Overnight Millionaire: Is It Possible To Become One and What Happens if You Do?

A few years ago, a man dressed up like a cartoon character to anonymously accept a $30.6 million lottery prize. He didn’t want his family or friends to know about his sudden windfall

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That newly-minted millionaire didn’t want his wife or children to start behaving differently. But consider another case study of a single man who sold his startup for $600 million. After splurging on a $19 million bachelor pad, he now worries: “Can I seriously find someone who’s going to love me without the money?”

Most of us would love to be rich. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready for all the changes that come with it. 

Do People Actually Become Millionaires Overnight?

People do occasionally become overnight millionaires of course. It just doesn’t happen very often. 

Becoming a millionaire overnight requires luck. You might inherit a fortune, or win the lottery. Or you might cash out at the top of a meme stock or cryptocurrency craze, speculating your way into the two-comma club. 

As for entrepreneurs who build a successful business, they might technically become a millionaire overnight when they sell their business. But make no mistake — it takes years of grueling work to grow a business to the point of a sale. More on that shortly. 

The Upsides to Sudden Wealth

A seven-figure net worth comes with plenty of perks, to be sure. 

To begin with, you (hopefully) feel more financially secure. A sudden home or car repair bill shouldn’t send you spiraling into a crisis. 

Ultimately, you can solve most problems with money. Even those you can’t, such as health problems, at least become easier to tackle when you have more funds. More money lets you buy better insurance and the right prescription medication, for example. 

Money doesn’t just solve problems though. It makes it easier to see the big picture of lifestyle design and more intentional living. While you can choose your ideal work no matter your net worth, more money can help reduce the noise around always chasing a higher salary at the expense of your happiness. You can set your own schedule and live anywhere in the world, even if it comes with a high cost of living. 

Harsher New Realities When You Become a Millionaire

Not every change is positive, especially when you come into money quickly. To begin with, you’ll owe higher taxes: a rude awakening for many new millionaires. 

Your friends and family members may make assumptions or judgments about you, or expect you to pick up the bill every time they see you. Or worse, feel entitled to ask you favors whenever they like. I’ve seen this among my own friends, when one inherited a large sum in his twenties and ended up severing ties with many former friends because he felt they treated him differently. 

Newly single millionaires often wonder about their wealth impacting how dating prospects view them. Do they really think your jokes are that funny? Or are they just looking at you through green-colored glasses? 

Finally, lack of adversity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve interviewed dozens of young retirees who spent the first month or two sipping margaritas on the beach, only to realize they no longer feel any sense of fulfillment or structure in their lives. They all ended up going back to work, although they did so on their own terms, doing work they love. 

Paths to Becoming a Millionaire Within 10 Years

The most replicable path to wealth is also the most boring: saving and investing a bigger chunk of each paycheck. 

If you invest $5,000 each month at a 10% average return, you’d reach a million-dollar net worth within ten years. If you’re willing to wait 15 years, that monthly amount halves to $2,500. It’s not sexy or glamorous, but it works and anyone can do it. 

Alternatively, you can start a business. Some entrepreneurs can grow a business to a seven-figure valuation within a few short years. Others fail to gain any traction, and eventually close shop and find a job again. 

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Starting a business isn’t the easiest path to build wealth, but it can prove a fast one — for committed entrepreneurs. If I’ve learned anything at all as an entrepreneur myself, it’s that the more help you get from more experienced entrepreneurs, the more likely you are to succeed — and to do so on a faster track, albeit not an “overnight” one. 

More From GOBankingRates

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Overnight Millionaire: Is It Possible To Become One and What Happens if You Do?

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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