Happy Millionaire Day!

That’s right, today is officially Be a Millionaire Day! Much cooler than Clean Up Your Room Day (5/10) or *gasp* Pi Day (3/14), but not nearly as tasty as National Fudge Day (6/16) ;)

Unlike cleaning your room or gorging yourself on fudge, however, becoming a millionaire takes some key things to pull off. Namely, having the drive and an action plan. Without either you’re just a dreamer like everyone else! (And guess what – they have their own day too: Sep 26th – World Dream Day!)

So for all you millionairings out there (that’s “millionaires in training” for the lay person), mark this fabulous day on your calendar each year and use it as a perfect check-in to see where you are. It’s not the end-all-be-all of personal finance – that’s financial freedom – but it’s a helluva good start in the right direction. And some of you frugalers COULD retire early with a million dollars banked! I can’t currently (my trusty spreadsheet says I need at least $1.5 Mil right now, which is better than the $2.25 Mil it was when we were paying $2k in daycare – yikes) but it’s always a work in progress.

And if you need some motivation – check out our Millionaire Club! Over 150 members so far – all pledging their to-do lists on how they’ll be reaching their first million: J’s Millionaire Club. Again, because you can either dream about it or you can DO SOMETHING about it. And so far 4 of our members have officially reached millionaire status! Some by investing, and others through real estate. Plenty of ways to hit it, you just gotta care enough to make it happen.

(And get this – the last time I blogged about our club? Two years ago on this EXACT same date – May 20th – without even realizing it was Millionaire Day. What are the odds???)

Anyways, since it’s been a couple of years since I last revisited my own pledge to become a millionaire, I thought I’d do it again today on this oh so special occasion. So….

millionaire club

I, J$, pledge to become a millionaire by doing the following every year:

  1. Max out my SEP IRA @ $11,000+ (or whatever I’m legally allowed to with my business)
  2. Max out my Roth IRA @ $5,500 (and continue upping it as the limits increase)

That’s it. $16,500+/year which will make me a millionaire by the time I’m 46 (11 years from now) according to CNN’s millionaire calculator. Now of course I’ll be doing more in the background like paying down my mortgages more and investing any extra money that comes my way as well, God willing, but at the very LEAST I’ll be maxing out both my retirement accounts every single year.

If you remember my post about how powerful doing just *one* thing can be, you’ll know it really isn’t that hard to get to a million dollars as long as you’re consistent and let time work its magic. I started with $56,000 in investments 7 years ago, and now have over $400,000 mainly from maxing out my two retirement accounts alone. The problem is that everyone wants to be rich NOW without putting in the time or effort. Which is fine, but not for people like us who are actually realistic :)

If you’re super eager to speed it up, you need to figure out a way to widen that gap between how much you make each month and how much you spend. Which means earning a $hit ton more or spending a $hit ton less until you’ve reached the goal. All very do-able, but all requiring a boost to your game and much easier to say than to do. Which is why people go back to dreaming or playing the lottery!

Other ways to get that money growing

Here are other ways to get the money ball going if you can’t quite max out your retirement accounts yet. It’s not so much *the amount* that matters early on, it’s the fact that you’re getting the compounding started. You’ll be able to contribute more as life and momentum moves on:

  • Set up an automatic xfer of $50/mo into savings (everyone can do this!)
  • Set up an automatic xfer of $100/mo into investments (almost everyone can do this too)
  • Try the Digit / Acorns combo and have the money automatically saved/invested for you
  • Drop $2,500 in a long term CD (as of 5/19/15 Discover is offering 0.95% APY for a 12 month term)
  • Increase your savings by 1% each month for a year (check out Paula’s One Percent Challenge!)
  • Try a “no spend” month (BOOM – automatic savings!)
  • Track your spending for 30 full days (not as instant as the no spend month, but I promise you it’ll make you think twice about every future expense!)
  • Increase your 401(k) contributions by 5% right now (you’ll notice it, but not as much as you think)
  • Dump all your cash back rewards into savings! (The Discover it ® card gives you 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up. Which is also the card my man Eric used to get back $192.22 from price differences)
  • Sell your extra car/clothes/TV/guitar/anything that can be converted to $$$
  • Get a roommate/move back in with your parents! (I would actually consider either of these to bank more money if the wife wasn’t so opposed to it ;))
  • Read The Millionaire Next Door (the best way to get your mind right)

Most of us will earn millions of dollars over the course of our lives, but it’s how much we *stash aside* that counts. There are plenty of people who have become millionaires on $40,000 a year, and plenty of others who haven’t making $200,000 a year. It all goes back to how you treat your money, and that now famous $8 million dollar janitor is perfect proof of this.

So get to saving, my friends! If not to become a millionaire, at least to reach financial freedom. Then you’ll never have to read this blog again ;)

Some interesting facts about millionaires before you go….

The first multi-millionaire in the United States was John Jacob Astor (1763 – 1848). Astor made his fortune in trade and later established the first trust in American history. His great-grandson, John Jacob Astor IV, was the wealthiest person aboard the Titanic. PunchBowl.com

The term “millionaire” first appeared in the English language in a letter written by Lord Byron in 1816. There were only a few millionaires at the time, but thanks to the Industrial Revolution, more millionaires were created outside of the aristocracy. Today there are more than 12 million millionaires scattered around the globe. DaysofTheYear.com

There are over 12 million “High Net Worth” individuals in the world, with the US having the most at 3.44 million and Japan and Germany following with 1.9 million and 1.0 million respectively (High Net Worth = at least $1 million in assets excluding primary residence.) – The World Wealth Report 2013

Only 20% of millionaires inherit their wealth. – The Millionaire Next Door

The average millionaire goes bankrupt at least 3.5 times. – The Millionaire Next Door

Half of all millionaires are self-employed or own a business. – The Education of Millionaires

The preferred car of millionaires is a Ford first, then Cadillac, then Lincolns. – Million Dollar Habits

On average, millionaires are 61 years old with $3.05 million in assets. Yahoo Finance

Any of us can become a millionaire if you pay attention enough. – J. Money

cash money animated gif

What will YOU be doing today to get closer to a million dollars?? Make the pledge to yourself – or our club – and then jump right on it. I’ll check back in a year to see how you’re doing ;)

PS: This post was in partnership with Discover who gave me the heads up on Millionaire Day – my new favorite holiday! Thanks guys!

PPS: Being a “millionaire” can mean different things to different people, but in a nutshell it’s having $1 Million dollars in net worth. Now whether that is from real estate or investing or savings or however else you track/define it is up to you, but the point is to reach for the stars and not get complacent. All I care is that you’re steering the ship in the right direction!

[Dapper gent/’stache photo by Paul Stevenson]

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  1. Brian @ Debt Discipline May 20, 2015 at 6:54 AM

    Happy Millionaire’s Day! I would have sent you a card if I knew! Keep on building that wealth and millionaire status here we come!

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      Haha – I would love to receive a card as such :)

    2. The Professor May 21, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      I would have sent J$ an e-card if I knew and banked the money saved on the card. :)

      1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:10 PM

        well what are you waiting for??? ;)

  2. Mrs. Frugalwoods May 20, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    I like the slow and steady approach of increasing earnings and decreasing spending. And, of course, just watching those savings grow. I feel like coming at the challenge from both sides is the most effective way to augment wealth. Plus, reducing expenses for a lifetime means I’ll always be spending less than I have. Happy Millionaire’s Day, J!

  3. Ed Mills May 20, 2015 at 7:07 AM

    Happy Millionaire’s Day to All! Just remember, it’s not about the money but rather the increased freedom, choices, and happiness.

    1. Lisa O May 20, 2015 at 10:00 AM

      I agree with that!

      1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 10:12 AM


  4. Hannah May 20, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    Okay, but Pi day is a delicious excuse to eat Pie.

    That calculator is bomb.edu – it shows that it’s possible for my husband and I to hit the 7th digit before we hit 35 and 40, but that assumes our current rate of savings- we will have to see about that.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 10:13 AM

      Put a note in your calendar to check it then, and then email me to see if you guys made :) I’m going to venture YES!

  5. Heather May 20, 2015 at 7:58 AM

    Happy Millionaire Day!

  6. Kalie May 20, 2015 at 8:08 AM

    I never realized until a few years ago that most people can become millionaires if they start investing money and resist lifestyle inflation. It’s cool how accessible it is, and like you said, it’s more about paying attention and being consistent over time than “striking it rich,” as many people think.

  7. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar May 20, 2015 at 8:54 AM

    Not there yet. I don’t know if I ever need to be though. I’m not sure if I need that money. Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t. I think we can live on a lot less than that a year. I like the ~625,000 # a lot more. At that point, I’m getting 25k per year. I think that will be more than plenty, especially if I keep re-selling on eBay!

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 10:15 AM

      That would be pretty incredible if so! And also the beauty of “early retirement.” You can still do whatever the hell you want, and if it happens to pay even better :) I want to see what happens as you keep producing kids though – hah.

  8. Elise @ Simply Scaled Down May 20, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    Woot woot! We are pretty far away from millionaire status but we’ve got our eye on the prize :) and like you said, just doing one thing can make a bug difference!

  9. Kate@GoodnightDebt May 20, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    This is a holiday I can support! But instead of taking the day off, I’ll explore new hustle opportunities. Happy Millionaire Day!

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      Haha… Perfect say to celebrate!

  10. Warren Lee May 20, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    I had no clue it existed, but I’d like to celebrate it with an actual Mil or 2 this time next year. Or at least be well on the way!

    Happy Millionair Day brother!

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      You too, good sir.

  11. Will May 20, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    I can’t wait to become a millionaire. Because that’s $40,000 worth of passive income just coming from equities. For me, $40,000/yr is enough to fill my needs. Any money I create on top of that is just icing on the cake. The icing will come in the form of a nicer house, more trips, more donating to charity, a better bicycle, etc. haha.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      I could live off $40k year too if my wife would let us move into a tiny house / RV / yurt / trailer! What’s her deal??? :)

  12. Emily May 20, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    I am blessed that at the tender age of 24, a colleague introduced me to investing outside of the state teacher retirement deal. I am doubly blessed that God sent me a man who had been maxing out his 401k ever since he landed his first (and only) job after college.

    It’s totally possible to become a millionaire between your early 30’s and early 40’s if you start investing in your early 20’s (and, of course, don’t have a ton of expenses along the way). It’s also totally possible to declare financial independence before reaching that esteemed figure, as well.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      Blessed indeed!

  13. Leigh May 20, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    It sounds like you’re good about maxing out your retirement accounts, but does your wife contribute to her retirement accounts as well? Even if she doesn’t have earned income, assuming that you are filing jointly, she can still contribute to a Roth IRA in her name too.

    1. J. Money May 20, 2015 at 11:36 AM

      We have maxed out her Roth over the years, but def. need to be better about it. Her going back into the workforce soon should help :)

  14. Sylvia @ Professional Girl May 20, 2015 at 1:14 PM

    Because I am just beginning my journey my main focus is paying off all of my debt. My job deducts 8% every month for my pension (they match) and I try to put an extra $150 in a personal retirement fund. But once my debt is gone, I am aiming to save $30,000/year on top of my pension contributions. I will get there!

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      DAMN GIRL!

      WORK THAT $$$!

  15. Franklin B May 20, 2015 at 5:20 PM

    So happy to see my name on the list. Even happier measuring it’s growth every quarter. (ok, I occassionally peak at it at it at the end of each month).

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:12 PM

      Yeah Member #125!

  16. Christine @ The Pursuit of Green May 20, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    Happy Millionaire Day!!!!

    I need to check what my goals were back when I first joined your club!!!!!! Update post!

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:12 PM

      Send me the link when you do!

  17. Dividend Mantra May 20, 2015 at 7:44 PM


    Happy J$ Day… er, I mean Happy Millionaire Day! :)


    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:13 PM

      One in the same, really :)

  18. Aja McClanahan May 20, 2015 at 8:52 PM

    I would add get out of DEBT quickly. All debt.

  19. Michelle May 20, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    I want to be a millionaire but don’t want a Cadillac or Lincoln. Can’t wait to read your I’m a millionaire post! (paying off debt, my super low mortgage, and amping up investments)

      1. Michelle May 23, 2015 at 9:47 PM

        You might be right.

  20. Sharee May 20, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    You’re totally right – you must pay attention. Thanks for all the educational posts!

  21. Brittney @ Life On A Discount May 20, 2015 at 11:43 PM

    We are hopeful to be millionaires by retirement! We are focusing on maxing out our Roth IRAs and contributing to 401ks through work to some extent (no match). Provided the market does well over the years, we can be optimistic.

  22. Kayla @ Hello Pre Nurse May 21, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    Maybe someday I can join the millionaire club, but for now I just want to be part of the positive net worth club. :) By my calculations, I am positive but only just. Can’t wait to get rid of the debt, that’ll help a lot!

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:17 PM

      Just a stage we all have to get through! You’ll be up and amassing wealth in no time if you channel all that energy into saving/investing once the debt’s squashed.

  23. Slackerjo May 21, 2015 at 3:15 PM

    Is the dapper gent look the look you’ll be sportin’ when you are a distinguished gentlemen (and the kids start talking to you like you are simpleminded?)

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:17 PM

      I’m not even waiting until I’m distinguished – I’m trying to rock that look NOW! :)

  24. Kapitalust May 21, 2015 at 6:25 PM

    You truly do need to be wired a certain way in the brain circuitry (or somehow drill it into your brain if you aren’t wired that way to think) that it will take at least a decade+ depending on your savings amounts and assets you invest into.

    I started the race like a one-legged man in an ass whooping contest – negative $54,000 in student loan debt. It took 2.5 years to get to the start line at zero. And now into the first year being debt free, equities alone are getting to the amount I once had in total student loan debt.

    And it’ll take a lot of savings and a lot of time to get into the million plus. Need patience and persistence.

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 3:20 PM

      Indeed, my friend, indeed.

      And what a damn good feeling it’ll be each year going into the 10 too! That’s really where my motivation started kicking in – watching the balance exponentially grow for once and not go *down*, haha… And throwing $$$ into retirement accounts that penalize the $hit out of you if you pull from it only makes it easier to leave alone!

  25. Vic @ DadIsCheap May 23, 2015 at 2:47 AM

    I didn’t get serious with my finances until my daughter was born a year ago. Before I didn’t worry too much about the future and had a very laid back attitude towards money. Now I HAVE to gain wealth and succeed. To me there is no other option. I want to be millionaire to ensure that my family will always be taken care of. I obsess about money so I won’t have to worry about money in the future.

    Now, we pay extra on the house each month to pay off my mortgage early, maxed out our Roth IRAs for the year, and make it a point that any windfalls we receive go into savings or investments.

    I’m on my way to that million dollars!

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:18 PM

      Hell yeah you are man! Got the right attitude too for that – way to pivot :)

  26. Karen May 23, 2015 at 8:02 PM

    Happy Belated Millionaire Day!

    I missed it by a few days. Lol. Maybe it’ll eventually make it’s way on to a calendar so people will know when to celebrate. ;)

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:21 PM

      That would be most excellent :)

  27. Chris Muller May 27, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    J! Totally love your point about people being impatient. We live in this crazy ass society where everyone wants everything right now. Probably because that’s all we see on TV. Society has programmed us to want everything immediately. A colleague of mine was complaining the other day because she had to “wait through commercials” while watching a live TV show, and preferred the luxury of Netflix. You know what I say… #firstworldproblems.

    ANYWAYS, I think your goals are legit… I am way too far off from being a millionaire to even start to have this conversation, but I know that it’s not going to happen overnight and I know it takes dedication and perseverance.

    One point you made that I found intriguing was making more money vs spending less. I think, unfortunately, a lot of consumers feel that making more money is the path to freedom. To me this doesn’t make sense… Whether you stick to it for a week or a couple of years, when you make more money, your brain will eventually prompt you to spend more of it. I truly believe this is the case with most people. I think the trick is to force yourself to spend less, but within reason (like a diet… don’t deprive yourself) and buy things that only add to the quality of your life.

    Regardless, awesome post – and frankly I didn’t even know this day existed (who thinks of these days anyways?). Thanks again man!

    1. J. Money May 29, 2015 at 10:41 PM

      I know right? I say we go out and create our own days too! “Money Blogging Day!” “Budgeting Is Sexy Day!” Haha…

      You’re def. right though – for the average person, the more they earn the more they spend. But for everyone here trying to get their $$$ on, we know that more money = faster goals cuz we don’t let the lifestyle inflation get us! You def. need a nice balance of spending less and earning more at least to get the momentum going… The nice thing about having $$ invested and growing for you is that once it’s there (and you don’t touch it!) it’ll just keep going up. Regardless of what you’re spending/earning :) At least all in theory – hah.

  28. Nicky June 1, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    Nice post. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know this exist. It needs to become an official holiday maybe it will encourage more people to become financially independent.