A million dollars can mean a lot of different things, depending on how you look at it. It wasn’t so long ago that the concept of it was a dazzling one symbolizing achievement, wealth and luxury. Now, though, with the ranks of billionaires climbing and inflation killing the value of a dollar, a million bucks today is not only becoming more common but, according to some, more necessary.
“It used to be a big deal to become a millionaire. Today, it’s almost a necessity if you want to retire with any dignity at all,” said Derek Sall, founder of Life and My Finances. He points out that with inflation factored in at a rate of just 4%, someone who makes $70,000 annually will need to make $140,000 to live the same quality of life in 20 years.
The value of a million dollars can also vary depending on factors such as location, lifestyle, inflation and how long you need to fund your retirement, said Brittany Kline of The Savvy Couple. “A million may go further in a lower-cost-of-living area than in a high-cost-of-living city,” Kline said. “This is why it’s important to set realistic financial goals and assess one’s needs and aspirations before attaching a specific number to them. A good rule of thumb to get a general number you can retire on is take your yearly living expenses times 25.”
Jesse Cramer, founder of The Best Interest, only considers a million to be legitimate if it’s excess dollars. “That’s money that you don’t need to spend or choose not to spend,” he said, and building excess dollars happens in two ways: spending less and earning more.
How might you achieve both of those goals? Check out these simple moves from our money pros that could put you on the road to seven figures of extra money.
Invest In the Market
A consistent favorite among financial pros, investing your money can be one of the most effective ways to grow wealth.
Vincent Birardi, CFP and wealth advisor at Halbert Hargrove, said that now is a great time to invest in money market accounts. “Annual interest rates have perked up in recent months in line with actions taken by the Federal Reserve,” he said. “You can find fully liquid money market accounts paying over 4% annually and affording $250,000 in FDIC insurance per individual account.”
GOBankingRates regularly rounds up the top money market accounts each month, so you can easily find the highest-yielding accounts and their minimum balances. Birardi also suggests cash management programs like Flourish Cash or MaxMyInterest that help track and optimize cash investments across your accounts.
Reduce Your Debt
Carrying debt, especially on high-interest cards, is an avoidable and unnecessary expense that diverts money from more important priorities. “Paying off high-interest debt, such as credit card balances, can free up money to save and invest,” Kline said. “By avoiding or minimizing debt, one can keep more of their money and build wealth faster.”