Become an everyday millionaire with a normal job
If you’ve ever had a desire to be rich, then I’ve got some good news for you.
You don’t need wealthy parents, a six- or seven-figure salary, or a lucky lottery win to get rich. You can actually achieve real wealth with the job you currently have.
It’s all in how you manage your money.
In this post, I’m going to give you 7 tips for how to get rich with a normal job. I’ll break each one down into actionable steps.
Getting rich really comes down to living below your means and building your savings. As you get closer to retirement, it’s vital that you’re aggressively building wealth.
Even if you’ve made some financial mistakes in the past, you can learn how to be smart with money – but it takes intention, commitment and sacrifice to get rich.
Let’s get started.
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What is a normal job?
Before I explain how to get rich with a normal job, let me define what “normal job” means in this context.
Here are some details that I am assuming about working a normal job:
- you work for an employer (not self-employed)
- you are on a regular payroll (not getting paid under the table)
- you work full-time hours (36-40 hours a week)
- your pay is either hourly or salary, but fairly consistent
- you receive benefits, such as time off, bonuses, health insurance, stock options, or access to a retirement fund
- your job does not require a college degree
- your annual income is between $35,000 and $60,000 per year (according to 2021 BLS data, this is the average income range for Americans between 20 and 64 years old)
These general guidelines are not hard and fast rules, but simply parameters I’ve set to eliminate incomes that would be considered outside the boundaries of a normal, average salary.
Now let’s get to learning how to get rich with a normal job.
Yes, you can get rich with a normal job
In his book, Everyday Millionaires, Chris Hogan tells his readers how “ordinary people built extraordinary wealth”. You may not realize it, but there are self-made millionaires all around you.
People from all walks of life have learned how to live below their means, save money, avoid debt, and invest wisely. Maybe they’ve had a bit of luck along the way, but their wealth ultimately came down to consistent and smart money management over time.
You don’t need to be an investment banker, a lucky gambler, or the heir to a big inheritance. You can build long-term wealth, and get rich, as a normal person with a regular job and modest salary. You just have to be committed and take action.
1. Prioritize savings
If you want to get rich with a normal job, one major rule of thumb is to make savings a top priority. Take the following steps to put money aside and build savings.
Have an emergency fund
On the path to getting rich, you must have some emergency funds set up in case you run into financial trouble – like, losing your job or having a medical crisis. Without some emergency savings, you may end up relying on debt to cover those unexpected costs.
Have a rule for windfalls
It’s nice to get unexpected extra cash like monetary gifts, a work bonus, or a tax refund. But, instead of spending it on a new widescreen, add it to your savings.
Put it in a high-yield account and make money with money, so those windfalls are working for your future. This is just smart saving advice.
You don’t have to save all of it. But, come up with a rule – like 50% into savings – so you don’t blow that extra cash on stuff.
Don’t set it and forget it
Just because you can only set aside $100 a month now, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to save more later. Add a monthly savings goal to your budget, and get used to not spending that money. Then, 6 months later, increase it by 10%. Do this 2-3 times a year, so you get better at saving more money.
Also, don’t forget to increase your retirement fund contributions periodically as well. Once you’re used to having 3% taken out of your paycheck, bump up your automatic investments to 4%. Keep going until you get to at least 15%.
Make your savings automatic
One of the simplest ways to build wealth is by automating your savings so you don’t even have to think about it.
This means scheduling transfers and direct deposits that happen automatically on a regular basis. This removes the choice and gives you fewer financial decisions to make.
Save even if you’re self-employed
If you’re self-employed, you have some good options to build wealth for your retirement.
Here are a few:
- If you have no employees, you can contribute to a Solo 401(k)
- If you have only a few employees, you can open up a SEP IRA
- If your business is growing and you’ve got up to 100 employees, look into the SIMPLE IRA
The sooner you start saving, the longer your money has to grow.
2. Minimize debt
If you’re still charging up your credit cards, you’re killing your chances of getting rich with a regular salary. Do what you need to do to pay off all high-interest credit card debt, and keep all other debts to a minimum.
Here are a few tips to lower your debt and get it paid off for good.
Pay off high-interest debt first
Paying off debt before saving isn’t advice that’s set in stone. However, if you have balances with rates above 10%, it’s a good financial decision to pay off these debts first.
If you want to build savings while paying off debt, consider transferring high-interest balances to a 0% promotional rate.
You can focus on low-interest debts, like student loans, when you’re no longer paying that high interest.
Getting your debts paid off will lower your stress levels and free up more of your income to build wealth.
Keep your mortgage low
Your mortgage payment is typically the biggest bill you have every month. So, consider if what you’re paying now is worth putting your future at risk.
If you don’t want to downsize, see if you can refinance for a lower rate. This may save you hundreds of dollars a month that you could apply to your savings.
Avoid additional debt
By living below your means and following a budget, you’re setting yourself up to avoid anymore debt. Having some emergency savings set aside is one way to cover those unexpected expenses without pulling out the credit card.
Learn to stop making unnecessary and emotional purchases, which is often why people use credit.
Set a rule for yourself – if you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it.
3. Increase your income
You can only cut so many corners when you’re trying to save money and build wealth. Turbocharge your efforts by increasing your monthly income level with a promotion, side hustle, or even your own business.
Make more in your current career
If you don’t already have a high-paying job, you still have the ability to increase your income. Ask for a raise, try for a promotion, get a certification, go back to college, or expand your network.
Staying at the same company and getting a 3% raise once a year is not going to get you to millionaire status. So, take matters into your own hands and create the future you want.
Create passive income streams
Most poor people only have one source of income. Finding a way to add more cash to your current income with little to no effort is a great way to support your long-term goals.
There are various opportunities to do this; some require a financial investment, others will need a considerable amount of time and effort. Many can provide scalable income, which does not depend on trading time for money.
Some common income streams include:
- rental properties
- creating an online course
- owning vending machines
- starting a YouTube channel
- writing a blog
- renting out storage space
These are just a few of the many ways to create passive income. Find an opportunity that appeals to you, and try it out for a while.
If you invest the time now, you could build an awesome business that provides a lucrative source of additional income in your retirement years.
Get a side hustle
We live in the gig economy, which has been a source of hope for low-income people. There are so many opportunities for side jobs that have flexible schedules and can generate more income for you.
Consider driving for Uber or Lyft, babysitting a couple of times a month, walking the neighbor’s dogs, or tutoring kids at the library.
Any of these services could create a few hundred dollars more a month for you. And, when you apply the magic of compound interest, it’s a great way to turbocharge your savings.
Start a business
With the internet and social media, there’s never been a lower barrier to starting your own business. From drop-shipping to flipping to creating to teaching to writing to whatever you want to do.
You can sell crafts to a customer in France.You can tutor a child in China.You can be a life coach to someone in Australia.
The possibilities are endless. And what better time to work on that dream that’s been hanging around for years?
Is there an idea you’ve had for a while, and it just won’t go away? Stop dismissing it. Take steps to make it a reality.
Who knows? That idea may just make you millions of dollars. You never know until you try.
4. Plan your way
If you want to learn how to get rich with a regular job, you’re going to need to come up with a plan. Building wealth and achieving your financial goals takes intention and consistency.
Follow the steps below to create your own plan for building wealth.
Set some goals
To succeed in getting rich, you must have some specific financial goals you’re working toward.
You could create savings goals for a new home, another vehicle, or a vacation. Building an emergency fund or having fully-paid debts are also smart goals to have. Of course, saving enough funds for retirement should be at the top of your goal list.
Using the SMART goal framework will give your goals some structure and provide accountability. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Create a savings category in your budget so you pay it like any other bill. You can use an online savings calculator to determine how much you need to save each month to reach your goal on time.
Determine a timeline
Put a deadline on your financial goal, and then work backwards. This will help you determine smaller goals along the way and keep you on track.
If you want to be rich by the time you retire, then decide when that will be. Your timeline will guide your actions, and your approach to saving and investing.
Make big sacrifices
Getting rich with a regular job will likely challenge you with some tough decisions. You might need to decide if you’re willing to give up the things you least want to give up, in order to provide for your financial future. Big goals require big sacrifices.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you need to sell your home that you’ve been making memories in for 25 years?
- Do you need to sell your vehicles and deal with the inconvenience of public transportation?
- Do you need to get a second job during the evenings and weekends and give up your leisure time for a while?
- Do you need to stop eating out and ruthlessly slash your monthly grocery bill?
- Do you need to *stop* putting money in your kids’ college funds, paying their car insurance, or helping with their rent?
Think about the opportunity cost of the things you spend your money on that *don’t* support your retirement goals. Have the hard conversations with your partner and your kids. Work on embracing the attitude of frugality, and know the difference between your needs and wants.
The money is there, you just have to decide where it goes. You have a choice, and you have control.
Sometimes the temptation of instant gratification can be tough to overcome. One way to keep extra money in your pocket (to put in savings) is to eliminate opportunities where you’ll be tempted to spend.
Keep credit cards at home and unsubscribe from all those sale announcements. Know what you’re tempted by, and then be purposeful to avoid them. This can help you go a long way in saving money.
Create a united front with your partner
You won’t reach your goals if your partner is working against you.
Be sure to have ongoing conversations about your money, your values, your objectives, and your dreams. Make them a part of your daily life, so you can consistently be on the same page and hold each other accountable.
You will experience challenges, difficulties, and successes as you both work toward financial freedom. Cooperate as a team to push through adversity, and celebrate together when you reach the milestones.
Avoid anything “too-good-to-be-true”
As you learn more about personal finance, retirement planning and investing, you’ll come across all kinds of opportunities to grow your wealth.
There will be those that are tried and true. These are the ones that typically take time and patience to realize the benefits.
Then, there are other strategies that promise fast results with big payouts. These could include day trading, penny stocks, timing the market, hyped investment opportunities, or limited time deals from real estate gurus.
Don’t fall for these “get rich quick” schemes. It’s just human nature to want to take the easiest and fastest route, but anything too good to be true usually is.
They are risky and the odds are against you. If you’re unsure, always seek the advice of a trusted financial professional.
Value the money you make by protecting it. Someday, when you’re too old to make any more, it will protect you.
Take the time to get tax savvy
Taxes are a fact of life. And, the more knowledgeable you are about dealing with taxes, the more money you’ll leave in your pocket.
Educate yourself on how to reduce your taxes. Then, implement those moves into your financial planning.
Here are just a few ways (to get you started):
- donate to charity
- open a FSA (Flexible Savings Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account)
- give to a college 529 plan
- take all the deductions and credits you can get
- be smart with your Social Security strategy
- contribute to a 401(k) or IRA
Talk to a professional tax person. I’m sure they can give you even more ideas. Because the *last* thing you want to do is pay more taxes than you need to.
Clean up your credit
Having a high credit score comes with a few benefits that could save you thousands over your lifetime. So, if your score is not-so-hot right now, do the work to fix it.
According to Experian, there are some practical steps you can take to improve your score:
- pay your bills on time
- pay off debt and keep balances low
- don’t close unused credit card accounts
- dispute any errors on your credit report
There is no quick fix, so be patient. Your efforts will be worth it when you qualify for the best interest rates.
Get the protection you need
Get the insurance policies you need in place – auto, home, health, disability, life, and long-term care – and protect the future you’re building today.
Dave Ramsey says you need to have both an offensive and defensive strategy when it comes to financial planning. Having the right insurance policies is a great way to play defense when it comes to protecting yourself from unexpected situations.
So don’t skimp on the insurance. When you need it, you’ll be so glad you have it.
5. Have a budget
Getting rich with a normal job will require you to be in control of your finances and stay within your income thresholds. You can do this by following a budget that minimizes expenses and allows for savings.
Use these guidelines to make a budget that works for you.
Create a spending plan you can stick to
A budget is like a roadmap for spending, and provides financial accountability for your income. There are several budgeting methods that can help you keep a steady inventory of what funds are coming in and going out. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose, as long as it’s a realistic plan you can stick with.
If you aren’t following a budget, start tracking your spending for the next 30 days. You can do this on paper, with a spreadsheet, or use a money management app. This will give you a realistic picture of how your money is working right now.
Once you know where your money is going, you can create the categories and spending limits that are appropriate for your lifestyle and priorities.
Cut living expenses
Think you could find an extra $100 to save every month?
Maybe cut cable, quit the gym, or take your lunch to work?
If you invested $100 a month into a mutual fund with an average return of 7% for 20 years, you would end up more than doubling your $24,000 investment and end up with over $50,000!
From $100 a month!
Think you could find that in your budget?
Maximizing the gap between income and expenses is vital to wealth creation.
Cut unnecessary expenses and put that extra money into savings.
Here is a chart that shows how even more budget trimming can help you get rich faster:
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Spend less than your salary
Aahhh … the key to building wealth . It’s quite simple, and yet too many people are living check to check, overwhelmed by debt.
If you want to get aggressive with your saving goals, living on less than you earn is necessary.
This may require some lifestyle changes – you just have to decide what your priorities are.
Resist the temptation to give into lifestyle inflation. When your income goes up, practice financial restraint by choosing to increase your savings and not your standard of living.
Take care of your future self by being content with your current circumstances.
Following a budget and cutting expenses can help. But if you’re deep in debt, you may have to take more drastic measures.
Don’t forget health care expenses
Unfortunately, your medical expenses will undoubtedly increase as you get older.
There are ways to keep your costs down, though. If you take preventative measures now by staying healthy, and put money in a Health Savings Account, you can stretch your dollars farther.
If you fail to factor health care expenses into your retirement annual spending, you may ultimately derail your efforts to get rich.
6. Invest your money
Keeping your cash under the mattress is never going to get you rich with a normal job. To build wealth, you must employ investment strategies that will multiply your savings with the power of strong returns and compound interest.
Your investment strategy will depend on factors such as your risk tolerance and the time period you’re bound by.
Here are a few smart steps you can take to get your money to work for you.
Sign up for your employer’s 401(k) plan
If your employer offers a 401(k) retirement plan, one of the best financial decisions you can make is to open an account. Then, start contributing *at least* the minimum amount that will get you the full matching option.
My husband’s employer offers a 1% match for every 1% we contribute, up to 3%. So, if we put in 10% of his paycheck, his company will put in 3%. If your employer offers a similar benefit (and many do), then don’t leave this free money on the table.
Invest in an IRA
If you don’t have access to a 401(k), or you’re not satisfied with your employer’s plan, you have other choices. A good one is the Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
Although the maximum contributions allowed are much lower than a 401(k), it’s still a great place to save retirement funds. You get the usual tax benefits that come with a traditional retirement account, but you also have more control of your investment choices.
Also, there is no limit to how many IRAs you can have. There are several types to choose from, and you can have a mix of them to build up your retirement savings.
However, regardless of how many you own, the annual maximum contribution still applies. If you’re over 50 years of age (in 2022), this means you can only put in up to $7,000, regardless of how many you have.
If you have a choice between the 401(k) and the IRA, make sure you do some research before you decide which one is best for you.
Consider a mix of Traditional and Roth
Both the 401(k) and the IRA investment tools come in 2 main flavors: Traditional and Roth.
Basically, the biggest difference is how taxes are handled.
For Traditional, your contributions are deposited before taxes are taken out. This ultimately lowers your taxable income for the year applied, which is a great benefit. But, you have to pay taxes on withdrawals during retirement.
With the Roth version, your money goes in after it’s taxed and there is no upfront tax break. However, when you’re living in retirement you’ll withdraw that money tax-free.
So, they both have their benefits. And you’ll get different advice from various advisors. But, most will recommend a *mix* of both.
Do your homework, talk to a pro, and be aware of your choices.
Invest in the stock market for a bigger return
Looking at Jeremy Siegel’s research on the comparison of investment returns over 2 centuries, it’s obvious that the stock market provides one of the best opportunities to grow your investment portfolio.
His research reveals the change in values of $1, based on 5 different investments, placed in 1802 and held until 2012.
For your convenience, here is a summary of some of his findings:
- $1 invested in Treasury Bills would now be worth $281
- $1 invested in bonds would now be worth $1,778
- $1 invested in gold would now be worth $4.52
- $1 invested in nothing would now be worth 5 cents
- $1 invested in stocks would now be worth $704,997
If you have time to ride the market, you may want to put some of your investment dollars in stocks or dividend stocks. Just remember – it’s the slow, steady, long-term investors that will experience the biggest gains.
Just remember to keep that balance between being aggressive while protecting your earnings. Meet with a financial advisor to come up with an effective strategy.
Invest in Index Funds
You do not need to be an investing wizard to build a thriving investment portfolio. A simple index fund is one of the best forms of investing that even rich people use.
Index funds are a type of mutual fund (which is just a pool of money from multiple investors that a fund manager invests in stocks and bonds). They are unique in that their purpose is to track a specific stock market index – like, the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).
So, for example, if you invest in an S&P 500 market index fund, your money is pooled with other investors’ money, and the fund manager invests all of it in equities from that index.
Even Warren Buffett has recommended that investors put their money in the S&P 500 index fund for long-term growth. The average annual return for the S&P 500 has been 10.5% since its inception in 1957!
Consider investing in real estate
If the idea of being a landlord doesn’t appeal to you, take heart in knowing that there are several ways to generate income from real estate assets.
Here are a few ideas:
- flip a house for profit
- invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
- invest in Real Estate mutual funds
- join a real estate crowdfunding opportunity
- own a vacation rental
- rent a room in your home
If this is something you’re interested in pursuing, be sure to do thorough research and consult with a pro.
And remember the three most important things when it comes to being a real estate investor: location, location, location!
Adjust your portfolio as needed
Your risk tolerance will likely change as you get closer to your retirement date. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you could easily lose a big part of your nest egg due to a drastic market swing.
Keep an eye on your investment mix, and make changes as you see fit. Stock portfolios should be adjusted as one’s risk tolerance changes over time.
If you’re in your 50s, a common recommendation is 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds. But once you’re in your 60s you’ll probably want to rebalance your mix to reduce your exposure to market volatility.
Keep your investment fees low
You really can’t get out of paying fees as you try to grow your savings Everybody wants a piece of the pie.
What you *can* do is get wise about the fees you’re paying, and how you can lower them.
Read your statements and know what you’re being charged.
And don’t be fooled by percentages that seem small and insignificant. You may want to ignore them because you think it won’t add up to much of a difference, but as your account gets into the hundreds of thousands, that 1% fee adds up.
With every tenth of a percent that’s added to your fees, you’re losing exponential growth from compound interest. So, pay attention and be savvy about how you handle those fees. Shop around or negotiate to get the lowest fees you can get.
In the end, it could be thousands of dollars at stake.
Understand how compound interest affects your investment dollars
Compound interest is, simply put, “interest on interest”, and results in the exponential growth of an original amount (the principal).
When you’re working toward your first “mill”, having a good grasp of how compound interest affects your investment accounts is extremely helpful. You’ll understand the importance of saving early and often, and getting the best rate you can find.
Once you realize the vast difference a slight adjustment can make in your savings, you’ll be motivated to be more disciplined with your financial goals.
7. Practice good habits
Getting rich with a normal job is more than just smart money decisions. Other areas of your life will affect your ability to stay the course when you experience setbacks.
Having good habits and practices in place can help minimize circumstances that will sabotage your saving efforts.
Take care of yourself and your property
As you get older, your body is going to start breaking down. Common conditions among elderly people include heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, and depression.
You can take preventative measures today – like eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly – that will allow you to minimize or completely avoid these illnesses.
Staying in good physical and mental health will allow you to stay focused and alert with your financial decisions. Not only would you have a more comfortable and enjoyable life, but you would also spend much less on health care.
Also, taking care of your personal property – like vehicles, appliances, and furniture – will make them last longer. The less often you have to replace something, the more saving dollars you keep.
Watching your wealth build slowly, especially in the beginning, can be discouraging.
This is why it helps to find inspiration through other people’s success stories, and read motivating articles that offer hope (like here and here). You’ll find that many who have created wealth started from humble beginnings.
You need to remind yourself that others, in the same season of life as you, have accomplished great wealth later in life. It can be done, you just have to maintain the right mindset and take massive action.
Learn from professionals and other financial experts
Take the initiative and learn all you can about personal finance. The knowledge will serve you well, even into your golden years.
Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, has said that it’s the lack of education about investing and creating wealth that keeps people from getting rich.
And because these principles are not taught in school, most people struggle with finances their whole lives.
It doesn’t need to be this way.
There is no barrier to learning as much as you want.
Most resources are free – from blogs to YouTube videos to the library to podcasts. Whatever you want to learn more about, you can probably learn about it for free, *and* from the comfort of your own La-Z-Boy.
So ignorance is no longer an excuse. Go educate yourself!
Study the successful
There is nothing new under the sun. Whatever you want to do, somebody else has already done it. This is great news, because you don’t have to start from scratch.
The best way to speed up success is to study the strategies of others who’ve already achieved it, so take the time to learn about wealth creation from others who’ve done it before. This is a healthy money habit that will make a huge difference in your efforts.
These days, that’s easier than ever! Many successful and wealthy people write blogs and/or books, or have a podcast or YouTube channel. They *want* to share their experiences, so don’t pass up this opportunity!
This isn’t rocket science. Other people have figured it out. It can be done. So study what they do, and do the same.
This includes playing slot machines, table games, horse races, raffles, sports betting, and lottery tickets.
Yes, lottery tickets.
You’ve got more important things to do with your money.
Building wealth takes time, there’s no getting around it. The important thing is to start *now*. The longer your money can hang out with time and compound interest, the better for you.
Be patient. When you’re prepared to wait for years – maybe decades – you’ll be less likely to quit at the first sign of adversity.
Keep checking in
Keep up with how your investments are doing, so you can make wise adjustments as needed.
Watch the market and be aware of how it’s affecting your holdings. This is especially important the closer you get to your retirement date.
Check in on your social security benefits, your home’s value, your insurance policies, your emergency fund balance – all of it. Of course, don’t be obsessive with it – just peek in occasionally to make sure everything is as you’d expect it to be.
The last thing you want to happen is wake up on your 65th birthday and then realize you’re not as prepared for retirement as you thought. Be proactive with your future and stay connected to your financial progress.
Don’t forget to grab this free download, 50 Steps To Financial Freedom, and start building wealth for your retirement:
In conclusion: getting rich depends on sticking to your plan
All of these tactics will help you reach your first million, even if you don’t have a college degree and a six-figure salary. So, write out a plan for how and when you’ll implement them, then stick to it.
Plan how you’ll deal with the roadblocks now. Don’t wait for them to happen, because then you may fall into emotional decision-making. Have a plan for how you’ll overcome adversity and keep going.
Because it’s diligence over time that will get you to your ultimate goal.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- The 401(k) and the IRA: Which One Is Better?
- The Late Starter’s Essential Roadmap For Retirement
- Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist & Guide
- Get Your RISE Score: 5 Steps To Determine Retirement Readiness
- Should You Use The 4% Rule In Retirement?
- 7 Steps To Catch Up On Retirement Savings
- 12 Effective Tips For Financial Planning In Your 50s
- 50 Good Money Habits To Help You Save More
- 9 Smart Reasons To Check Your Credit Report Regularly
- How To Save $5000 In A Year
I hope you enjoyed reading