How to save $1 million, according to the experts

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There’s a difference between having $US1 million and saving $US1 million.

These days, many people can say they have $US1 million, at least if you’re asking them about the value of their assets. Reaching the million-dollar milestone often involves real estate inflation, stock market performance, or other factors that don’t necessarily translate to tangible wealth.

On the other hand, it’s a smaller group of people who can say they have who have actually saved $US1 million. That takes patience, hard work, and sacrifice.

We asked experts their best advice for saving $US1 million – here’s what they had to say.


Start early

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Mark Bell-Berry, a mortgage advisor with Chalfont Investment Consultants, said starting early is key to saving $US1 million.

“Even when you are just saving for a mortgage deposit, be prepared to make those early sacrifices,” he told Business Insider. “Curtail excessive lifestyle choices. Learn to live frugally, as much as you can bear. This will bear fruits later on, both in terms of reduced repayments and fewer years doing it.”

The attraction of paying off your mortgage as soon as possible is obvious, but Bell-Berry pointed out the advantages of keeping it going while investing in other long-term schemes.

“The repayment will eventually finish,” he said. “So assuming your rate of repayment is manageable, using available funds elsewhere will spread your chances of a heightened return, in addition to owning your property.”


Follow the 10-10-10-70 rule

While self-made millionaires are often assumed to be self-starters, it is possible to get rich on someone else’s clock.

Jeff Lestz is now the CEO of his own company Genistar, but he made his first $US1 milion when he was 31, six years after he started working for a large financial services firm.

He said to save up that much money, he followed what he called the 10-10-10-70 rule of spending.

For every paycheck he earned during those years, he gave 10% to charity, saved 10% in a short-term easy-access fund, invested 10% in a long-term plan that was locked in until he was 60, and learned to live on the remaining 70%, including all mortgage payments, taxes and insurance.

“It’s not what you make – it’s what you keep,” he told Business Insider.


Maintain good habits

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In addition, every time Lestz got a pay raise, he maintained exactly the same level of expenditure as he did before, and put away the difference.

“It’s human nature to increase your outgoings as soon as your income goes up,” he told Business Insider. “But it’s actually much easier than you realise not to, because you don’t have to make any changes or sacrifices to your lifestyle. It’s simply a question of habit.”


Get in early on good opportunities

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Apart from rock stars and pro athletes, self-made millionaires are often those who have spotted opportunities others have missed and getting in early.

“These endeavours are usually risky and many fail, so you have to be prepared to take these risks, carry the losses and bounce back with new ideas,” Felix Eaton, an entrepreneur-turned-inventor, told Business Insider.

“Also, believe in the product or service you’re offering. Believe to a ridiculous degree, particularly if you’ll need to persuade others to back your ideas.”

Eaton said it’s all about your mindset.

“If you believe your product is viable, you’re prepared to risk losing your investment, the financial loss is something you can recover from, what have you to lose?” he said.


Follow your hunches

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For Eaton, it doesn’t stop with that initial leap of faith.

“Repeated new investment in new ideas and products will grow your abilities and wealth,” he said.

“Of course, your good decisions have to outweigh the failures, at least in financial terms. That is where the constant need to gamble on your hunches will separate the millionaires from the billionaires – and also the bankrupt.”

“There is a lot of luck involved, but luck favours those trying to break the mould.”

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