How to Make a Million Dollars Through Investment (and Other Ventures)

If you’re set on the idea of earning a million dollars, there are likely tons of people out there telling you that your goal is unattainable.

They’re wrong.

Making a million dollars is feasible as long as you know what you’re doing and have a plan on how to get there. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the following methods and tips on how to earn a million dollars.

Save Your Money

Image via Flickr by kenteegardin

Do you want to earn a million dollars without putting very much extra work into it? Then cut back on your spending habits and put your cash in the bank. If you simply put $5 in a bank account each day with 10 percent interest, you’ll have a million dollars after 42 years. Want to make it quicker? Save even more money.

This tip isn’t all about putting your money in the bank, however. You have to live a frugal life, and most people who succeed at this live below their means. Drive used cars, cut coupons, watch for sales, skip cable, forget the morning coffee — following these frugal tips can help you save to your first million.

Invest in the Stock Market

The stock market could help you earn dollars without stashing it all away. Instead of just saving it, you’re making it.

If you start out with $5,000 and invest $500 per month, perhaps your goal isn’t that far-fetched. If you average 10 percent annual yields, you could reach your goal in 29 years. That’s not a bad retirement fund.

If you do choose to invest in the stock market, it’s a good idea to head to an investment agency such as Fisher Investments to help you manage your portfolio.

Invest in Real Estate

Image via Flickr by Philip Taylor PT

There are many options that you have for making money in real estate, and each method could put you on your way to your first million. Check out these ways you can make money with real estate:

  1. You can purchase homes, fix them up, and make profit by reselling them.
  2. You can rent out your property. You can expect as much as 8 percent annual returns on rent.
  3. Make profits from business ventures that take place on the property, such as farming or mining.

Start a Business

In the book The Millionaire Next Door, the authors state that most millionaires lead normal lives, not the fancy life you see portrayed by Hollywood. The authors outlined several characteristics that they noticed most millionaires share. Among these characteristics, the authors found that most millionaires own their own business and they love what they do.

Don’t jump the gun just yet and believe that this is a get-rich-quick scheme. You can’t just start a business and expect things to run smoothly while watching the profits roll in. There’s a few things you need first:

  • A really good idea
  • A strong business plan
  • A profitable market
  • Money to invest in the business

When starting a business, you can sell products, services, or consultation services, and you can work in a physical location or have a business based online. If you really want to cash in, the secret lies in launching a successful startup and selling your business.

Become an Expert

Image via Flickr by Pete Prodoehl

If you’re really set on your goal of a million dollars, you can quickly claim this by becoming an expert in your field of interest. Invest in your education, take advantage of opportunities, and learn as much as you can.

Once you become an expert, you can charge for consultation services, sell books, give speeches, sell advertising slots on your website, and hold leadership positions. As you do this, you’ll see your income rise.

Before you’re ready to jump into your studies, let’s explore a few tips that can help you earn via this method:

  1. People have to like you. Make sure you practice your public speaking skills.
  2. To make any money, you must have something important to say. If you’re consulting, writing books, or hosting seminars, your success depends on the amount of people who are willing to listen. Again, you’ll only make money advertising on your website if you have people coming to the site interested in your content.
  3. You better make sure you are an expert. A degree doesn’t necessarily make you an expert. Do research and get involved in your field.

If you’re motivated and willing to put in the time, a million dollars isn’t an unrealistic goal. So stop letting people tell you that you’ll never make it! These few suggestions can help make you a millionaire.

Extreme Couponing: Fad or Lifestyle

Ever since TLC decided that it would make for good reality television to follow around a bunch of folks who use coupons and dub them “Extreme Couponers”, there’s been a ton of talk about the people on the show, and people like them.  People who spend hours each day clipping coupons and then checking them against store fliers all so they can create spreadsheets and action plans on how to best use the coupons in order to pay the least amount of money for whatever it is that they are buying.

So far, I’ve avoided talking about these people.  I figure it’s about time that I make my thoughts known.  What kind of personal finance site would Beating Broke be if we didn’t talk about one of the hottest topics in the personal finance world.  My immediate take upon watching an episode of the show was that the people on it are a bit OCD.  I like my money, and I’d rather not part with it if I don’t have to, but not so badly that I’m going to buy several hundred tubes of toothpaste.  Or several hundred of anything for that matter.  I also don’t buy the “I saved $xxx” argument.  If you hadn’t gone to the store in the first place, you would have saved every penny you spent.

Coupons can play a somewhat important role in your shopping.  But, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as all that.  My wife, for instance, is on a coupon train that Extreme Couponing: Getting ready for my big shopping trip!she joined through Swapmamas.  Every week or so, she gets a big envelope that’s bursting at the seam with coupons that the person who sent them to her just couldn’t use.  She’ll sort through them while we’re watching T.V. or lying in bed at the end of the day.  She carries the ones she keeps in a nice little accordion pocket organizer that she bought for that reason, then sends the rest off to the next person on the train.  When we go shopping, we try to make a list and she’ll take 10-15 minutes to flip through the coupons to see if we have any that we can use.  We don’t get results like the folks on that show, but it’s not out of the ordinary to save anywhere from 5% to 20% on any given trip.  On stuff we were going to buy anyways.

Extreme couponing has become a bit of a fad.  People are watching shows like the one on TLC and thinking they can do the same thing.  Some of them are going to less than honest means to achieve those goals and are stealing papers from dispensers just to get to the valuable coupons in the inserts.  When you have to steal to save your money, you really need to draw that line and get some help.  Done right, couponing can be something that is hardly intrusive at all, and that can save you some money.  Done right, it can become a bit of a lifestyle.

Some say they just don’t have the time to use coupons, but I think they have a somewhat distorted view of the time involved.  It doesn’t have to be time consuming, and the returns can be rewarding.  Give it a try.  Next thing you know, you’ll be buying two of those Sunday papers.

photo credit: bargainbri

Originally published on 8/15/2011

Choosing Your Next Bank

In the last five years or so, the banking industry has seen some major changes.  Interest rates have plummeted. We’ve had at least one recession, and a recovery of sorts.  The stock market has dropped like a rock and soared like an eagle.  We’ve also seen the rise of online banks become a new-fangled curiosity to something that most of us accept as a standard.

Online banks have made it normal to have services like bill-pay, electronic deposit, and easy to use online account management.  They’ve also put the pressure on traditional brick and mortar institutions to revamp their services, lower their fees, and offer more for their users.  But, they’ve also made it more difficult to decide on a bank.  No longer do we just pick the best one of a handful in our town, or the one that mom and dad used to use.  They’ve increased our selection, and made the decision a tad bit more difficult.  So, how do we go about selecting our next bank?

Bank Location

Choosing Your Next BankEven in our super digital world, where our physical locations are becoming less and less likely to matter, the location of your bank might make a difference to you.  You might like the ability to walk into a branch of your bank and make a deposit, or talk to someone face to face.  You might just like the security of knowing that you have that ability should you really need it.

When you’re choosing your next bank, you really need to decide if having a local branch available to you is something that is important, or if it’s just something that might be nice.  If it’s important, you’ll want to take most of the online banks off the list of eligible institutions right away.  If it just might be nice, you can leave them on the list.

Bank Fees

There’s been a lot of talk about bank fees, hidden fees, and transaction fees lately.  After the most recent housing market crash, and the new legislation on credit card transaction fees, many banks are trying to find new innovative ways of recouping the costs.  They’re getting creative with their fees, and their fee structures.  It should go without saying that you can have the best bank in the world, with all the shiny services, but if they’re adding on fees all over the place, they just aren’t that great.

When you’re choosing your next bank, take a close look at their fees and fees structure.  Does their checking/savings account have a monthly fee if you’re inactive?  Does it have other monthly fees for services?  Are the fees they have significantly higher than what other institutions charge?  Fees that you don’t, or won’t, end up being charged might not seem all that important, but they can be an indicator of the future of the institutions fee structure.  Be sure to make note of, or cross off entirely, any bank that has a difficult to understand fee schedule, or higher than average fees.

Bank Services

Here’s where you can usually weed the really bad ones out.  Maybe they have all the right locations, a huge ATM network, and better than average fees.  All of that will be somewhat useless if they don’t have all the services that you want.  Find out what services they offer.

When choosing your next bank, be sure to check to make sure what services they offer.  Make a list of services that you must have.  Bill-Pay would be top of that list for me.  If it’s an online bank, having some way of depositing checks electronically through an app on your phone might be high up on the list.  Does their debit card offer cash back?  Do they offer any rewards?  What other perks does the account have?  What perks would you like it to have?  The truly analytically minded out there, like me, might just choose to use a spreadsheet to tick off what each candidate has, and use it to compare.

There are plenty of choices out there.  Decide on what it is that you want in a bank, and then go about finding one that offers it all.  Chances are that you’ll find it.  For me, I’m still using the Capital One 360 (used to be ING Direct) account I opened up years ago.  I like that it’s easy to use, super simple to create sub accounts for categorization, and has very few fees.  I’m also a fan of Ally bank, but their login process seems to lock me out about every third or fourth time I try and login.  That’s not very convenient for me. :(  But, their rates are usually up there with the highest and their customer service is top notch.  If you’re better at remembering your password than I am, they’re a good option as well.  I’ve also heard good things about Perkstreet (2% cash back debit), and USAA, but haven’t used either to verify.

Here are some banks offering some great rates for online savings (rates are accurate as of 9/23/2013):

I know there are plenty of other options that others rave about all the time. What is your favorite bank?  What qualifications do you look for in a bank?

This post was first published in June 2013, but is being republished today, with updates (Perkstreet is closing, and rates updates)