2.5 Million Americans Became Millionaires Last Year. Here's How You Can Do the Same

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  • Many people become millionaires over time, not overnight.
  • There are steps you can take to grow wealth and eventually join the millionaires club.
  • Prioritizing saving, investing, and living below your means can help you achieve that goal.

Believe it or not, it's an attainable goal.

It's fair to say that 2021 was a tricky year. We started off with high levels of unemployment -- high enough to warrant a round of stimulus checks -- and loads of pandemic-related uncertainty. Then, once jobs started coming back, supply chains began to slow, resulting in soaring inflation.

But despite those tricky economic conditions, a good 2.5 million Americans achieved a major milestone in 2021 -- they became millionaires. And while it's easy to point to pandemic-related savings as the reason (after all, it's easy to save more money when you're staying inside your house for a year), the reality is that it generally takes well more than a single year of reduced spending to meet a goal like that.

At this point, you may be thinking, "Well, hooray for all of those millionaires, but that's a status I'll never achieve." But one thing you should know is that most people who become millionaires don't get there overnight. Rather, they work hard for years to build wealth. And so if you want to become an eventual millionaire, here's what you should do.

1. Learn to live below your means

Many of us routinely spend down our paychecks in their entirety because, well, we can. But the sooner you learn to manage on less, the sooner you can begin to put some of your money to work.

To this end, think about the things that are most important to you and that best enhance your quality of life. If a spacious, comfortable home is a must-have, spend your money there -- but then cut back in other areas. That could, for example, mean driving a more modest car without a lot of fancy features.

2. Make savings your priority

A lot of people take the attitude that if they have money left over at the end of the month after all of their bills have been tackled, they'll then stick some money into a savings account. In reality, your savings account should be the first thing you fund every month, before you spend money on other things. If you make savings your priority, you're more likely to build a nice amount of wealth over time.

3. Invest your money for added growth

Consistently funding a savings account is important. But even when banks pay savers generously, the interest rate you'll get in a savings account will generally pale in comparison to what you might get by investing your money in a brokerage account. If you want to become a millionaire, you'll need to get on board with investing the cash you aren't setting aside for an emergency fund.

If you were to invest $350 a month over a 40-year period in a brokerage account and generate an average yearly 8% return (which is a couple points below the stock market's average), you'd end up with over $1 million. And who knows? Your portfolio might do even better than 8%.

Becoming a millionaire may seem impossible -- but it's not. If you learn to spend less, prioritize savings, and put your money to work by investing it, you may be surprised at the net worth you end up accumulating.

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