I can be a saver-investor (mentioned above), an entrepreneur (self-explanatory), a big-company climber (climbing the ladder to an executive position with stock compensation) or a virtuoso (being the top in my field, whether that’s music, sports or academia).
“It’s important to know your personality and then choose the right path,” he adds.
Say I have a unique talent or standout knowledge, and I’m willing to put the time into honing it with a mentor — I may be a virtuoso. If I deal well with stress and don’t mind sacrificing my family vacations to hustle at my small business, the entrepreneur path could be for me. Or I can combine them, taking elements of each to create my own path.
This theory is similar to a financial strategy Hallam told me, which is to align my values with what I’m spending on. If my goal is to put away as much money as I can each month in hopes of achieving financial independence, I need to get serious about my budget. Maybe I drive a beater instead of a new car; maybe I automate my savings.
There are smaller steps to take here, too, like avoiding lifestyle creep and depreciating assets. Finding someone to keep me accountable on my financial journey is crucial, too, Hallam says.
Corley says it can be helpful to work backwards. If I need to put away 30% of my net income to stay on track to achieve millionaire status and I can’t afford that, maybe I should cut my expenses by moving to a place with cheaper rent. If I can’t cut my expenses, maybe I should bring in more income, like by getting a second job.
I know I’m making it sound waaay more simple than it is — not everyone starts out from the same place financially nor has the same opportunities to grow their wealth, of course, and a little thing called life tends to get in the way of even the best-laid plans.
But both experts insist that becoming a millionaire is not a totally unrealistic goal.
To that end, Corley recommends sitting down and writing out a vision: a diary entry of sorts as if I were the millionaire I hope to be. I should be as specific as possible about what I have, where I am and what I did to get there.
That will not only be my motivation — it’ll be my blueprint for success.
“The No. 1 most important thing, instead of having a number [as a goal], is to have a clear vision of exactly who Julia wants to be 20 years from now,” he says, then “do the things you think are necessary in order to get to that point.”