After 20 plus years of investing I am more and more convinced of the reasons that some people get wealthy or poor over time. Of course there are those rare tragic situations where something terrible happens that is out of someones control. But for the vast majority of wealth builders, the formula is quite simple: Own assets, reduce liabilities. Do this again and again over many years.
Sounds simple, but so few do it. For the majority of us, we will need to deploy multiple strategies and techniques to discover our treasure that can sustain us over the long run.
Therefore we ask, what can we do to achieve a million dollar nest egg in order to draw income for life? I realize a million is not what it used to be, but if someone can reach a million, then they have most likely developed the systems, skills and habits to go higher.
When I think about building a successful system towards the goal of financial independence, I think of Benjamin Graham, famed author of the investment classic “The Intelligent Investor” and mentor to Warren Buffett.
He famously said “The best way to measure your investing success is not by whether you’re beating the market, but by whether you’ve put in place a financial plan and a behavioral discipline that are likely to get you to where you want to go.”
For most of us, a $1 million investment account is a good psychological goal. And for many, it is within our grasp to achieve after many years of saving and investing.
Why A Million?
In my mind, a million creates that critical mass required to spin off significant investment income and interest. The advantage of an interest only retirement is that there is less concern with drawing down the nest egg too quickly and running out of money. How big an account depends on your particular target income. As an example, an annual income of $48,000 would require a nest egg of $1.6 million, assuming a 3% interest rate. Here are 7 ideas to utilize on the journey to a million:
1. Use the math (Like Use The Force Jedi)
The thing about achieving a level of wealth that most people do not understand is that it is simple math and techniques. Most people seem to think in order to be wealthy they need to win the lotto, be a movie star/sports star or invent the next internet sensation. For a very lucky few these paths work. Most of us will have to deploy a much simpler path.
Could you come up with $193 next month? Many people can, $193 in one month is really not a lot of money for most people. If a person started at age 30 (well into adulthood) and simply invested $193/month at a 10% annual average return, by the time they reached full retirement age at 65 they would have $1 million in investments.
These numbers can be adjusted over time to speed up the process of accumulating wealth. But we get the picture, it is simple math and time on the journey to a million.
Many people easily waste $193 month on little luxury items like coffees out, meals out, subscription services, clothes, etc. Heck, $5/day for a fancy coffee is $150 month! Cut cable or do one less meal out each month and you have already surpassed the $193!
2. Multiple Income Streams
In order to achieve financial independence and grow towards a million dollar nest egg, it can be highly helpful to develop and build multiple income streams.
The reason for multiple income streams is born out of the experience of the booms and busts of the American economy over the last 20 years. Dot com bubble, 9/11 shockwaves, housing bubble, global recession, bailouts and high unemployment, pandemics, etc. These events greatly impacted many people and their financial futures.
A strategy that saved many was developing multiple income streams. These are things like side hustles, side jobs, dividend income, rental income, royalties from intellectual property like a book or patent, etc. In other words, not depending only on one job for all income needs.
I have frankly found these challenging to fully develop over the years. Each side income machine takes time to build, manage and deploy.
One of my favorites are dividends from quality companies. We analyze a lot of dividend investments here and that is a key pillar to my multiple income stream strategy. Another thing I love about focusing on dividends is that I care much less what the stock price is doing each day, month or even year. Of course in the long run I want the stock price to appreciate in value, but as long as that little bit of income is coming in, then who cares?
Jerry has displayed again that having a side hustle as an options trader can be a great passive income machine. It does take an initial investment in education because many of the terms of art are not initially intuitive. But with some time invested in your education and setting up the platform, many are able to make money as the market fluctuates up and down.
SEE RELATED: 7 Passive Income Machines
SEE RELATED: Options Basics – Make Money In Any Market
3. Become Owner/Investor, NOT just a consumer
In America we are born and raised in an environment of hyper consumerism. We embrace capitalism and spend hours a day gazing at commercials and grinding away to make money in order to make the next purchase. It is a never ending cycle and in many ways can get totally out of control. Millions are drowning in debt they will never re pay. In other words, they are behaving like compliant consumers. The constant bombardment of commercials is a great reminder of the next hot thing they need to make them feel complete briefly.
Ok, all good, the modern world seems to run on the jet fuel of consumerism. But what if you played multiple roles?What if you were also an owner and investor? What if you owned some of the capital, a stake in the game and were part of production?
That is a main point of the financial independence movement and FIRE: to have a controlling stake in the world we live in, instead of simply living off an old script that we were handed. Nowadays there are so many investment options from stocks, bonds, ETF’s, crypto, real estate etc. Either focus in on a couple or own a diversified portfolio of many.
How do we become owners? One simple example is when you buy an asset like a stock. You are instantly a small fraction of an owner in the future profits of that business.
SEE RELATED: Become An Owner
4. Cut Back On Waste
I am continually surprised by the human habit of focusing too much on the stuff we can’t control and too little on the things within our control and influence.
Simple example: Someone may obsess over being hurt in a terror attack, yet stuff their face with highly processed “franken-food” from a low quality fast food joint. Heart disease, diabetes kill more people than terrorism.
The point is that a person may focus too much on the potential low probability event while guzzling down sugary milkshakes and highly processed foods stuffed with sugar, bad fats and empty calories.
Focusing on what we can control and manage can have a profound effect on our long term trajectory. There are so many recurring expenses that can most likely be reduced or trimmed over time.
SEE RELATED: 10 Ways To Be More Frugal
5. Rent Stuff Out
One way to generate income and wealth is to think in terms of an owner investor. Owners and investor typically rent assets out to generate cash flow and maintain the asset. There are many ways these days to harness the power of technology to rent things out. It helps the other person and the owner/investor.
6. Set Yourself Up For Success
Setting ourselves up for financial success can actually be quite simple. I believe the surest path is harnessing the power of what we Money Vikings call the Investing Trifecta!
The 3 pronged spear of Poseidon
Think of the “Investing Trifecta” as a 3 pronged Poseidon Trident that you can use to conquer financial freedom. We all know the name of the game is reaching a critical mass of assets that spins off so much income and interest that you make money while you sleep and withdraw slowly using the 4% rule. This frees us to pursue projects, work and time with family on our own schedule.
a. Dollar cost averaging
The first spear in the trident is harnessing the power of dollar cost averaging. This is a very handy strategy at the moment. With the stock market plummeting, now may be the perfect time to start using this power.
The current market meltdown of 2018 is a perfect example of how you can harness this now. When you make those bi-weekly contributions to your 401k right now, notice you are now buying more shares because the shares are lower. If you have 10, 20 or more years to “retirement” or financial independence, in an ideal world the value of shares would plummet even more. You begin to cheer stock market declines and get excited about them. You will enjoy seeing quality stocks and index funds lose value as you load up on more.
b. 401k match
Of the 79% of Americans who get the choice to fund a 401(k), only 41% opt to participate. Therefore, only 32% of the workforce has a 401k. This is a lot of people, but it should be more. Not all these employers offer a match, but if yours does it is very important to contribute enough to get the match in my opinion. This is 100% return on investment, which is absolutely unheard of.
My employer matches a certain percentage up to 5%. Therefore, in my mind I have to contribute at least 5% so I can earn that match. Now, in order to increase net worth and attain critical mass, I am investing well above this percentage in various ways. But the point here is the match. It has made a tremendous difference in investment gains and wealth accumulation over the last 10 years.
A person may want to strongly consider working in some kind of private or government organization that offers a match. If you do not have a 401k or match, all is not lost. It just means that you will need to set up an Individual Retirement Account on your own through a company like Vanguard. And you will want to up the contribution very high in order to make up for the match. Another option is to consider a Roth IRA (tax free distributions) account to save even more on taxes in the future.
Remember there is a consumption side to this equation and there are usually ways to drastically reduce consumption to acquire more assets. See our article onThe Next Millionaire Next Door.
The bottomline is that if you have a match offered, take it if the goal is to increase net worth dramatically.
c. Compound Interest
The third sharp fork on Poseidon’s investment trifecta is compound interest. Warren Buffett and I believe Einstein has called this one of the big mathematical wonders of the world! Simply put, compound interest is when the interest you earn on your initial investment begins earning investment and so on.
In the beginning as you diligently sock away 10% of your income into a low cost index fund, you are mainly just saving. But after 7 plus years the interest that is earned on that initial and ongoing investment really starts to take off! This is one reason we focus so much on dividend investing here at The Money Vikings. The dividends can be reinvested into the investment. The mathematical wonder is that those dividends buy more shares, which then in turn produce even more dividends, and on and on for as long as you would live.
There may be a point in life when you want to collect these dividends as income for consumption, but while you are working and increasing net worth, it might be more wise to let them compound and buy more shares.
The other day I was looking back 8 years at an overview of one of my investment accounts and was analyzing what I contributed, what was compounded, and what was matched. Combined with great stock gains in the S&P 500 over the last 10 years, it resulted in a tripling of net worth. Ask yourself how you can harness the powerful investment trifecta, be like Aquaman and rule the high Seas!
7. Be Positive AND MANAGE EMOTIONS!
Attitude and habits are the keystones to building substantial wealth. We live during an exciting and tremendous time. We have many opportunities that our ancestors could not even dream of. Let’s seize the moment and harness the opportunities before us. Perhaps we can add value, do some good in the world, spread some love and live a life of True Wealth.