There's a story that has entered folklore status in the investing community. 

A woman works for the same company as a secretary for six decades before retiring in her 90s. She insists on taking public transportation, doesn't wear flashy clothes, and doesn't care much for lavish presents.

But after she dies, the executor of her estate goes through her accounts and can't believe what is in her will. This unassuming former administrative assistant had left over $8 million dollars to local education and social programs. 

Her friends, family, and former workers are floored by her generosity AND that all this time she'd been a millionaire many times over.

Unlike many tall tales, it's a story that is 100% true, and you'll see some variant of it crop up every couple years...a janitor donating millions to his local hospital, a librarian giving millions to a university. It always begs the question, how exactly do these everyday people become millionaires?

Seven figures might feel like it's impossibly far away, but it's really more in reach than you think. To explain how you might be able to put together a million-dollar nest egg, our analysts are going to run through how you can save up, invest, and preserve wealth so that you can retire comfortably and give back.


This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.