How to Become an Accidental Millionaire

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In this blog I have never really provided much information on how to build wealth like crazy.  I guess I’ve never really jumped on the build-wealth-like-crazy bandwagon.  But, today I’m going to show you how easy it is to become a millionaire.  In fact, I’ll show you how to become a millionaire by accident.

Earlier this year on his radio show Dave Ramsey asked something like – Why are we so preoccupied with making judgments about other peoples’ money?  Why do we feel like we have a God given standard by which we have the right to judge how much is enough and how much is too much?

How very true.  So for those of you who want to build wealth like crazy, I ask:

What Does it Take to Be a Millionaire?

In a recent email Dave Ramsey wrote (no, it was not a personal email.  It was a mass mailing):

To be a millionaire, you need to change your lifestyle to mimic most millionaires. Live below your means and invest 15 percent of your income.

If that is true – then you don’t need to be greedy, luxurious, or even extravagant to be a millionaire. Just simple, frugal, and disciplined. 

How much do you need to save to have a million dollars at age 65?

The following chart assumes that you will get a 9% rate of return each year and that you will start investing at age 25.  The chart shows how much you would need to invest monthly to save one million dollars.

Million Dollars

* Of course the issue is much more complex.  Your rate of return is unknown, taxes unknown, and the value of that million dollars is unknown.  Thus, this chart is for illustrative purposes only.

Therefore, starting at the following ages you would need to save:

Age 20 – $140 per month

Age 25 – $215 per month

Age 30 – $350 per month

Age 35 – $550 per month

Age 40 – $950 per month

Age 45 – $1500 per month

Age 50 – $2750 per month

What percent of your income does this represent if you earn $45,000 (take home) per year?

Million dollars precent

Making $45,000 take home you would need to save the following percent of your income to have a million dollars at age 65.

  Percentage of Income
Age 20 3.73%
Age 25 5.73%
Age 30 9.33%
Age 35 14.67%
Age 40 25.33%
Age 45 40.00%
Age 50 73.33%

The Simple Steps To Become A Millionaire

Start contributing a reasonable percentage of your income as early as you can.

If you start at age 20, you could save just 4% of your income and retire with a million dollars. 

Interestingly, you could be an extremely generous giver along the way and still save a million dollars.

Besides, in just a few years a million bucks is what it will cost to buy a coke.

Photo by borman818.


  1. says


    You make a good point, but there are two flaws here.

    First, in 40-45 years, your money is only going to be worth about one-fourth of what it is today if inflation continues as it has in the past. That means your $1,000,000 in 40 years is only going to be able to buy what $250,000 can today. Most people can’t retire on $250,000 today unless they live very frugally and can count on a decent pension or Social Security check.

    Second, stock market returns aren’t the same every year – there’s volatility. When you factor that in, you can’t plan on just saving what your formula says – you have to save more.

    Combine those facts together, and most young people (under 30) should be saving at least 10-15% of the income amount they’ll need in retirement. That percentage is much higher for older people who are just starting to save. Dave’s advice of saving 15% only works for 30 year olds or younger – or people who were already saving 15% when they were 30 or under.
    .-= Paul Williams @ Provident Planning´s last blog ..Advent Conspiracy: Love All =-.

    • Craig says

      Thanks for you comment and I compleletly agree with both points.
      For the inflcation that is why I said that a million dollars will only buy you a coke anyways. That’s my subtle way to say that your million tomorrow won’t be worth nearly as much as your million today.
      Regarding stock market volitility that is why I said that these numbers are for illustrative purposes only and that the issue is much more complex.
      The basic point is simply a good disciplined early investing plan implemented early in life will offer good returns later in life.

  2. says


    Your basic point was spot on. I just worry that posts like these (or Dave Ramsey’s advice) can lead people to think they shouldn’t be saving very much at all. But the gist is great – starting early makes saving a lot easier.

    I didn’t notice the changes until I saw Jason’s comment, but the site looks great! Did you create your logo, or is that from Pete? :) Looks like his work.

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