How to Retire a Millionaire

These steps will help you enter retirement with $1 million or more in the bank.

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I'm going to share a little secret with you. I know how to become a millionaire. I'm not talking about the next big stock tip, winning the lottery, or signing a million dollar sports contract. I'm talking about how you can become a millionaire. In principle, it's easy. Here is how anyone can become a millionaire.

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Don't be a slave to a lender. No one ever borrowed their way to wealth. If you want to become a millionaire you need to kick debt to the curb like it's a bad habit —because it is. Compound interest is an amazing force when it is working for you. But when debt works against you, look out.

Make it a point to pay off your debt as quickly as you can. Pay your credit cards in full each month, refinance your mortgage to a lower rate if you can, and pay extra on car payments or other bills. If you have a good credit score you can transfer your credit card balance to a 0 percent interest credit card and save hundreds on interest payments. The money you save by repaying your debt early can then be used toward a greater purpose—financial freedom.

[See How to Play Defense with Retirement Savings.]

Think like a millionaire. It’s common to try to spend less than you earn. But if you want to become a millionaire, you need to think like a millionaire. Try this phrase instead: earn more than you spend. The difference is subtle, but powerful. Earning more than you spend makes this statement proactive. To become a millionaire you need to be proactive.

Invest for growth. Investing is the premier method for building wealth. The eventual goal is to reach the point where your investments earn more money for you than your day job. But until you get there, you need to feed your investments. Take advantage of any tax breaks you can find, especially your employer sponsored retirement plan, Roth IRAs, and other retirement accounts with tax advantages. If you are maxing out your retirement plans, begin making contributions to other investments. Here are some beginner investment strategies.

[See A Simple Way to Become Wealthy.]

Add time. You’re unlikely to become a millionaire overnight. Becoming a millionaire is a process that takes years and maybe even decades to achieve. But it is a dream well worth chasing.

Ryan Guina is a U.S. military veteran, writer, and professional in the corporate world. He blogs at Cash Money Life and The Military Wallet.