rude awakening when they retire. They’ll have to cut way back because they didn’t save enough. It’s going to be tough.

  • Financial Verdict September 17, 2018, 1:57 am

    I’m working on something somewhat similar for my Friday post this week – like minds think alike!

    The sad thing is that the average person saves only 6% of their disposable income, not gross, making financial independence out of reach.

    Inflation will make hitting $1M easier due to rising salaries, which also makes $1M less relevant due to decreased purchasing power. This is why everyone should set inflation adjusted retirement targets.

    At 2% inflation over 31 years (saving at 10%), they will need nearly $1.85M to be the equivalent of $1M today.

    Otherwise, their $1M in 31 years will be like having almost half that today. (approx. $541K).

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 10:10 am

      6% saving rate is way too low, especially on disposable income. That’s why we’re having a retirement crisis.
      At least, the Millenials seem to be saving more.

  • Accidental FIRE September 17, 2018, 2:04 am

    First off, I’m here to defend watching cat videos. If done correctly, it’s time well spent.

    🙂

    But yes, your numbers are correct. It takes discipline, and as you stated, you have to start early to have father time on your side. Which is why they should teach this stuff in high school, IMHO.

    • Susan @ FI Ideas September 17, 2018, 7:34 am

      Wait! The cat videos were my idea — totally original. 🙂

      I think the key is that people need to save 25x their spending needs. It could be that someone is really frugal, enjoys backpacking, and just living simply. That person doesn’t need a million dollars to be FI. Heck, look at Ernie. But someone living like the typical Joneses probably needs 3 Million or more. And they probably won’t get there.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 10:13 am

      It’s too bad we don’t learn this in school. I had to figure it out by myself because my parents didn’t understand investing. Our formal education system really need to focus on personal finance more.

  • Ramona @ Personal Finance Today September 17, 2018, 3:00 am

    I really don’t care to become a millionaire, I just want to raise my kid and travel. We already have some real estate in our country and 2 small businesses earning us a comfortable income. It also allows us to schedule our time as we want, which is more valuable for me than a million bucks 😀

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 10:14 am

      Thanks for your input. I think you’re doing it right. Great job.

  • Andi Kleve September 17, 2018, 3:22 am

    I agree with your maths. But – wow: 60k USD Median income? Reading such an income figure is simply mind-boggling from over here in Germany. When I am reading your’s or other early retirement blogs, I am often amazed how much money U.S. citizens seem to earn. Hence I would like to ask: is that indeed the available income (i.e. after tax and other mandatory expenses like, e.g. social security contributions)? Just to put my question into perspective: in 2017, the median German household net income was ca. 36k EUR = 42k USD (net income means after tax, social security contributions, pension contributions, health insurance contributions, and national care insurance contributions). Can you help me put that 60k into perspective?

    • Dave September 17, 2018, 8:14 am

      The figure is most likely gross income before deductions of any sort. But keep in mind that relative to many other western countries we have fewer social services. We need to pay for our own healthcare, post secondary education, and childcare. Working people typically only receive two weeks of vacation and limited paid maternity leave. So you are really comparing apples and oranges. On the bright side, we have cheap gas so we can drive our large SUVs.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 10:16 am

      I believe take-home income should be around $45,000, depending on the state. That’s not too bad.
      Wow, I didn’t know the median household income in Germany is that low. I guess you have lots of social benefits so you don’t have to spend as much. Your tax is much higher than here, right?

    • Nicoleandmaggie September 18, 2018, 4:42 am

      I think it is important to point out that 60k number is household, not individual income. So two people making 30, for example.

      • Kalle September 20, 2018, 11:46 pm

        Good comment when comparing internationally. I would guess most countries list average incomes for individuals, and not by household.

    • jim September 18, 2018, 10:23 am

      The US does in fact have one of the highest median incomes in the world.

      Something us Americans often forget, are naive of and/or take for granted..

      But as others have pointed out our gross incomes are before tax, health insurance, retirement contributions, etc. But even after those expenses the average net take home in the US would be higher than that 42k.

      Most American families have 2 incomes. But I believe thats equally true for Germans.

  • Xrayvsn September 17, 2018, 4:00 am

    I agree that time is the most important factor in the equation and the more you have it the more likely you are to hit a 7 figure net worth.
    However as you pointed out the effects of inflation, etc will make just reaching millionaire status not the same in terms of purchasing power/lifestyle that we associate with it today.

    A more appropriate goal would be to try and match that purchasing power in today’s dollars and likely 30 years down the road you will need to have accumulated an 8 figure net worth to do so. That would change the game completely and the chance for someone to do that with a median household income would be a lot slimmer.

    Even a million today doesn’t have the same “ooh ahh” factor as it did if you had a million in the 80’s for that very same reason. Probably need to have 3 million or so to match up with a million net worth from that time period.

    The goalposts are always changing upward unfortunately, but that is not to say it can’t be achieved, just need to have an income likely in the top 20% rather than median.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 2:19 pm

      Right, we’ll need to accumulate more. But the point of this post is that almost anyone can become a millionaire. Lots of people still don’t believe that. If you don’t think this is possible, then it’ll be harder to get there. Why bother saving if you can’t become a millionaire? 😉

  • Sharil September 17, 2018, 4:15 am

    On the path of Fire, I think being a millionaire does not matter as much as the lifestyle it would buy. My goal is $500k in 6 years which will allow me 6 months travelling and 6 months in a job I love. FI is what I would aim for.

  • BusyMom September 17, 2018, 4:18 am

    I know of people who earn much more than that 60K (at least three times) and can’t save 10 percent. And a reader of my blog was earning much less than that, living in Boston (HCOL) and upset that she could not save much more than 15%, thanks to high rents.

    What you said is right – “Most people are watching cat videos and goofing off on social media”, and anyone reading this can get there. It is all in your mindset, more than your income.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 2:21 pm

      That’s a big problem. It should not be hard to save 10% if you make $60,000/year. Most people just need to figure out how to spend less and commit to it.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify September 17, 2018, 4:32 am

    Joe, I think we are very lucky in the US to have the freedom to do whatever we want within the scope of the law. Becoming a millionaire is one of those things and a real possibility for most anyone who puts their mind to it and actions on it. Tom

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 2:23 pm

      Exactly! That’s why I love the US. We have a lot more freedom to grow than in many parts of the world. I’m thankful that I live here.

  • FullTimeFinance September 17, 2018, 4:45 am

    If we ignore age when you start the biggest item you control is the effort to get there. So whether everyone can or not it’s important for people to believe. Without the belief you’ll never exert the consistent control to get there. So I guess what I’m saying is true or false everyone should believe they can make it.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

      Belief is a huge part of it. If you believe you can do it, you’ll put some effort into it. It’s much more difficult if you think it’s impossible.

  • Chris @ Duke of Dollars September 17, 2018, 4:49 am

    Mindset is key!

    It would be very difficult for a single mother making min wage to become a millionaire without finding other ways to make money. If you have a decent income and live simply, it is definitely a possibility!

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 2:25 pm

      That’s why the single mom making minimum wage needs to figure out how to make more. It’s a harder road, but it’s possible. People have done it.

  • Dan K September 17, 2018, 5:49 am

    Yes, I agree with you. Anyone can become a millionaire, but what does that really mean today? My projections for us is that We will hit the mark in about nine years, but thatwon’t make our life change in anyway though.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 2:26 pm

      It just means you have $1,000,000 in net worth. It won’t change your life, but it will make you feel good. 😉

  • Freedom 40 Plan September 17, 2018, 5:58 am

    Seems to me like time to save/invest is obviously a huge factor, but just as important is the mindset and willingness to save. Too many people will say “I don’t make enough to save 10% of my money”, as they drive away in their leased BMW to pick up Thai takeout which they’ll eat at their McMansion where they watch HBO…

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 8:22 pm

      Saving 10% should be easy if you make $60,000/year. That’s just $500/month. You’re right about having the right mindset.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early September 17, 2018, 6:23 am

    I’d agree that “anyone” is too broad, but “most people” seems like a fair answer. And certainly well more have the ability than will ever get there.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance September 17, 2018, 6:24 am

    Woo I like the answer: Yes to being a millionaire! I think another obstacle is people’s willingness to save and delay their gratification in order to invest.

    One argument Mr. FAF had against maxing his 401k is that he didn’t want to wait until he’s old and wrinkly to touch his investment/money. I think he’s come around after talking to his friends and colleagues. But boy, it did take some convincing!

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 8:23 pm

      Glad to hear that Mr. FAF is learning. 😉

  • Riley @ Young and the Invested September 17, 2018, 6:27 am

    I think becoming a millionaire will become more accomplishable with time due to inflation. With each passing year, the bar becomes easier to cross. The real question is can anyone become a millionaire in today’s dollars? This adjusts for inflation and makes the target all the more difficult to achieve.

    The keys are disciplined saving, choosing wise investments (i.e., low-cost passive index funds), and remaining in the market for a long period of time. Of these three, undoubtedly the hardest to make up for is time in the market. Starting your inflation-adjusted millionaire journey has a much easier path if you start when you’re young. If you haven’t given yourself a long runway to compound your returns, you make the odds significantly lower of reaching that desired goal.

    Also, I really expected to see some Regis Philbin, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” references in the post. Surprised there weren’t any.

  • ThisTime September 17, 2018, 6:34 am

    Great post. My initial response would have been similar to yours and I believe that almost anyone in their teens and twenties could get there easily. However, I am nearer to your second group, (not over 40, but close to 40) and just starting out. I haven’t accumulated a lot. Can I become a millionaire? Of course – many other people have (though I am working in £s so it might take longer!). Will I? I don’t know tbh. I’ll get to FI, but I don’t think I need a million.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 8:24 pm

      Good luck! FI is a much better goal to aim for.

  • Pennypincher September 17, 2018, 6:43 am

    Great post. Is that guy really jumping over that crevice? I see a shadow, but… if he landed and twisted an ankle, it would be all over for him, gone. Stuff of nightmares.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 8:25 pm

      I don’t know. The photo is pretty scary. I wouldn’t take a chance like that even if it’s 2 feet wide.

  • Helen September 17, 2018, 6:57 am

    Joe, very good point. I agree with you. Many times, it is: “Where there is a will, there is a way”.

    In the latest Time magazine, the top story features a teacher in North Carolina. She has been teaching for 20 years. Her current salary is around $70K. She has two kids. But she can barely pay her bills, and the utility final cut-off notices frequently arrive at her mailbox. The Time story is about the low pay of teachers. But I feel, in this case, probably the issue is more about money management.

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 8:33 pm

      That’s tough. She can probably use a money makeover. I just read the story. Hopefully, teachers will earn more in the future. The pension system probably needs an overhaul, though.

  • Lazy Man and Money September 17, 2018, 7:20 am

    Thank you for taking on this tough topic. You are a better man than me ;-).

    I did a quick Google search and the average cost of living in the US is $53,000 (per the first result from Experian which cited its source). If we presume that’s accurate, the average person working with a 11.6% savings level (7K/60K). So we are looking at someone pretty close to that 31 year timeline.

    Another thing to consider is that people might not be starting at zero. Student loans are a big problem as one example. It’s also unlikely that they’d put every dollar into the stock market to get the 8% return. They’ll probably want to spend the first few years saving up an emergency fund and/or a down payment on a house. It might be hard for people to get raises more than inflation. I think there are quite a lot of stories saying that wages have been stagnant for 30-40 years or so. Here’s one from Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2017/10/why-wages-arent-growing-in-america

    I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here, because it’s already a contrived situation to look at the average case. There’s probably only a very narrow slice of people who hit the averages.

    It’s a good point that person reading the article is motivated. That might be all people need.

    I like the point about your son being a millionaire in 2068. Just looking at the birthday money that my kids have in the stock market, they will be 1/5th of the way there if they just don’t touch it (and the stock market continues to average 8%).

    • retirebyforty September 17, 2018, 8:37 pm

      Wage stagnation is a big problem. Hopefully, motivated readers can get at least 3% raise for a while.
      Also, people really should save more than 10%. That’s just not enough.

  • fourtakeflight September 17, 2018, 7:46 am

    I literally just did a post about this that outlines how this can be done in 8 years on “regular” salaries ($100k take home between a married couple). The key is not in how much you make, but rather it is your Savings Rate and then of course how you choose to invest(or not) those savings.

  • Half Life Theory September 17, 2018, 8:42 am

    Love this! It’s amazing how “simple” it is to become a millionaire today. And actually how little time it takes if we just focus on it!

    Everyone starting out their career should see this. Thanks for the info Joe! ?

  • Max September 17, 2018, 9:22 am

    Does this include home equity or just savings/investments? Because if it does not include home equity then I doubt I’ll become a millionaire, maybe in like 20+ years due to capital gains etc. but otherwise I think it’s much less likely for lower income homeowners (those earning around a median income that you highlighted) to ever achieve that. Maybe it’s still possible for those living in a LCOL area, but otherwise simply put it adds an additional $200k+ which is a significant amount of time/savings/etc.

    • retirebyforty September 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

      Yes, this includes home equity. It’s just net worth.

      • Max September 20, 2018, 12:40 pm

        How old were you when you first became a millionaire?

        • retirebyforty September 20, 2018, 1:44 pm

          Household millionaire when I was 37. That’s not young, but not too bad.

  • Lily | The Frugal Gene September 17, 2018, 2:04 pm

    $60k is a strong enough income not in any of the skyscraper cities. I made $40k to $60k my second/third year out of school but those were multiple jobs with no career growth which was my biggest grind. In San Francisco. I saved 50% of my income bc I was living rent free or else I wouldn’t have made it.

    For a lot of people, I think they have kids really early. Like in their mid 20s which leads one thing to another and they’re in debt more than they know. Not that having kids early is back but it’s definitely a costly move.

  • Nicoleandmaggie September 18, 2018, 4:39 am

    Interesting contrast with doneby40’s post today.

  • Jon September 18, 2018, 5:33 am

    Love this! When I first started out my career at 23 making well below the median income for my area (NYC), I thought hitting a million dollars would take DECADES, and that the FIRE community was just full of dreamers and the Silicon Valley new rich.

    I crossed the $100k mark in just 5 years of working (with a couple generous raises in between due to hard work), and while I was helped out by the fact that the S&P index more than doubled from the start of my career to today, most of that was just diligently socking away money in tax advantaged accounts and being prudent about how much I spend day-to-day (shout out to Rachael Ray’s 30 min meals for helping cut my Seamless habit!). Now, assuming the stock market averages a mere 4% gain after inflation, I’m on pace to hit a million smackaroos before my 45th birthday. Hoping to cut that back even more once I complete my Master’s degree and can up my salary.

    • retirebyforty September 18, 2018, 11:10 pm

      That’s great! See, it’s not just a dream. Most people can become a millionaire if they work at it.
      If you think it’s impossible, then you’ll just spend and don’t save much. You have to believe. Keep at it!

  • Damn Millennial September 18, 2018, 5:51 am

    I still believe anyone can become a millionaire.

    I also believe that those people making less then the median income can learn to earn more. I do not love when people use low income as an excuse.

    We all have the opportunity to earn more it may take some a bit longer to get there.

    • retirebyforty September 18, 2018, 11:11 pm

      Right, it shouldn’t be that difficult to earn median income. You just need to get an education in the right field and you’re pretty much there. Most of us can do that.

  • Steve @ familyonfire.org September 18, 2018, 9:56 am

    Yes $1M is a very arbitrary number, but it isn’t really enough to retire early for most people.
    I do think thought that your comment about saving 10% is a good goal no matter your income level.

  • Eric @ Flip n Finances September 18, 2018, 10:10 am

    Totally agree with your post Joe. If anyone living in U.S. or Canada wants to be a millionaire and has the know-how to do so along with the time then they can become one. I really appreciated your graph of how long it takes to become a millionaire depending on savings rate.

    The 50% savings rate after 30 years is insane! It’s my goal to reach 100k/year by age 27 with hard work and decent raises. Thank you!

  • jim September 18, 2018, 10:47 am

    Maybe its idealistic but I think that anyone can become a millionaire.

    Its certainly true for younger people who still have 20+ years to work on it.
    But even if you’re middle age or older or currently working a low wage job the opportunity is there.

    There are many paths to get there.
    Work a good job and save consistently.
    Buy real estate at the right time and hold it while it appreciates.
    Start a business and work until it succeeds. If it fails, start over, repeat until you’re rich.

    There is definitely work, luck, good timing, smarts and/or sacrifice required.

  • Independence Engineered September 19, 2018, 5:50 pm

    Absolutely don’t think you are wrong! It’s easy to put that out on a chart and everything. But as with all things in being a human, the hard part is waiting!

  • Bernz JP September 19, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Age is definitely a factor to becoming a millionaire. Another one is education, without a high-school diploma, chances are very slim that you can be a millionaire whereas for one with a graduate degree the chances are far higher. Some study says that race is also a factor.

    • retirebyforty September 20, 2018, 1:29 pm

      With a high-school diploma, you’ve got to start a business or get really lucky. That’s why education is so important.

  • Jesse September 19, 2018, 7:04 pm

    The question was “Can you become a millionaire?”, not “Can you and your significant other have a net worth of $1 million?” Therefore, the answer is a resounding, “No”. As your math shows, the overwhelming majority of individuals will never accrue $1 million net worth ($2 million as a couple).

    • retirebyforty September 20, 2018, 1:30 pm

      Well, if you combine you finance. I think $1 million for 2 people is pretty good.

  • FIRECracker September 20, 2018, 3:08 am

    I think the real question ends up being “will you” rather than “can you”. I believe everyone “can”, but they “won’t”.

    I also reject the idea of “oh I don’t make a high enough salary”. Just because you don’t have a high enough salary doesn’t mean you’ll NEVER have a high salary or can’t make money with side gigs.

    But the reality of the situation is that most people can’t hold out for delayed gratification. They want “easy” and “now. The math shows it’s possible but most people won’t do it.

    • retirebyforty September 20, 2018, 1:33 pm

      That’s pretty good. Will you is it. Everyone can become a millionaire, but not many will.
      People aren’t wired to think ahead.

  • Michael CPO, From The far side of the planet September 20, 2018, 4:27 am

    Yes it will take patience and planning… But yes of course it can be done… With a little luck I have done it… Though I still work… From the far side of the planet…

  • Zack October 10, 2018, 11:55 pm

    I teach personal finance at a low-income high school and I definitely believe that all of my students could be millionaires. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, the majority of them won’t. The main problem is the consistency that becoming a millionaire will take. It is hard for most people to keep setting money aside during the first stages of that exponential curve while it is still flat. Their friends are spending money and they don’t really have anything to show for abstaining from that.

    Also, many low wage workers have a high chance of being involuntarily laid off or underemployed. This can really devastate the progress, especially in the early stages. That said, I know for a certainty that I got through to some of them, and they will break the cycle and become millionaires if not multi-millionaires.

    • retirebyforty October 11, 2018, 9:47 am

      Your comment about the first stage is right on. It’s no fun when you’re in the flat part of the curve. You need to sacrifice at that point.
      Being laid off is a much bigger problem for everyone these days. Jobs that used to be safe aren’t so safe anymore.
      Thank you for your comment.

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