NEW YORK (MainStreet) How do you become a millionaire? There are many ways, of course, but to hear millionaires themselves tell it, saving is the most common path, beating out investments, inheritance or marrying a sugar daddy (or mama).
That's what PNC Financial Services Group found when it interviewed 923 millionaires last fall. The findings may prove heartening to ordinary folk seeking financial security, even if they don't attain millionaire status. It seems there's no magic formula, and saving is a technique available to anyone who's not living paycheck to paycheck.
Asked what "decision" had most influenced their financial success, 56% of those polled cited saving early and regularly. Next came controlling spending and good investment decisions (each named by 38%), followed by earning a lot of money (26%), inheriting (12%) and marrying someone with money (3%). (The figures add up to more than 100 because some millionaires credited more than one factor.)
Asked a slightly different question about the "influences" that helped them become millionaires, 65% said hard work, 16% said good decisions, 8% said discipline and 7% said luck.
These last findings might be taken with a grain of salt, as people like to attribute their success to personal virtues rather than luck. It's also worth remembering that being a millionaire isn't what it used to be. The super wealthy, as opposed to mere millionaires, might put starting a business or inventing a product above run-of-the-mill saving.
Still, the benefits of saving more each month are rooted in simple math. Using the Savings Goal Calculator, you can find two ways to accumulate $1 million over 30 years. With a 12% return, you could get there by saving $325 a month. But since 12% would be hard to achieve, you could also get there with an 8% return if you increased your monthly saving to $705.