7 Simple Ways to Make Your First Million

IMG_3684 (Because once you make your first million you’re bound to rejoice under a waterfall with a rainbow, right?)

If a million dollars’ worth of investments sounds unattainable, you haven’t done your research. A seven-figure portfolio is absolutely doable if you start saving early, make sane lifestyle choices and avoid some common psychological traps.

Don’t limit your thinking to making a mere million over your lifetime. Aim for $10 million. Your only way to get there is to educate yourself about investing from reliable, been-there sources. After that, make a plan and stick to it.

Start with a millionaire mindset.

Building wealth begins in the brain. There are some beliefs and behaviors that you simply must avoid – taking on consumer debt, keeping up with the Joneses, trying to take shortcuts or falling for get-rich-quick schemes. True wealth takes time and hard work.

Adopt a spendthrift lifestyle.

When millionaires are studied, they surprise researchers. They’re not living in upscale neighborhoods and driving fancy cars. They treat their income like a business: spending the least possible and investing the rest. It’s not unheard of for future millionaires to invest half of their household income.

Make money from your hobby.

If there’s something you could do all day, every day, do it. The trick is finding a way to make your passion into a profitable enterprise. You can expect to fail along the way, but getting back up to try again is what separates millionaires from middle managers. Don’t be afraid to spend hours and weekends on your “side business” – it might be your bread and butter someday.

Start saving right now.

It’s all about doing the math. Most millionaires invested in the stock market for a long time, reinvesting dividends and letting compound interest do all the work.

Find an online calculator and figure out how much you’ll need to invest each month to be a millionaire by the time you’re 60, assuming you’re earning an average 7 percent return. You might be surprised.

Keep cool and play the long game.

Impatience is the enemy of wealth. It makes people buy and sell too often, and it makes them abandon promising businesses that don’t explode into success overnight.

It takes a while for investments to start ballooning into real money, and even then, you’re going to want to leave them alone. If it were easy to run your own business, everyone would do it. So take a deep breath and realize you’ve got a long way to go.

Always be hustling for more income.

If you’re not a natural entrepreneur, consider investing in real estate. A rental property that will bring in more money than you pay to maintain it is a great investment. Do some research to figure out the up-and-coming neighborhoods in your area. The quicker you own your rental property outright, the quicker you’ll be looking at steeper profits.

Your 401(k) is your tax-free friend.

You might as well take advantage of the federal government’s wealth-building program: the 401(k) account. First, put in the maximum amount allowed by law ($18,000 a year as of 2016). Leave it in there, earning compound interest, and if your mutual funds return a 7 percent profit while you’re socking away that $18,000 a year, you’ll be a millionaire in 23 years. If you can’t afford to put away $18K a year, put away as much as possible.

Wild About Saving

Kids-Being-Crazy

Let your kids get wild this month. (About saving, that is.)

April is Youth Month, when credit unions look for ways to help kids learn about the value of a dollar. There are many ways to do this, but if you need some fresh ideas keep reading.

Give them examples they understand.

Our furry friends in nature are always busy setting some great examples for ways to get wild about saving. Squirrels for instance – the bushy-tailed savers spend months stockpiling mushrooms, acorns and tree cones for the winter. Deer mice construct intricate tunnel systems under the snow to hide their supplies of seeds. Beavers take the time, even during dam-building season, to gnaw down saplings of aspen and cottonwood for safekeeping in their ponds. If wild animals can do it, so can your little critters!

Make money part of the daily conversation.

When your little one asks for the toy of the moment, throws out food, or even plays with mommy’s purse, bring up the idea of finances in a non-threatening way. When children ask why you have to go to work every day, have an answer ready: “I would rather spend all day with you and Timmy, but going to work means we have money for this house, your dinner and all your toys.” Talk about money in ways that stresses its value as something to be earned, valued and conserved.

Incorporate games and books.

Monopoly is the classic board go-to for teaching kids about saving and investing, but it’s not the only game in town. Cashflow for Kids, The Game of Life and The Allowance Game are just three options among many that build money consciousness among children as young as 5, emphasizing responsibility and planning for real-life events.

Take them shopping.

Turn your weekly grocery trip into an educational experience. Start by having your kids make a list, broken down into “needs” and “wants” for the family. Put them in charge of coupons. At the store, challenge them to comparison-shop for prices among name brands and generic labels. Reward them by choosing between the “wants” on the list, so they’ll learn that spending less per item means better snacks down the road.

Set up an allowance system.

Some families keep allowances simple, with a set amount per week, while others create complex systems where kids can earn more by doing chores. The key is to be consistent about the rules while offering guidance. Smaller kids might need permission to break into their piggy banks, while middle-schoolers can be allowed more independence. Once they’re teens, make them responsible for budgeting their own gas, movie tickets and fashion statements.

Encourage them to set goals.

Kids are bombarded with images of stuff they suddenly really, really want. Talk to them about how long it will take them to save up for that blinking gadget or those talking boots, and they might reconsider. Or they could surprise you by faithfully socking away enough for their dream toy. Both possibilities are valuable learning experiences.

Let them make mistakes.

Don’t feel the need to step in every time your youngster blows his allowance on candy. It’s easier to learn hard lessons about money in kindergarten than college, where credit cards and emergency loans get financially inexperienced students in hot water.

 

Spending Freeze: Day 10

The long-awaited day 10 has arrived! Less than 24 hours left until you conquer the Freeze. Congratulations to all of you – truly awesome learnings, communication and effort. We’ll be posting the list of eligible participants for the drawing on Monday, and will inform the winner by Monday night.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl (or not)! You deserve it.

Day 10 prompt: Would you do the Freeze again? What did you like/dislike about the process? What could make the Freeze better in the future?

 

 

Spending Freeze: Day 7

Today marks the one-week point in our 10-day freeze. We love the support and collaboration happening among you all. Just a few more days! It sounds like there are many worthy projects, items and events the prize money could contribute to.

Day 7 prompt: If you win the $250 prize, what will you do with it?

(Aside from this of course)

Spending Freeze Challenge: Day 10

Congratulations! Provided that you don’t spend anything today, and you comment on the blog – you have completed the first (and hardest) part of the challenge.

Now, for the second part of the challenge, if you are on the eligible list of participants below please upload a photo to our Facebook page, under the tab ‘Spending Freeze Challenge.’ This link should take you there: https://www.facebook.com/MissouriCreditUnion/app_244041225639079

The photo can be of you, your family, or something to represent this challenge, but it must be your photo, and cannot have been used in a contest before. Click here read our complete list of rules.

Caption your photo with the biggest takeaway you’ve learned from this spending freeze. The photo with the most votes by Feb. 11 at 11:59 p.m. is the winner.

Please note, voters can vote only once. Not once a day or once per photo, but only once.

Eligible participants:

1.    psmcp5p
2.    Gina Overmann
3.    Wesley Hayes
4.    MacKenzie Bowden
5.    Breanna Elizabeth Dunnavant
6.    dmcdade03
7.    spatton99
8.    Hali Ipaye
9.    teacherofthe3rd
10.  Amanda Carothers/proudmama

Thanks and good luck!

Spending Freeze Challenge: Day 1

Welcome all Spending Freeze participants! Today is the first day of the challenge, and any sign-ups after today will not be accepted. Hopefully, you have planned out your meals and activities in order to avoid spending these next ten days. So settle in, get comfy and let us know how you plan to get the job done!

Per the rules, please post a comment to this specific blog post about your experience. It can be a sentence or two or a paragraph or two. The length is up to you. Below is a prompt to help you get started, but do not feel you need to post on this specific topic.

Thanks and good luck!

Day 1 prompt: What steps did you take in preparation for the Spending Freeze Challenge?

Keeping Your Credit Healthy

You eat fruits and vegetables to stay healthy and go to the gym to stay in shape. Having a credit card is no different and requires the same steady participation. Once you’ve established a line of credit, it’s your responsibility to stay actively involved. However, your diligence has its own rewards, such as lower APR rates and bonuses like cash back. Here are a few ways you can make sure your credit scores stay healthy.

Stay on It

Pay attention to what you’re spending. Too often, credit cards can feel like a free pass. Stay mindful of what and how much you purchase. When you get your statement, look it over and check for any inaccuracies to avoid being double-charged or becoming the victim of fraud (especially if you use your credit card for online shopping). Remember: you’re entitled to a free credit report once a year. Set a reminder on your calendar and stay informed.

Rethinking Repayment

A credit card isn’t for spending more than you earn. Think of your card as a 30-day loan that you need to pay back at the end of each month, and save accordingly. Of course, carrying a balance isn’t necessarily a bad thing but carrying a large balance can be. If you make a big purchase on your card, know how much you’ll need to repay each month to avoid additional interest charges.

Right on Time

One of the simplest and most effective ways you can keep your credit healthy is by making timely payments. Aside from hurting your credit score, the additional late fees can add up rapidly over the course of a year, costing you upwards of $300. For many, making more than one payment each month helps keep their credit in check, while helping sustain a steady cash flow for other expenses.

Thinking about opening a card or transferring a balance? Missouri Credit Union offers members a line of credit cards from Elan Credit Card Services. For more information, click here.