How to Turn $100 into $1 Million

by James McKenna, Jeannine Glista, Matt Fontaine

Clock Icon 11 minute read
You’ll have a better chance of achieving the life you want if you have money. And that means you’ll need a plan, with financial goals.

Chapter 1:

Think Like a Millionaire

What do real millionaires look like? Are they tall, dark, and handsome? Some. Do they jet around the world, getting daily mani-pedis? Some. Do they drive a used car, live below their means, and stay under the radar? Most. Real millionaires come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, some of them may be hip, young movie stars, or Wall Street brokers, but not many. The simple truth is that millionaires are people who save money, not people who spend it.

Sure, that’s not as dramatic as the TV version of a millionaire, but it’s also awesome because it means that almost anyone can become one. Even you. Even if you’ve never saved a dollar in your life. Even if you think you are not smart enough to try. You are, and you can do it.


There actually is something you can start doing right now, and it’s as easy as putting on a pair of flip-flops: Begin working on your Million-Dollar Mind-Set (MDM).

Having a Million-Dollar Mind-Set, more than anything, is all about attitude. It means you commit to a financial goal of making a million bucks. We’re not talking about a half-baked commitment. We mean you really, truly commit. Like Dorothy-commited-to-finding-the-Emerald-City-so-she-could-get-back-home-to-Kansas kind of commitment. You decide that you can do this and that you are worthy of this. Because you are. Thinking like a millionaire means you commit to a goal and work to achieve the objective. You have to put yourself in the proper mind-set.

Ignore the Bling* and Do Your Own Thing

Right. Like all one has to do is think like a millionaire and poof, it happens. If it’s so simple, why isn’t everyone a millionaire? Because sticking to a financial plan over time can be pretty challenging. Everywhere you turn there’s something to spend your money on, making it seem like as soon as you do you’ll be happy, healthy, rich, popular, successful—whatever. It’s hard to resist temptation, especially when it seems like everyone else is buying the latest phone or game or gadget.

One big secret to becoming a millionaire is not buying the latest thing just because everyone else has. Thinking like a millionaire means you find ways to save money instead of constantly spending it. Sometimes that means wearing last year’s sneakers for one more year. Sometimes it means taking an extra shift at your job instead of going out with friends. It might even mean cooking ramen noodles instead of always going out for dinner.

“Bling” = any unnecessary accumulation of metal or jewelry that impresses the simpleminded.

Wait . . . There’s More!

Saving more and spending less is definitely part of the MDM, but there’s a little more to it than that. Having an MDM means you also have the following:

    1. FOCUS. Saving up $1 million is a very ambitious goal. To get there you have to stay focused. You may experience setbacks along the way—jobs that don’t work out, investments that lose money, and most of all, so many tempting ways to spend money rather than save it. You must focus on ways to always be moving forward toward that ultimate destination.

    2. PATIENCE. We know, you want to be rich yesterday. Sure, some millionaires got that way in a flash—by winning the lottery, inheriting some money, or inventing a cool app, but that’s a very small minority. Most millionaires built their savings over a period of time. They saved, invested, and waited, protecting their nest egg (aka “investments”), while continuing to add money on a regular basis and watching it grow over time.

    3. CONFIDENCE. If you do what everybody else does, you’ll be just like them, and not a millionaire. To save up all that cash, you’ll need an independent mind-set. Don’t be a sheep by following the crowd. Trying to impress people with the latest fashion, cars, or technology is the fastest way to not become a millionaire.

    4. KNOWLEDGE. To become a millionaire, you’ll need to understand money—how to save it, how to grow it, and how to keep it. Luckily, you can get that knowledge from this book!

Know Your Neighbors

Back in 1996, a researcher named Thomas Stanley decided to look into what millionaires are really like. The book he wrote is called The Millionaire Next Door. What he found surprised many. Most wealthy people don’t drive flashy cars or take expensive vacations. Quite the opposite. They spend much less than they earn, drive used cars, and live in modest houses. They invest their money wisely—and they don’t buy things to make themselves look cool. Like we said—actual millionaires are people who save money, not people who spend it.

Make MDM a Habit

Thanks to generations of nail-biters and nose-pickers, the word habit has gotten a bad rap. You can, however, have good habits, and one of them would be to put away some money for yourself on a regular basis. That is one habit that almost every millionaire shares. They know how to make a mountain of money and they do it slowly, steadily, and on a regular basis.

Maybe the habit is as simple as saving a dollar a day. Too much? No worries. How about half that? Any amount is better than no amount. Developing good money habits takes time, but as with anything else, you start with the first step and work your way up.

Don’t Give Up!

Even the smartest millionaires can be hit with financial misfortune the likes of what occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession of 2008. Many people trying to advance their financial futures were hit hard during those two great economic downturns. Some were able to recover. Part of that is luck. Part is perseverance.

Michael Jordan, one of the most successful basketball players of all time, said, “I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Even Thomas Edison failed at least 1,000 times trying to get the lightbulb right, but he eventually did, and changed history. Millionaires don’t like failing, but many of them fail anyway. They know it’s just part of the game. They also know that if it happens, they learn from it and try again.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Persevere through mistakes and struggles. Stay focused, patient, confident, and smart and you’ll have a better chance of making money.

Your Million-Dollar Plan

Most millionaires and billionaires wouldn’t have achieved their big financial goals if they didn’t have a plan. In this book we will hold your hand (don’t worry, not literally) through every step of creating your own plan to becoming financially independent (aka “rich”). We will teach you tips and tricks to becoming a millionaire, and point out the pitfalls along the way.

Making money is a game, and we’re going to teach you the basic rules. Before we move on we want to make sure you are willing to commit. Can you think like a millionaire thinks? Can you be focused on the goal? Because if you can get into the Million-Dollar Mind-Set, and focus on earning and saving $1 million, you have a chance at making it. Start by looking at yourself confidently in the mirror and repeating the very important phrase on the next page. Go ahead, turn the page!

Long Story Short

1. Millionaires are folks who save their money, not spend it.

2. To become a millionaire you need to develop an MDM (Million-Dollar Mind-Set).

Reasons to Become a Millionaire

What are some reasons why you want to turn $100 into $1 million? Write your reasons down, post them in your locker, stick them to the mirror, tape them to the ceiling above your bed, make them the background on your phone—just put them someplace where you can see them for daily inspiration. Your reasons will help keep you going through thick and thin. Don’t think about it too hard—for now, just imagine what you’d do with that money. Your reasons will probably change over time, so keep the original list to remember when you started your journey to financial independence.

Chapter 2:

Set Financial Goals

What kind of life do you want to live? Do you want to travel, help the poor, race dirt bikes, be a tech mogul, design dresses, navigate space, become a pro skateboarder, all of the above?

You’ll have a better chance of achieving the life you want if you have money. And that means you’ll need a plan, with financial goals.

A plan with financial goals will keep you from being adrift in an ocean of money. It’s like charting a course for the “Island of Financial Freedom.” Without a plan and goals, you might end up on the rocks and never have enough money, particularly when you need it most.

Money Moment

One way to help you with financial goals is to have separate accounts for different goals. You could have a savings account for your short-term goal of purchasing a new computer, put money into a certificate of deposit (CD) account for a medium-term goal of saving for college, and then invest in an IRA for your long-term goal of retirement. We know, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves when we talk about investing in a CD or an IRA. Guess you’ll have to keep reading to figure out what that means! We’ll talk more about different types of investments in chapter 9.

Short-term Goals

(from Now to 1 Year)

Maybe you have a goal of saving enough money to go to that show next week. Or you want to buy a new phone, a longboard, or supplies to start a business. Maybe you simply want to get started saving toward $1 million. Those probably all fall under the category of short-term goals.

So how do you reach your short-term goal? Figure out the cost of the goal, then divide by the amount of time you have to reach it.

Say you want some Super-Cool Thingy. The Super-Cool Thingy is $100 and you want to have it by next summer, which is 10 months away. That means you need to save $10 a month to reach your short-term goal of having enough money to buy the Super-Cool Thingy. Can you do it? If not, modify the goal a little. Either you need to get more money, spend less, or do some combination of the two. Another option would be to give yourself a little more time to save.

Medium-term Goals

(1 to 10 years)

Maybe you want to buy a car, travel, save for college, or move out of the house by the time you’re 20. These are probably more medium-term goals. Again, figure out how much money you need to reach the goal and divide by the time you have to reach it. Let’s say a trip to Europe costs $5,000 and you want to do it in three years. Divide $5,000 by 36 months and you get about $138.89 a month. Can you set a short-term goal to save $138.89 a month, toward a medium-term goal of saving $5,000 in three years? If not, then modify the goal. Maybe plan a cheaper trip, go later, or figure out a way to bring in more money.

Long-term Goals

(over 10 Years)

These goals could be 10, 20, 30, 40 years, and beyond. That may seem like a long way out, but millions of people before you have had that same thought, then suddenly realized they should have started thinking about long-term goals when they were 11 years old! Want to retire early, travel the world, buy a house, have kids or just lots of dogs? Sounds like you’re going to need a million dollars to reach some of those goals, so these are probably long-term and ultra-long-term goals.

Let’s say you want to have $1 million in 40 years. Divide $1,000,000 by 40 and you’ll get $25,000 per year. We know what you’re thinking. “I’m just 11 years old. I’m never going to be able to save that much!” The good news is you don’t have to actually save $25,000 per year for 40 years to get to $1 million. There’s a trick we’ll share later where your money starts making money for you. Don’t skip ahead!

Write Them Down!

It’s critical that your goals are clear and spell out exactly what you want. Write them down, type them up, or text them to yourself, and definitely jot them down in Your Two-Page Plan to Become a Millionaire on page 124 of this book. Hang them on the fridge, or post them someplace to look at every day. You’re more likely to achieve them if they’re written down and right in front of your face. And don’t be afraid to revise your goals. They’ll change over time.

Turning Jewelry into a Dirt Bike

Epic Win

Jim Carrey, one of the highest paid actors of all time, has earned millions for his movies. It wasn’t always that way, however. In 1985, as a struggling actor trying to make it in Hollywood, Carrey drove to the top of the Hollywood Hills. While dreaming of his future, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, dated it Thanksgiving 1995, added the notation “for acting services rendered,” and carried it in his wallet from that day forth.

The rest, as they say, is history. Carrey’s optimism and tenacity eventually paid off, and by 1995, after several huge box-office hits, his asking price had risen to $20 million per picture. Writing down that goal of being able to pay himself $10 million helped focus Carrey’s mental state for his eventual success.

So what are you doing to get the future you want? Maybe you think your current situation is the best that’s possible. Could you focus your mind into expecting success even with the obstacles you think you have? Don’t wait on luck, winning the lottery, or for that rich uncle to die. Decide what you want your future to be and then get busy planning it and setting goals. Maybe you need to write yourself a check and put a date on it for 20 years from now.

Monitor your progress

Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you got a raise. Maybe that stock you invested in skyrocketed. Maybe it crashed. Even the best financial plan can hit a meltdown. Stay on top of things and check your progress on a regular basis. If you’ve set a short-term goal of getting that Super-Cool Thingy in a year, maybe stop and assess how you’re doing every month. Maybe you’ll find yourself ahead of your goals. Awesome! If not, adjust a little.

So what happens when you reach your goal? Celebrate! Then set a new goal and move on. You still have that $1 million to aim for.

What’s the point?

All of us dream of things we’d like to do in the future and what we’d like our lives to become. You will have the best chance of reaching those dreams if you set goals, write them down, and then plan on how to get there. Having a plan with a set of financial goals is the foundation for your financial future.

Long Story Short

1. If you want to make $1 million, set short-, medium-, and long-term goals.

2. Write down your goals.

3. Monitor your progress, and adjust if necessary.

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