Want to Be a Millionaire? 10 Dumb Mistakes Keeping You From Your First $1 Million

Piles of money from AMC's Breaking Bad

Piles of money from AMC’s Breaking Bad | AMC

How much money is in your bank account right now? If you’re like the average American, it’s probably not much more than $4,000. When you take that amount, and add in the value of your retirement and savings accounts, as well as your investments like vehicles or properties — what does your tally come to?

Chances are, it’s not quite the $1 million (or more) you’d like to have. Though there are a record 10.4 million households in the United States worth $1 million or more, those make up only about 8.3% of all American households in the country.

Of course, we have to acknowledge that the wage gap, stagnant paychecks, and lingering effects from the Great Recession can be debilitating. However, in other cases, you can be your own worst enemy when it comes to reaching that $1 million milestone.

John Rampton, a contributor for Entrepreneur, wrote that he’s seen $1 million in his bank account on three separate occasions. “Becoming a millionaire isn’t as far-fetched as you would believe. With dedication, patience and focus, becoming a millionaire is completely obtainable. If I can do it, anyone can,” he writes.

If you’re looking to see a million dollars in your own account — or at least want to get a little closer to that — here are 10 mistakes to avoid. No. 9 is perhaps the most paralyzing mistake.

1. Thinking it’s not possible at all

American dollar bills

A pile of one hundred dollar bills | iStock.com/halduns

As Rampton alludes to, you might write off the possibility of being a millionaire right off the bat. But don’t do that just because it seems unattainable at first. For instance, if your goal is to reach a million dollars by the time you retire, several online calculators can show you exactly how much money you need to save to get there. If you start early, it might not be as much as you think, thanks to compounding interest that helps your money grow.

For example, Bankrate’s retirement calculator shows that if you currently make $40,000 a year, and are able to contribute 15% of your paycheck toward your 401(k) with some employer matching, you’ll have over a million dollars after 35 years. In that case, you can start saving that amount when you’re 30, and retire at 65 with seven figures in your 401(k) alone. Even if you can’t put that percentage aside each month, other good investments and saving habits could get you to that $1 million mark with some discipline.

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