Proof It’s Possible to Become a Millionaire

Last week we featured a handful of ordinary people who paid off ALL their debt (and by ordinary, of course I mean “EXTRAordinary” ;)), so this week I thought we’d focus on those who have hit the next crazy milestone:

Hitting a million dollars of net worth.

I’ve always thought it would be fun to interview a few millionaires and pull out all their “secrets” they’d share with me, but turns out people like Jaime Tardy from Eventual Millionaire, and (new) friend Tom Corley from Rich Habits, have already done that. And do a mighty fine job of it too, I might add.

But, it ALSO turns out that we have a healthy group of new millionaires off our Millionaire’s Club here on BudgetsAreSexy too! Yup! You might remember our very 1st member crossing over the $1,000,000 mark back in May of this year – Big Chris B, member #62 – and since then we’ve  had TWO others hit the finish line too. Increasing our grand total of millionaire friends to 3 :) 3 out of 115 current members – not bad odds if you were a betting man! Haha…

But the number itself isn’t that important. What *counts* is HOW they got to reach these million dollar levels. Did they get lucky? Win a jackpot? Work their asses off 24/7? Or just do what everyone already KNOWS what needs to get done to have lots of money? Cut expenses, make more money, and save/invest all money?

Here are the answers:

Millionaire #1: Stock Market and Retirement Accounts

The fist person to reach a million dollar net worth from our club was Big Chris B, as recently mentioned. His blog is now closed off to the general public so unfortunately we can’t read his post all the way (hope he’s okay!), BUT since I already blogged about it I can tell you how he got to this millionaire goal: by heavily investing in the stock market and maxing out his retirement accounts.

Two things we all know how to do, right? We may not know exactly *what* to invest in, or have as much as we wished we did to invest and max out those accounts, but no real big secret here in pumping up that net worth. You just invest your money.

Millionaire #2: High Salary and Stock Market

Millionaire #2 from our club is member #42, Anon Lawyer. Who’s, as you can guess, an anonymous lawyer ;) For this guy it was all about his high salary and ALSO the stock market.

Here’s clip from his announcement:

About 3 1/2 years ago, I participated in J. Money’s Million Dollar Club. At that time, I estimated that I would become a millionaire by 2016. Turns out I beat that estimate by almost 3 years. This is due in large part to a continuous increase in my income.

In 2010, I was a 4th year associate making $210K a year plus bonus. Now, I’m making much more than that, not including my wife’s income. Another contributing factor was starting to invest in the market late last year. In the last week, we probably made $20K in the market. “

So this route required a big honkin’ salary on top of jumping into the stock market. Also things we know, but one being a LOT harder than any other way to get your hands on money, haha… $200k+ salary and now making even MORE than that??? Damn. That’s big pimpin’ right there.

But we can’t of course forget all the time and effort and probably lack of a social life to even *get* to that point. Becoming a lawyer is no easy feat. Nor is a *successful* one. But, such is one way to get you to a million dollars should you want to go down that path.

Millionaire #3: Real Estate and Retirement Accounts

Millionaire #3 on our list today is my favorite, but only because I’ve been good blogging friends with James and his wife, Miel (from going on almost 6 years now. James was one of the first pf bloggers I ever met in “real life,” and coincidentally enough the first one to sign up to our Millionaire Club too! Woo!

Neither of us could have guessed we’d still be in the game all these years later, but here we are and one of us has finally crossed that $1 Mil mark. And it wasn’t me ;) Congrats buddy!

You can read more about it over on his announcement here, but it grew out of mostly investment properties and, again, maxing out retirement accounts. And it helps that bot him AND his wife are doing it – something that should be noted, of course.

Here’s a snapshot of the details I stole from his site:

million dollar net worth

Pretty neat stuff. And look at him putting that cherry on top with an extra $32,000 – overachiever! ;)

The point of all this? Just like paying off all your debt over time, the same strategies can be used to do the opposite: Pay YOURSELF over time. You may not have grand dreams of reaching that million dollar mark (or maybe you want 10 Mil!), but regardless it’s important to keep in mind that it is, without a doubt, POSSIBLE.

And just like with all that debt squashing, the same words can be used to describe this journey as well: Hustling, prioritizing, and “not being easy” ;) Possible, but not easy.

Also – people tend to forget to *track* their net worth vs their debt – which is of course easier to see since the numbers stare you in the face 24/7. So to even be able to tell us you’ve crossed this mark, you’ll have to start tracking it first. Possibly even today (*gasp*). But it’s really easy: add up your assets and subtract your liabilities – BAM. There are some gray areas to this, but that’s all you really need to know to get you going…

Want to join our Millionaire Club?

million dollar clubIf you’d like to become a member of the sexy elite (aka our Millionaire Club ;)), pass me a note and let me know how YOU plan on reaching that incredible number.

Will you be cutting back major expenses? Saving all your money from your side hustles? Maxing out your 401(k) or Roth? Or both? Investing in the stock market?

Let me know and I’ll happily add you to the list :) Brownie points for those who blog about it too.

Shout out to our most recent members of this sexy little club:

  1. Anton Ivanov @ Dreams Cash True –> Anton’s millionaire list
  2. Paul
  3. Alex
  4. Leona @ All My Dollars and Cents
  5. Anne
  6. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen –> Christine’s millionaire list
  7. EJ @ Money Making Mummy
  8. Kim @ Eyes on The Dollar –> Kim’s millionaire list
  9. Mel @ Broke Girl Rich
  10. Izzye G

Continue working hard and saving that money, everyone!! It’s not a race, but I do hope you beat me to the end :) I need a party of people waiting for me when I crack open that bottle of bubbly! Or, better yet, my un-opened $40.00 bottle of bling water. I believe it would prove I’ve come a long long way since falling for that one! Haha… To us!

Photo cred: jthetzel

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PS: If you’re just getting started in your journey, here are a few good resources to help track your money. Doesn’t matter which route you go, just that it ends up sticking!

If you're not a spreadsheet guy like me and prefer something more automated (which is fine, whatever gets you to take action!), you can try your hand with a free Empower account instead (formerly Personal Capital)

Empower is a cool tool that connects with your bank & investment accounts to give you an automated way to track your net worth. You'll get a crystal clear picture of how your spending and investments affect your financial goals (early retirement?), and it's super easy to use.

personal capital dashboard

It only takes a couple minutes to set up and you can grab your free account here. They also do a lot of other cool stuff as well which my early retired friend Justin covers in our full review of Empower - check it out here: Why I Use Empower Almost Every Single Day.

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  1. kelly @stayingonbudget November 19, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    I love this post! It’s great to read about people who reached the milestone and how they are all different. Cool–I hope to join your ranks and share how I did it my way!

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      That’s my favorite part too – the “hows” :) We all work so differently, so it’s nice to see that there are multiple paths to success.

  2. Brian@ Debt Discipline November 19, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    Good stuff! Interesting to keep tabs on the different paths people travel to the million dollars in net worth. A great goal to keep shooting for.

  3. Anne @ Unique Gifter November 19, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    Congrats to those folks! We’re on our way, but I would sure like some favourable stock returms and such to speed up the process!

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      Luckily the more time your stocks are invested, the more time they have to grow ;)

  4. Fig November 19, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    So awesome! I hope to join the ranks one day but I’ve got a long, long, way to go.

  5. Michelle @fitisthenewpoor November 19, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Wow! Congrats to those new millionaires! I’m a long ways off from even thinking about that next step, but I hope to be there some day!

  6. John S @ Frugal Rules November 19, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Congrats to everyone! Great point J that building up your net worth and putting money in the bank is really very similar to paying off debt. A big key, as I see it, is to always be hustlin’ and remembering it is possible if you keep it up.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      You got it, brotha.

  7. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction November 19, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Well I am quite far off that, but it is an eventual goal. I have a couple coming before that though such as “positive net worth” and then 100k sitting in retirement accounts. Then I will worry about tackling that extra zero :)

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      Haha, there you go. It’s of course important to keep mind mind that we’re all in different stages of our financial lives (and, ages too, for that matter) so we gotta make sure not to compare apples to oranges :) We all have to go through the same steps!

  8. Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) November 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Congrats to the new millionaires! Lots of hard work and smart planning!

  9. Anton Ivanov November 19, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Thanks for the shoutout and congrats to all the millionaires who made it!

  10. Deacon November 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Wow! Congrats to those that crossed the Million dollar mark! It is great to see so many people who are willing to make there goal to be a millionaire public and then actually achieve it. Keep up the great work!

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      You’ll be on that list too one of these days, new Millionaire Club member ;)

  11. Aimee November 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Good job!!! I think my net worth is about $8k baahahahaha!

  12. Michelle November 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Wow these people are definitely doing awesome! I hope to become a millionaire eventually :) I have a long way to go!

  13. Jennifer Lissette November 19, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    I’ve been reading this blog for years, but never signed up for the Millionaire Club. Maybe I should. It was at your prompting that I started tracking our net worth three and a half years ago. And in that time, our net worth has jumped from negative territory to $560,000 as of the first of this month.

    I’m a stay-at-home mom, so my main role in making it to the Millionaire Club is a high savings rate. My husband is a software engineer, so he makes a good salary. I consider it a point of pride that we live on 30% of his take-home pay and save the remaining 70%. We have baby #3 on the way, and son #1 is going to require private school, as our local school is not a good fit for his needs, so our savings rate may slow down a bit in the near future. Still, I think it’s a safe estimate that we could join the Millionaire Club by 2018.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Wowwww that is so GOOD!!! You guys are killing it over there! Way to go!

      And I can’t believe you’ve been reading this blog for so many years too – thank you for doing so :) I’m glad you get something out of it – keep going!

  14. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen November 19, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Congrats to the new millionaires! Amazing achievement! I can’t wait until I reach that point, got a ways to go still but I’m plugging away at it!

  15. Cassie November 19, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Awesome achievements! I love reading these kinds of stories. :)

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      Hi new friend – love your blog name :)

  16. Mel @ brokeGIRLrich November 19, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    What an encouraging post! I really liked James and Meil’s method (since high income lawyering isn’t really in my cards ;o) and investment properties are really interesting to me.

  17. Brian @ Stocks and Cents November 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Hmm I’m starting to consider joining the club. I’m nowhere close right now BUT maybe someday…

  18. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    That’s what the club is for! For people who want to get motivated to reach it – especially those way far off :) It’s all about the community, brotha!

    1. Brian @ Stocks and Cents November 19, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      Hmmmmm…..HMMMMMMMM!!! Check your email later :)

      1. J. Money November 20, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        I’m checking… and not seeing anything yet! ;)

  19. Micro November 19, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    I like these posts because it helps show that goals like getting a million in net worth is achievable. It might take me many, many years but I will get there some day. When I do, I will probably grab a bunch of one dollar bills, toss them into a ceiling fan, and watch the money rain down on me. :)

    1. J. Money November 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Okay, but please wait for me to show up so I can nab them too!!!

  20. Vincci November 19, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Ahhhhh…so makes me want to be a millionaire too! Guess I need to start some kind of list and actually follow it : )

    1. J. Money November 20, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      When you do, send me the link to it and I’ll add you as a new member to our club ;)

  21. SuburbanFinance November 20, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    One day I’ll be a millionaire. I know it!

  22. Joe November 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Good luck everyone! Great success stories. You just need to work hard and you’ll get there someday.

  23. JoeTaxpayer November 20, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    It’s a great first milestone, But ‘millionaire’ is no longer rich in this country. If you still believe in the 4% withdrawal rate, $1M is $40K/year. Hardly enough for most people to retire early.
    Combine it with Social Security at full retirement age, and you might be pushing $80K/yr, not bad, but still not rich.
    Surveys are all over the place, but it seems the new Millionaire is now $2.5M-$4M or so. (And when I calculate my net worth, I don’t count the house. It’s not giving me 4%.

    1. J. Money November 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      All good things to think about, brotha… I plan on having my expenses cut down wayyyyy less by the time I “retire” myself, and perhaps that will include getting rid of our house and living in a cabin in the woods I build by hand myself (Hah! yeah right).

      Question for you though – if you don’t include your house in your net worth, how do you offset the mortgage(s)? Or are you guys mortgage free these days?

      I always feel like either both should be included, or none at all, or one side is more skewed than the other… Then again, I look at my net worth as all assets – liabilities which would be different if you’re only tracking stuff for retirement income or accounts only, etc…

  24. jim January 22, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    You can add Jim #99 as having crossed the $1M mark now too. I didn’t realize it ’cause my wife does most of our budgeting, but when I read your article I added the #’s in my head, asked her if she realized we were past the $1M mark and she said, “yeah” – like so what? She said ours doesn’t really count (in her head) until our mortgage is paid in full and our investments are a much more over $1M than they currently are – in order to account for market risk. Not quite sure how her brain works – but you may now mark off #99.

    1. J. Money January 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      HAH! Rock on man – congrats!! A million dollars is still a million dollars no matter how you slice it :) Going now to update the Millionaire list – way to go.

  25. wes@GenWiseWealth April 8, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    It’s great to hear about the different paths we take to reach our final destination of financial freedom…whether that be $1m, $5m, or heck $100m dollars or more.

    In my mind, it all comes down to a simple equation:

    Income – Spending = Savings and Investment

    (see my blog post:

    J. Money,
    What is your philosophy on how people should invest their savings?

    1. J. Money April 8, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      That’s a helluva great (and simple!) equation! If only more people listened to it :(

      My philosophy on investing savings? I just wrote up a post on the order of where all my “extra” money goes (ie your savings/investments). Is this what you mean?

  26. Dave May 18, 2016 at 7:41 AM

    Is there a form or a sign up sheet where I can sign up to join this club?