Becoming a Millionaire

There's no one way to become a millionaire, but there are some basic, common-sense steps that you can take toward reaching your million-dollar goal.

Set your goals

How soon do you want to be millionaire? In five years? In 10 years? By retirement? Whatever your timeframe, you need to have a written plan. Mapping out your road to millionaire status should include a carefully formed budget, as well as specific dollar amounts you're willing to contribute toward saving and investing. The more you'd like to save and invest, the more you'll need to rely on a budget that will manage and trim current expenses.

Determine your strategy

Now is the time to determine your moneymaking path, too. If you're going the entrepreneur route, you'll need more than just a good idea. The most successful business owners have networking, financial and strategic skills earned through experience and education -- or a mixture of both. A business plan is a first step to determining to mapping out your company goals. The Small Business Administration has a template you can download. We'll talk more about starting a business on a later page.

You could also consider gaining an education that will result in a lucrative career; a master's degree in business administration could lead to a CEO position with a million-dollar compensation package. Or you could aim for a career in medicine or law. Keep in mind, however, that this doesn't automatically mean you'll earn a million dollars. Family physicians, for example, earn far less than their counterparts who specialize in a particular field. A cardiologist earns an average of $442,000 a year, while a physician in family practice nets about $178,000 a year [source: Forbes].

Set up an emergency fund

You won't get very far on your road to becoming a millionaire if unexpected expenses get in the way. One of the first rules about managing your finances is to always have accessible cash in the event you're are laid off, injured or experience some other catastrophe that takes away your ability to earn a living. Recommendations vary, but usually the amount of an emergency fund should equal three to six months of living expenses.