Which of These 4 Paths to Becoming a Millionaire Is Right for You?

Becoming a millionaire from scratch isn’t easy, but more and more people are doing it, and often at a pretty young age. According to a 2023 study by Ramsey Solutions, 79% of millionaires are self-made.

Though there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a millionaire all on your own, there is — in the opinion of Tom Corley, CFP, CPA, author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals” and other books — a set of proven paths you can take to reach millionaire status. Corley explained the four paths in an article for CNBC in 2019.

Read Next: Tony Robbins: 10 Passive Income Ideas To Build Your Fortune

Try This: 4 Genius Things All Wealthy People Do With Their Money

Corley wrote that he spent five years interviewing and researching the daily activities, habits and traits of 233 wealthy individuals — all of which had at least $3.2 million in net assets — to identify the four paths.

What does each path entail, and which one is right for you?

The Saver-Investors Path

The easiest way to become a millionaire, Corley asserts, is by taking the Saver-Investors path.

“If you start early, it almost always guarantees a lot of money,” Corley wrote.

The Saver-Investor millionaires Corley researched achieved their first $1 million around their mid-to-late 30s and accumulated an average net worth of $3.3 million by their mid-50s. They had the four following traits in common: 

  • They typically had a middle-class income, often reached a six-figure salary early in their career or lived very frugally.
  • They had a low cost of living and prioritized saving over spending.
  • They saved 20% or more of their income.
  • They started investing their savings early in life and stayed in it for the long haul.

Though Corley says this is the easiest way to build massive wealth, the Saver-Investors path is hardly a shortcut.

“It requires enormous financial discipline and long-term commitment,” Corley wrote.

Find Out: Here’s How Much the Definition of Rich Has Changed in Every State

The Company Climbers Path

If you work for a large company and want to rise to the top of the food chain, the Company Climbers path is likely the right one for you.

“About 31% of the rich people I studied fell into this group,” Corley wrote. “It took them an average of 22 years to accumulate a net worth of $3.4 million or more. In most cases, their wealth came from either stock compensation or a partnership share of profits.”

The Climber path is best for people who have strong networking skills and are successful at building lasting relationships with powerful people in their industry. This path is best for people who don’t mind having more “work” than “life” when it comes to work/life balance.

“The [Climbers] I interviewed all arrived at the office early and left late,” Corley wrote. “Many were required to travel frequently and even had to sacrifice a lot of their vacation time.”

Climbers must be discerning in where they work and not waste their time toiling for a company that isn’t prospering.

The Virtuosos Path

Roughly 19% of the participants in Corley’s study chose the Virtuosos path. This means they made their millions by being among the best at what they do in their profession. They’re so good at their jobs, they’re “paid a high premium for their knowledge and expertise, which sets them apart from the competition,” Corley wrote.

The word “virtuoso” implies that you have some sort of inherent and unusual genius that sets you apart from everybody else, but Corley suggests that in this case, it’s more about how you spend your time.

“Virtuosos aren’t necessarily born with natural intelligence,” he wrote. “They must spend many years continuously studying and learning. Formal education, such as advanced degrees, is usually a requirement.”

Corley found that it takes about 20 years for people on the Virtuoso path to reach an average net worth of $4 million. This path is ideal for those who dedicate a great deal of time to perfecting their craft or skill and are up for getting advanced degrees.

The Dreamers Path

This one could be the most difficult path for those looking to become millionaires on their own, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. The Dreamers Path is, as the name implies, the path taken by those who are following their dreams in the hopes of becoming a millionaire. Perhaps they’re banking on building wealth as an entrepreneur or by becoming a famous actor.

“Approximately 28% of the folks in my study were Dreamers, and they accumulated an average net worth of $7.4 million — far more than any of the other groups — over a period of about 12 years,” Corley wrote. “All of them told me that pursuing their dreams was one of the most rewarding things they had done in their lives. They loved what they did for a living, and their passion showed up in their bank accounts.”

Taking the dreamer route is the hardest not only because it could be hard to get a steady paycheck on this path, particularly in the beginning, but also because it is the riskiest. Many people on the Dreamer path delay milestones like buying a home, because they have to finance their dreams. Some may even dig into their retirement savings.

“If you’re risk-averse, this path may not be for you,” Corley wrote.

More From GOBankingRates

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Which of These 4 Paths to Becoming a Millionaire Is Right for You?

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

More Related Articles

Info icon

This data feed is not available at this time.

Sign up for the TradeTalks newsletter to receive your weekly dose of trading news, trends and education. Delivered Wednesdays.