How to Become a Millionaire: The Definitive Guide

  • Brandon Boushy by Brandon Boushy
  • 11 months ago
  • Blog
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Businessman with a crown holding a money thrower machine

Making a million dollars isn’t hard. You’ll probably make that much or more in your lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you’ll develop wealth. For those who want to know how to become a millionaire, just spend less than you make. It’s that simple!

We talked to Todd “TJ” Johnson, The Millionaire Mentor. TJ grew up poor and wanted to get out of South Carolina. He started out cutting grass and delivering newspapers as a kid just to feed himself, then joined the Air Force at 17 and went to school to study computer science.

When he left the military, he asked for a salary of the highest-paid military person, and people laughed at him. That didn’t discourage him. He asked what skills he needed to be worth it… then he developed the skills.

Now he owns multiple businesses including weight loss brands and supplements and coaching, and he’s even buying up others’ businesses. Here he’ll share the lessons he’s learned in his path to becoming a millionaire. We’ll share the wisdom he’s developed to make more money and get rich. 

Throughout this article keep in mind this advice from TJ:

The fastest way to become a millionaire is to help as many people as possible.

How to Become a Millionaire

Businessman on a chair with lots of money on the floor

You’ll need to invest $12,600 per month and earn a 10% annual return to become a millionaire in 5 years. That’s matching the average stock market return. I don’t know about you, but I’m not making enough to save that much money.

That means we need to find a way to increase our income to build financial freedom. Check out the blogs below to find ways to increase your income:

Most have low-cost barriers for a start-up and can make a ton of money quickly.

Step 1. Stop Spending Your Money on Frivolous Stuff!

To become a millionaire, you’ll have to do more than make a ton of money to meet your financial goals. You can’t spend the money. You need to reinvest it so your money makes more money while you sleep. TJ explained that the company you keep impacts how well you invest in your own business:

Stay away from bad entrepreneurs. If your dog or your kid doesn’t like someone, stay away.

Spending money badly is also the most common reason for failure:

Inconsistency is the main cause of failure. Chasing skirts, drinking too much, and smoking weed harm success.

Watch our interview with TJ below.

Step 2. Create A Money Plan To Make A Million Dollars

Becoming a millionaire doesn’t have to be hard. As TJ told us, you just have to keep rising. The best way to do that is keep your personal finances and goals in perspective. The plan should include:

  1. Your current financial scenario
  2. Your desired financial scenario
  3. Your timeline
  4. The steps to take to join the millionaire club

Take a Fearless Inventory of Your Personal Circumstances

To reach financial security, you need to know where you are currently. This isn’t about judgment. It doesn’t matter where you currently are; you are capable of changing. But to be realistic about what steps to take, you need to know:

  • How much you make before and after taxes
  • Your current monthly expenses. Break them down by the type of bill.
  • The amount of debt you have. If you have high-interest debt, meaning debt that costs more to maintain than your investments make, pay it off ASAP (or wait for it to expire in 7 years).
  • Any assets you have. Cars, boats, and even homes can be money pits, so don’t count items that depreciate in value. Stocks, bonds, and real estate are great assets to hold.
  • Your effective tax rate.
  • The money in your checking and savings account.

We created a worksheet to help you reach millionaire status. Download it below.


Set Your Timeline

Becoming a millionaire takes time. Sure, you could reach millionaire status by winning the lottery or knocking your first business out of the ballpark, but most successful people do it over years or decades. As TJ told us:

The term ‘easy business idea’ has failure written all over it. It’s not easy to make money. You have to work for it.

The more time you have, the higher your likelihood of becoming a millionaire. While most people will only reach their millionaire goal close to retirement, the earlier you get started, and the more often you invest, the sooner you’ll reach your goal. As TJ explained:

You don’t just make a million at once. You invest, and it grows, then you get to $100K, then $500K, then $1M. It takes time.

So how quickly do you want to be a millionaire?

How to Become a Millionaire by 30

If someone wants to be a millionaire by 30, they’ll need to invest money routinely. How much you need to invest varies based on your age and the percent on your returns. We’ve used some common ages people start investing to help you estimate the amount you should invest monthly to have a million dollars by age 30. All figures assume the long-term stock market average of 10.5%. 

Age of First Investment Number of Years Till 30 Monthly Investment To Have $1 Million By Age 30 Reason
Birth 30 $439.92 Parents Investing For Kids
5 25 $750.32 Parents Investing for Kids after Kindergarten
16 14 $2,742.61 Legal Working Age
18 12 $3,610.76 Transition to Adulthood
21 9 $5,737.71 After College
22 8 $6,832.87 After College
25 5 $12,904.78 After Grad School

How to Become a Millionaire in 10 Years

You’ll need to invest $4,874.42 monthly and earn a 10.5% return on your investment to become a millionaire in 10 years.

How to Become a Millionaire in 5 Years

man in orange outfit holding a money

You’ll need to invest $12,904.78 per month with a 10.5% average return to become rich within five years. This is a fairly short time frame for most investments. If you want to become rich fast, consider these words of advice from TJ:

Buy an existing business without putting money down.

TJ recommends marketing because it is an in-demand skill. He explained:

It doesn’t matter if the market is saturated. I like to use the example of Hint. If they can break into the water market, you can break into any industry, as long as you know how to market your business.

How to Become a Millionaire Overnight

The easiest way to become a millionaire with no money is to go buy a lottery ticket and hope you win. You probably won’t get rich this way, but like Mark Cuban says:

It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once, and then everyone can say you are an overnight success.

Put Your Desired Results in Writing 

Write down your goals and be as detailed as possible. In the worksheet we created we have separate areas for each area of personal finance so that you can compare them to your current scenario. Be as specific as possible regarding net worth, diversification, emergency fund, real estate, and other investments.

Compare the Goals with Your Past Performance

Notebook and other office tools on the table

You’ll want to use the worksheet to compare where you are with where you want to be. Some commonly provided advice you might want to follow includes:

      1. Save 15% of your income. Personal finance is about starting early thinking about your life goals and retirement. If you get in the habit of setting aside your money and investing using dollar cost averaging, soon people will be asking you how to be a millionaire.
      2. Create an emergency fund. According to Motley Fool, Americans’ savings are less than half of pre-pandemic levels and 88% lower than the peak of savings during the pandemic. It’s always good to have a nest egg equal to at least three months’ worth of expenses.
      3. Pay off bad debt. Anything that doesn’t make more than the interest you’re earning is not good debt. This includes car loans. You’ll never get to a million dollars if you pay more interest than you’re making in investment accounts. Any interest rate over 10% is just not worth it.
      4. Write out your plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. If you’re not making enough money to meet your goals, then make a plan for how to move in the right direction. Make sure to include short-term goals like reaching $10K, $100K, $250K, $500K, $750K, and $1M. It makes it easier to conceive how to get rich.

Step 3. Make More Money

The more money you make, the easier it is to become a millionaire. Getting a high-paying job, a side hustle, and investing in real estate are some of the easiest ways to increase your earnings and start saving money. Find out what a day int the life of a millionaire who owns a cleaning business is like:

Step 4. Consider Some of These Investment Strategies

money and sticky notes on notebook with infographic designs

Various asset classes offer different ways to increase your wealth. Consider some of the ideas listed below.

Buy Businesses

If you have a low risk tolerance, buying businesses is one of the best ways to choose investments. Legendary investor Warren Buffett has turned Berkshire Hathaway into a conglomerate that owns businesses including:

Ben Bridge Jeweler Jazwares
Clayton Homes NetJets®
CTB Inc. Pampered Chef®
Duracell Pilot Travel Centers
Fechheimer Brothers Company Precision Castparts Corp.
FlightSafety RC Willey Home Furnishings
Fruit of the Loom Companies See’s Candies
GEICO Auto Insurance Star Furniture
General Re TTI, Inc.
Helzberg Diamonds United States Liability Insurance Group
H.H. Brown Shoe Group W&W/AFCO Steel
HomeServices of America XTRA Corporation
International Dairy Queen, Inc.  

This strategy has been successful for a lot of wealthy people.

Passive Income

Woman holding money and a tablet

Investing in passive income opportunities is a great way to create a diversified portfolio. A millionaire depends on their own money making them more money.

If you have little excess cash but still want to invest, consider using Stash, which allows you to invest with just five dollars. Once you invest, they’ll give you a free $25. If you’d prefer a passive income business, check out one of the best ways to become a millionaire: vending machine businesses.

Index Funds

An index fund is the best way to become a millionaire if you want to avoid brokerage services and financial advisors. If you have a wealthy family, you may know good financial advisors, but I don’t trust people to manage my money. An index fund matches the performance of the stocks in the index it tracks.

When considering index funds, pay attention to their fees. Most have less than 1% fees. If you choose one with the lowest fees, you’ll save money.

You can also use mutual funds, but they have higher fees and are less liquid.

Employer Match on Retirement Funds

If you are an employee or self-employed with a 401K, check if employer match options are offered. Many will match up to 10% of your salary when you put it into a retirement account. If they do, you should be using it. That extra cash is effectively additional funds. Over time, the additional funds will create a nice nest egg for retirement.

Concepts You Need to Understand to Become a Millionaire

Sets of wooden blocks and money on a table

If you want to retire early, never have to worry about extra money, or want to provide for your loved ones when you die, you have to treat money like a game. It’s just a means to an end.

Three of the most important strategies you can use are:

      1. Compound Interest
      2. Diversification
      3. Tax Advantages

What is Compound Interest?

Compound interest is interest that is reinvested to create more gains. Want to know how I figured out that you’d need to invest $12,600 monthly at 10% interest for 5 years to become a millionaire? I used the compound interest calculator I created to calculate the figure. Check out the table below.

Month Starting Net Worth Amount Invested Compounding rate Ending Net Worth
0 0 $12,600.00 0.83% $12,705.00
1 $12,705.00 $12,600.00 0.83% $25,410.00
2 $25,410.00 $12,600.00 0.83% $38,326.75
3 $38,326.75 $12,600.00 0.83% $51,351.14
4 $51,351.14 $12,600.00 0.83% $64,484.07
5 $64,484.07 $12,600.00 0.83% $77,726.43
6 $77,726.43 $12,600.00 0.83% $91,079.15
7 $91,079.15 $12,600.00 0.83% $104,543.15
8 $104,543.15 $12,600.00 0.83% $118,119.34
9 $118,119.34 $12,600.00 0.83% $131,808.67
10 $131,808.67 $12,600.00 0.83% $145,612.07
11 $145,612.07 $12,600.00 0.83% $159,530.51
12 $159,530.51 $12,600.00 0.83% $173,564.93
13 $173,564.93 $12,600.00 0.83% $187,716.30
14 $187,716.30 $12,600.00 0.83% $201,985.60
15 $201,985.60 $12,600.00 0.83% $216,373.82
16 $216,373.82 $12,600.00 0.83% $230,881.93
17 $230,881.93 $12,600.00 0.83% $245,510.95
18 $245,510.95 $12,600.00 0.83% $260,261.87
19 $260,261.87 $12,600.00 0.83% $275,135.72
20 $275,135.72 $12,600.00 0.83% $290,133.52
21 $290,133.52 $12,600.00 0.83% $305,256.30
22 $305,256.30 $12,600.00 0.83% $320,505.10
23 $320,505.10 $12,600.00 0.83% $335,880.98
24 $335,880.98 $12,600.00 0.83% $351,384.99
25 $351,384.99 $12,600.00 0.83% $367,018.19
26 $367,018.19 $12,600.00 0.83% $382,781.68
27 $382,781.68 $12,600.00 0.83% $398,676.53
28 $398,676.53 $12,600.00 0.83% $414,703.83
29 $414,703.83 $12,600.00 0.83% $430,864.70
30 $430,864.70 $12,600.00 0.83% $447,160.24
31 $447,160.24 $12,600.00 0.83% $463,591.57
32 $463,591.57 $12,600.00 0.83% $480,159.83
33 $480,159.83 $12,600.00 0.83% $496,866.17
34 $496,866.17 $12,600.00 0.83% $513,711.72
35 $513,711.72 $12,600.00 0.83% $530,697.65
36 $530,697.65 $12,600.00 0.83% $547,825.13
37 $547,825.13 $12,600.00 0.83% $565,095.34
38 $565,095.34 $12,600.00 0.83% $582,509.47
39 $582,509.47 $12,600.00 0.83% $600,068.71
40 $600,068.71 $12,600.00 0.83% $617,774.28
41 $617,774.28 $12,600.00 0.83% $635,627.40
42 $635,627.40 $12,600.00 0.83% $653,629.30
43 $653,629.30 $12,600.00 0.83% $671,781.21
44 $671,781.21 $12,600.00 0.83% $690,084.39
45 $690,084.39 $12,600.00 0.83% $708,540.09
46 $708,540.09 $12,600.00 0.83% $727,149.59
47 $727,149.59 $12,600.00 0.83% $745,914.17
48 $745,914.17 $12,600.00 0.83% $764,835.12
49 $764,835.12 $12,600.00 0.83% $783,913.75
50 $783,913.75 $12,600.00 0.83% $803,151.36
51 $803,151.36 $12,600.00 0.83% $822,549.29
52 $822,549.29 $12,600.00 0.83% $842,108.87
53 $842,108.87 $12,600.00 0.83% $861,831.44
54 $861,831.44 $12,600.00 0.83% $881,718.37
55 $881,718.37 $12,600.00 0.83% $901,771.02
56 $901,771.02 $12,600.00 0.83% $921,990.78
57 $921,990.78 $12,600.00 0.83% $942,379.04
58 $942,379.04 $12,600.00 0.83% $962,937.20
59 $962,937.20 $12,600.00 0.83% $983,666.67
60 $983,666.67 $12,600.00 0.83% $1,004,568.89

Compounding can be done with any form of cash flow. You just have to put the money into something that will earn returns that beat inflation. Wasting your time putting more money in a savings account that earns less than 1% per month will never get you to your financial goals. You’ll lose money yearly if you make less than inflation on your returns.

Does this mean you should find the highest return and ape into it like crypto bros?

No, please don’t!

Diversification Protects You!

Do you remember companies like Enron? How about Bernie Madoff? These famous scammers helped millions of people become rich, then went bankrupt—along with the many investors that they scammed. We’ve seen the same thing occur with some bankrupted crypto projects that failed to separate client funds from company funds.

During my finance courses for my MBA, one of the lectures was about why the Dow Jones Industrial Average uses 30 stocks to simulate the returns of the entire stock market. Using statistical analysis (which I will spare you from for the sake of readability), they found that you could accurately model the performance of the entire stock market with 30 well-chosen stocks. This strategy saves a lot of money over buying every stock, and the difference in risk was less than 1%.

You can also use diversification to become a millionaire by investing in a combination of assets like:

      • Stocks
      • Options
      • Bonds
      • Crypto
      • Real Estate

If you have a good amount of diversification, you’re not likely to lose over the long term, but most financial advisors still recommend thinking about investing over a ten-year time frame. 

There are other strategies you’ll want to use as you build more wealth. You’ll learn about them in the next section.

Taxes Are Written to Be Gamed

Woman writing notes while using a calculator

In today’s world, a million dollars isn’t that much, but to become a millionaire, you need to learn to play legally within the system. There are numerous financial instruments the wealthy use to increase and protect their financial freedom and build wealth. They use:

      • Tax-advantaged retirement accounts
      • Trusts
      • Corporations
      • LLCs

Let’s look at some of the ways you can use these to accelerate your journey toward making a million dollars.

Tax-Advantaged Retirement Accounts

You’re probably familiar with a retirement account like a 401(k), Individual Retirement Account (IRA), or a Roth IRA, but did you know there are over 16 types of retirement plans?  Some like a Simplified Employee Pension allow up to 25% of a salary to be paid to an employee in their IRA without a matching contribution. 

Retirement accounts can greatly enhance your personal financial scenario.  401(k)s and traditional IRAs reduce your current tax liabilities, but you pay taxes on the withdrawal. Meanwhile, with a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on the front end, and you collect the withdrawals tax-free. Depending on your current tax rate and your tax rate when you collect, you can pay fewer taxes over the course of your life.


You can use a trust to protect your money when you die. These contracts prevent probate because they specify how the money is distributed. A common trust used if you want to pass on more money to people who are at least 37.5 years younger than you is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), which can be set up by a financial planner to help protect generational wealth.


Corporations have a 15-21% tax rate, while personal income tax can be as high as 37%. Dividend payments can also be used to reduce your overall taxable consequences. Plus they get a lot of deductions that individuals don’t. Filing your taxes as a corporation rather than an individual can help you save significantly come tax time.

Limited Liability Companies

Most millionaires have multiple small business ventures protected under separate LLCs. Doing so prevents one investment from being harmed by another investment in the case of a liability claim. This makes becoming a millionaire easier because one failure won’t destroy your other businesses or your pursuit to build wealth.

Share What Being Rich Means To You


Now you know how to become a millionaire with no money. 

Are you still asking yourself how can I get rich?

Check out our cleaning business course with Christopher Mondragon. This free course explains his strategies, while the paid version will provide you with all the actual tools he uses. 

Why do you want to become a millionaire, and what would you do to get there?

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