That’s the question that 15 popular personal finance bloggers answered as part of my 30-Day Million Dollar Challenge. And what a terrific lineup of bloggers who contributed their advice. Here’s the whole gang:
And I hate to burst your bubble, but it turns out there really isn’t a secret to building a net worth of a million dollars! The advice is basic – invest early, educate yourself, grow the gap between income and spending, plan and track, and change your mentality. Sounds simple enough, right?
After sifting through all the great advice, there’s a common theme. Most of our contributors started their blogs to detail their own personal struggles with money. They found success and in many cases, financial independence, after changing their mentality. Stefanie O’Connell turned her life around when she stopped focusing on what she couldn’t do and built a business based on the things she could do. Paula Pant from Afford Anything spent too many years “thinking small,” clipping coupons when she should have been focused on building her income. What drives a change in mental perspective? It’s a greater purpose, a personal mission statement – something mentioned by both J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly and Miranda at Planting Money Seeds.
I really enjoyed reading about the financial mistakes of our 15 bloggers! It’s a good reminder that everyone makes mistakes on their journey to financial freedom. The most common mistakes mentioned were:
A taste for credit cards was the curse for many of our bloggers. For example, J.D. Roth and John from Frugal Rules developed credit card habits while in college and spent years “mired in debt.” Jaime from Eventual Millionaire and Miranda from Planting Money Seeds struggled with debt after buying too many things because they were “cool.”
Buying a house used to be a sure bet … until the housing market imploded. “Timing is everything” has special meaning for a several bloggers. J. Money from Budgets are Sexy bought a house at the peak of the market, with no money down and “completely on a whim.” Sam, aka Financial Samurai, bought a Lake Tahoe vacation property right before the real estate market bombed. Financial mistake? Yes, but it didn’t feel like it at the time!
Another mistake mentioned by some bloggers was their choice of college or field of study. Yoni (Money Under 30) hasn’t gotten a lot of mileage from his degree in social psychology, and Frugal Gene regrets attending an expensive private university. But I had to chuckle as I thought of my PhD in sociology – not exactly a lucrative field. And 20 years ago, I would have told you it was my biggest financial mistake too. Today I can say it has led to an amazing career and respectable salary. Sometimes, big mistakes turn into wise choices.
This is the question I didn’t ask, but wish I had! I am well on my journey to financial independence, but I still struggle with creating a healthy balance in my life. I was struck by Joe’s (Retire by 40) comments that retiring early was his worst financial decision, but it was the right decision for him. He offers a pleasant reminder: “Money isn’t everything.” Similarly, J.D. Roth listed his favorite post as How to Be Happy and Lead a Meaningful Life. History proves that money doesn’t buy happiness, but it’s HOW you spend the money that makes all the difference in the world. Spend it on yourself and you won’t be nearly as happy as if you spend it on others.
Give me 30 days and I’ll give you the tools you need to develop a plan to build a net worth of $1,000,000. The challenge starts on April 1. Sign up at the Million Dollar Challenge page. And yes, it’s absolutely FREE. In addition to daily activities, you’ll be treated to the full Q&A responses from all 15 bloggers. If you miss the April 1 deadline to join the Challenge, or you prefer to attack the Challenge at your own pace, the 30-Day Million Dollar Challenge will be available as a Kindle guide on April 15. You can pre-order today! Stop dreaming…start planning!
Dr. Brenda is a sociologist, educator, blogger, motivator, and financial coach. In addition to blogging at The Five Journeys, she writes 30-day challenges at BetterLifeChallenges.com. Her passion is guiding people on their journey to financial freedom through coaching at DrBrendaMoneyCoach and online courses at EarlyExitAcademy.com.