Becoming a millionaire is not as profound as it used to be thanks to rocketing property prices. But for a lot of people, a million pounds seems like the kind of milestone where you know you’ll be able to live comfortably.
Given the average cost of a house in London there are clearly a lot of millionaires out there. How hard can it be to become a millionaire UK?
Cultivating A Wealth Mindset
But before we dive into the actual methods of becoming a millionaire, we have to consider something much more important.
Why do you want to become a rich person? And what does being rich mean to you? What drove you to ask how to become a millionaire UK?
Many of us hold an easy but dangerous idea that money will solve all our problems. And to an extent that is true. A million pounds would mean we would probably never have to get up early and go to a job we don’t like that affects our mental health and keeps us away from our priorities – family, travel, art, athletics.
But equally, a lot of our problems that we think can be solved with money really can’t. And if you devote years of your life to acquiring more money, you may then find you are still not fulfilled when you do reach a million.
This is the difference between being rich and being wealthy.
No one wants to be the richest person in the graveyard. So before you focus on how to become rich, think about how to become wealthy. What are your real long-term goals? Who are you as a person? If you had only two weeks to live what would you do with that time? Now focus on making those priorities feature more in your every day life.
There are professions out there that pay huge sums of money – investment banking, corporate law, consulting and many more. But are these people actually happy?
A common issue with people who earn so much money is they then get used to the income and can’t escape it. Their needs expand to fill the opportunities available, creating lives that are just as complex as if they were not rich. You know “overheard in Waitrose” as a laugh at the petty complaints of the rich, but its entirely true.
People with nothing can be very happy. People with everything can be very miserable. Start now and do the mental work to make sure that when you gain more money, your focus and priorities are still where they need to be. Plenty of your goals and aspirations can be achieved now without an abundance of money.
If what you value fixates on constantly buying new things – you won’t be happy. Think of luxury cars. You buy your favourite and six months later they bring out a new one. Your friend buys the same one you did for a lot less. You feel crap.
These are our most primitive instincts from hunting and gathering and living in caves – status, hoarding, social acceptance. In the modern age these are pointless as we live in a world of abundance. When you accept that you will be unstoppable, and ironically the byproduct of your newfound rejection of what doesn’t matter is likely to be abundant wealth.
Aside from getting your mind in the right gear to have a happy life while also accumulating wealth, saving money is essential.
You might wonder how saving a few pounds here and there is how you become a rich person. But cash is your ammunition. All forms of investment rely on some sort of initial investment which is nearly always cash. Cash is simply our chosen currency to transfer value which makes it very efficient.
Right away, focus on essentials. If you have any debt then make sure you pay it off. Student debt is the exception as UK student loans are structured very favourably in a way that means most students won’t pay them back in full and then the loan is cancelled. You have to be earning more than £25,000 and then the repayment is calculated from the amount you are over that threshold.
But if you are paying 20% on a credit card then you need to pay that down as soon as possible, which comes back to focusing on essentials. Set up a direct debit so your credit card gets paid off automatically every month. Set the payment date right after pay day so you don’t feel tempted to spend when you have lots of money in your current account.
Look at your expenses and work out what you can eliminate. There are many apps that can bring all your accounts together and categorise your transactions. Otherwise its a case of putting all your expenses into a spreadsheet. This is easier than ever now so many payments are digital so you can just download all your spending from your online bank account or credit card.
This practice alone will make you a better saver because it will make you aware of what you are spending. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
Here’s a slightly annoying tip – an easy shortcut is nearly always alcohol. There are various ways round this that mean you can still drink which you can have fun working out. Personally I would advocate that as drunkeness increases so do wasteful expenses. So have a few glasses of wine or beer but don’t get drawn into shots at the end of the night.
Takeaways and dining out are another classic (ok, boomer). If you’re looking to really hone your mind to be both more mindful and focused (see above) then I recommend a diet that is largely protein (beans, whole meat, legumes) alongside some vegetables and costs hardly anything. Buy a week’s worth at once to save time and control costs.
A Pret baguette will keep you chasing the glucose dragon resulting in sleepy afternoons as you digest carbohydrate and then turn to sugary snacks.
Now a crucial part of budgeting relates to time, especially if you are looking at side businesses and entrepreneurship. Most budgeting exercises are intended to save money and cost time. But if you have a side project that means your time is precious then you can make educated choices about what constitutes a fair exchange of time for money.
Master Your Time
You should also focus on the value of your time. This is very important, as time is the only thing we can’t get back. Of course with enough money you can buy other people’s time to save your own, but you can’t buy yourself more time.
Many people don’t assign any particular value to their time because they work for a living. They work for a set number of hours for their paycheck and then the rest of the time is free. They are not productive.
If you really want to become a millionaire, it is important that you understand that you need to be a creator and an owner rather than a consumer. You can totally work hard, increase your salary and become a millionaire that way, but that also requires an understanding of time value.
The easier and faster way to becoming rich is to be an entrepreneur and create something that gives value to others. It is very difficult to get rich by exchanging your time for money because you have no leverage. Your employer pays you for the tasks you complete in that time.
That’s very inefficient. To become a millionaire you need people and/or processes working for you that make you money even while you’re asleep.
Now most people have the classic predicament of having either time or money but not both. That’s at the start of your wealth building journey and it is hard to build momentum.
For a start, work on efficiency. There are some classic principles you should learn here – the Pareto Principle states that 80% of results come from 20% of input. In short that means work out what uses of your time generate the most results. Eliminate as much of the rest as you can. Social media, pointless web surfing, answering emails – remove as much as you can and reduce the rest.
Then there’s Parkinson’s Law that dictates that work expands to fill the time allowed for it. Ever noticed how the modern work culture seems to be about padding everything out – let’s have a meeting next week to discuss it, mock it up for me and I’ll review it, we’re waiting to hear back from so and so. If you set tight deadlines, work tends to get done.
These two principles are key for success as an entrepreneur when you have to lift heaven and earth to get something off the ground. But they are also extraordinarily important in improving your day job if you are focused on staying employed.
Employment can be financially and ideologically challenging if you’re looking to get rich and own your time. But if you are just starting out then probably all you have is your time to exchange for money, and there’s no reason this can’t be lucrative and fulfilling at the same time when needs must.
Indeed your first years of employment could easily be the source of inspiration for future entrepreneurial projects both through developing your own skills as well as seeing the inefficiencies and opportunities of bigger businesses.
When you start in the morning, focus on your top productive priorities. Don’t check your emails until they are done. This alone will could easily double your productivity.
There’s a good chance this will result in interference if you have a micromanager. If possible try to manage upward and make sure it is clear that your priorities are their priorities too. Show how what you are doing will benefit them more than replying to that pointless email right away.
Once you have mastered your income and your budgeting so as to allow a saving every month, it is time to consider investing.
As mentioned repeatedly, you are very unlikely to get rich from your salary alone – exchanging your time for money. You need to make your money work for you.
Now investing obviously carries a lot of risk. The good news is that if you’re just at the start of your career you can stand a lot of risk. Make sure you have enough savings to last 3 – 6 months of expenses in cash.
Picture a complete market collapse – your share portfolio that was up 20% is now down 95%. How do you react? To sell now would mean taking that loss, whereas if you can wait there is a good chance it will recover. You therefore need a safe pile of cash to keep you going should the worst happen.
How you account for this depends on your attitude. You could base it off just your basics like rent and bills, but it is probably a good idea to include some fun money like Netflix and drinks. If your portfolio tanks then the chances are you don’t want to be scrimping at home in your underpants.
Now when it comes to choosing your investments I can’t tell you what to invest in. That would be illegal and unethical because I don’t know when you will be reading this and what your financial situation is. Your capital is at risk and you could end up less money than you started with and so you should get qualified financial advice if unsure.
But with that general disclaimer, there are broader investment principles I can explain.
Obviously you need to choose an investment platform. Overall I would prioritise low costs as a lot of traditional brokers like Hargreaves Lansdown charge large transaction fees. Technology has enabled a lot of fintech startups to make investing much cheaper.
Personally I use Freetrade. But there are a wealth of other options like AJ Bell and Interactive Investor. You could also consider a robo-advisor like Wealthify or Nutmeg.
In terms of approach, I would recommend a very passive investment strategy. Personally I do enjoy picking individual stocks and following my portfolio. But this is a bad habit I am trying to beat. It takes a lot of time and attention. The wins are great and the losses are painful. But crucially statistics show that 95% of professional fund managers fail to consistently beat the market.
If they can’t beat the market then what hope have you got?
Aim to match the market – and that can be achieved easily with index trackers that simply follow the FTSE 100 or S&P500, even the NASDAQ if you want to be more tech-focused. And while a fund manager will charge high fees to ultimately fail to beat the market, index trackers charge very low fees of a mere fraction of a percent.
Find a Muse
Once you have optimised your mindset, career prospects and savings, the next level up is creating your own independent income.
Warren Buffett himself recommends having multiple streams of income so that your wealth grows significantly in good times while you also have backup in bad times. For instance, if you lose your job or the stock market collapses.
Tim Ferriss is a highly successful entrepreneur, podcaster, author and angel investor. In his bestselling work The Four Hour Work Week he advises creating a side hustle – not so much as a scalable business but more of a simple cash flow system.
The goal is to create something that will give you sustained income with minimal time investment. This is something that I and many other internet entrepreneurs have come to value.
Ferriss’ book is now more than 10 years old and the ecommerce landscape has certainly changed. He recommends trying info products like ebooks and physical products. These are probably quite dated ideas – especially as he recommended getting traffic from Google Ads which are now much more competitive and expensive.
But the overall principle remains the same. Find an idea that requires minimum time investment from you. Once you have the process in place you can then outsource that to an assistant abroad quite cheaply.
That might seem like free money, and to an extent it is. But what you are doing is making an upfront investment of time and money in order to create a system that returns many times that investment over time.
For instance, if you produced print on demand t-shirts for a niche market on Etsy then the business itself is quite hands-off. You produce the design (or hire someone on Fiverr), find a way of marketing the products cost effectively, and then hire a virtual assistant to manage customer service while your print on demand provider handles all the logistics.
That’s a total oversimplification. I know because I have tried that exact principle and haven’t yet found a way to get a profit after spending on ads. But I have other similar projects that are working well.
Again, remember that a muse business is not something you immediately need to build a team to support and hire an office.
Read around businesses like Fulfillment by Amazon – where you design a product, get it manufactured on Alibaba and then Amazon will handle warehousing and delivery.
Another is dropshipping, which is very popular and seems to work for plenty of people but I don’t really like how most people do it.
Then there’s Kindle Direct Publishing and affiliate marketing. There are a million ways to make a million pounds. For inspiration look at a business broker like Empire Flippers.
All you have to do is make £1 off a million people. Or £10 off 100,000 people. Or £100 off 10,000 people.
But here’s another great hack. Online businesses – particularly muse businesses with little ongoing work involved – are typically valued at about 30 times their monthly profit. So to sell your business for £1 million you only have to be making £33,333 per month. So roughly £1000.
That’s no small task – but we are talking about hitting the big £1 million.
In reality, you can totally keep working your way up the career ladder while growing your business. That means you keep earning and investing while your business grows – and online businesses really do take off with enough time and effort. It’s usually much easier to sell to repeat customers so once you have a solid email list that will also give you opportunities to sell new and higher value products.
If you reach a cap and feel you’ve maximised the revenue potential of that business you can sell it and then repeat the process with the windfall you receive.
What you do with your day job is up to you. Personally, I would say there is a big benefit to a side income that means you are not totally dependent on your boss. Ironically, you will probably find this makes you less of a “yes man” and a much more meaningful contributor to your employment with the confidence to challenge more and drive the business forward. Mentally, there is huge meaning in having the power to walk away when the job no longer serves you.
Many successful people argue that the only investment they would ever make is themselves. That’s because the markets are unpredictable and beyond their control, while new skills and learnings will last for life.
If you feel you are stuck in a career with limited growth potential, you may want to consider retraining. Similarly if your role is quite broad you may want to increase your value by niching down to a specialism.
I can’t possibly comment on your current career path and plans. But I can say that whatever it is, it is likely to change over time. Whether you stick with employment or forge your own path, your industry and businee model will be very different in 20 years. The ability to learn is therefore essential.
I don’t just mean reading a few blogs on LinkedIn about industry trends. I mean cultivating the ability to develop real expertise in a subject in a short time.
Cal Newport explains in his book Deep Work how our divided attention is causing us to severely limit our ability to learn. This can also be your advantage and how you leave competition behind. Deep Work is all about eliminating distractions and setting about to learn a new skill or complete a new project with intense, undivided attention over many hours.
I’ve found a fantastic method of expanding my mind massively over recent months. This is not the deep focus on a specialist skill that Newport recommends, although it is how I read his book. Download the Kindle app on your phone. Then, find some top authors in a field you would like to improve. I recommend both Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss who I have already mentioned as people who have published extensively on abundance. Then go to Amazon and download the free sample of any books you want to try.
You then have the potential for a very large library of concepts at your fingertips which you can read instead of social media – which, trust me, means you will consume huge amounts of information. If a particular book hooks you in then you can buy the full edition very cheaply and have it on you at all times. On the kindle app you can highlight key sentences and I often screenshot particularly meaningful quotes to come back to.
If nothing else this process will train you in disregarding social media and stretching your attention span back out so you can read and learn deeply. And with that broadened attention span you will also gain patience, and ultimately it is patience that with all these methods will pave the way for huge financial gains.