It doesn’t matter how old you are or your current financial situation — anyone can become a millionaire.
So whether you’re a student who wants to know how to become a millionaire by 30, or someone older looking to reach seven-figure status in time for early retirement, take some relief in knowing that it can be achieved with financial discipline and investment sense.
Besides winning the lottery overnight, starting a successful business or moving into a wildly well-paid job, learning how to become a millionaire in the UK is largely about saving and investment over the long term.
According to Sarah Stanley Fallaw, the director of research for the Affluent Market Institute and author of the book "The Next Millionaire Next Door: Enduring Strategies for Building Wealth," millionaires have six notable attributes and behaviours that help them build and maintain wealth, regardless of age or income. Here’s the breakdown, with tips on how you too can adopt them.
Save more, spend less. This is a mantra to live by if you want to become a millionaire. By saving a large portion of income you free yourself from a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle and can start to save for investment. Even millionaires often live and spend comfortably below their means. In fact, 50% of millionaires budget and consider themselves frugal, according to Fallaw.
Most people in the UK could do more to increase their savings and cut costs. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average weekly household expenditure on goods and services is at the highest since 2005, after adjusting for inflation. And the households’ savings ratio is at an all time low: 3.9%.
Tip: For those just starting to save and kill debt, focus on keeping housing, food and transportation costs low. Even if you can afford it, choose a rent or mortgage that doesn’t take much of your income. Take public transport, bike and walk when possible. Buy a second-hand car if you need one. Cook at home. Practice self-control and avoid the temptation to blow your savings on trips, take-away meals and shopping sprees.
Together, these frugal habits help you build up savings for investment.
Time is money. So do as millionaires do and spend your time wisely by studying and developing a written financial plan. These steps help build confidence around money management and investing.
Tip: If you haven’t already, you can start learning basic financial-literacy and advance your understanding over time by reading finance and business newspapers and magazines, listening to financial advice podcasts, watching videos online, and seeking advice from experts. You can also take some online financial education courses, such as free classes offered by The Open University and The Money Charity.
Many millionaires invest in real estate, but they also invest in financial markets, particularly in low-cost index funds like Vanguard. You can learn about trading and investing with online brokerage platforms like Freetrade, Revolut or eToro, which cater to those on a learning curve with low commission costs.
Your financial journey towards millionaire status won’t always be a smooth ride. But Fallaw says millionaires are more likely to take personal responsibility for the outcomes of their financial choices—for better or worse.
Tip: If you want to take responsibility for your financial choices, you can start by arming yourself with data. The Money Dashboard app provides an overview of your income and spending habits across accounts, categorises spending into categories like ‘bills’ or ‘entertainment’, and helps create budgets and monitor progress towards goals.
Becoming a millionaire fast requires planning. Almost all millionaires surveyed by Chris Hogan, author of "Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth — and How You Can Too," said they develop a long-term plan for their money and achieve the financial goals they set for themselves.
And millionaires aren’t just saving—they plan their investments to create multiple income streams that help them exponentially grow their wealth. Fallaw says many millionaires do this through investments in real-estate, but also by taking on a side-hustle, even turning hobbies into income.
Tip: To help you plan and achieve your financial goals, Money Dashboard offers a ‘Planner’ feature, which enables you to predict future financial balances under a number of test scenarios, such as having a baby, lowering rent, or biking to work.
And it’s always wise to seek professional guidance. Consider speaking with a registered financial planner or financial advisor for help developing a realistic financial plan. Contrary to popular belief, their services are not only for the wealthy. Anyone and everyone can benefit from professional advice. You can seek out free money advice services supported by the government, or find independent advisors at unbiased.co.uk and findanadviser.org. You can also learn more about getting financial advice at Citizen’s Advice.
Focus & Social indifference
Try not to get distracted from your plan. It seems obvious, but fiscal discipline can be difficult to maintain. At times, this can mean sacrifices in the name of frugality and achieving your goals.
Millionaires are excellent at staying focused and indifferent. Both Hogan and Fallaw found that millionaires don’t necessarily follow the crowd and they don’t worry too much about going off trend, or about acquiring the latest and greatest things. They ignore criticism and will even build new social circles that align with their priorities.
Tip: If you want to become a millionaire in 10 years, remember that automating contributions from your income into savings and investments is not only one of the best ways to build savings, but it can help reduce the temptation to spend. Most banks make it very easy to set up a standing order to transfer money directly into a saving or investment account.
Hit the books
Here’s a bonus tip. Put down the phone, disconnect from social media and read more books. According to Fallaw, millionaires spend about 5.5 hours reading per week for pleasure.
Looking for “how to become a millionaire” books for your shelf? According to the personal finance blog ESI Money, millionaires say these seven books most impacted them when they were learning about personal finance: