How I Became An Accidental Millionaire
Spoiler Alert: I'm not a millionaire. Yet. But I will be one day. Let me tell you how.
When I was in my 20's, I started an automatic investment plan where 10% of my monthly income was put into a retirement account. My company didn't offer a 401K, so I used a financial advisor from Raymond James and we set up an IRA (individual retirement account). I didn't really know what I was doing, but I was familiar with the concept of compound interest and knew that the earlier I started saving, the bigger the financial snowball would become.
The key here is that the retirement plan was AUTOMATIC. The money was automatically pulled from my bank account every month. When I joined my new company, I rolled my IRA into my company's 401K plan (which offers a match - amazing) and stuck with my 10% investment. At this point, I'll retire in my 60's with well over $2 million dollars.
I know what you're thinking - you can barely live on your current income between bills, life, unexpected expenses, $20 cocktails... Trust me, I get it. I was making less than $30K/year when I started putting 10% of my pay into retirement. Money was already super tight, but here's what I said to myself:
"If you lost your job tomorrow and you were offered another job for 90% of the pay, could you take that job and maintain your lifestyle?" The answer was yes. So I started stashing 10% and didn't overthink it.
1) Does your company offer a 401K plan? If so, find out what the minimum contribution percentage is to get the full match (if your company offers a match) and at least do that. Try doing 10%. You can always change it to a lower percentage. But just try!
2) If your company doesn't offer a 401K plan, set up your own automatic investment plan through a company like TD Ameritrade or Schwab (check out this list here)
3) Set it and forget it! Set it up to be automatically deducted from your account each month and let it roll. Don't touch it. Period.
4) Sleep peacefully knowing you're building a nest egg for your future self and won't have to eat cat food when you retire (okay that was gross, but you get it).