Six Tips to Increase Your Odds of Becoming a Millionaire

More than $1 million in $100 billsGiven that you stand a 1-in-175,711,536 chance of winning the Mega Millions lottery, you might try becoming a millionaire with a more practical strategy. Your odds aren't so bad as it is. One-in-106 Americans is a millionaire, according to a recent article in Investopedia. And 31% of the world's "high net worth individuals" with a million bucks in assets beyond their home live on this continent.

So how do you increase your odds of joining the prosperous without waiting for your numbers to come up? Financial adviser Mitch Slater, a senior vice president - investments at UBS Financial Services in Westfield, N.J., offers six tips to reach seven-digit status. The advice isn't sexy -- but are you gonna care when you're counting your first million?1. Be patient. To quote Pericles, "Wait for that wisest of all counselors: time." What I'm saying is that building wealth doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. Investing for the long run has built wealth for centuries. One caveat: The last 10 years didn't work that way, reinforcing the whole notion of time and patience. Investing 101 author Kathy Kristof backs up Slater, pointing out that average stock returns since 1926 were 9.6% for big company stocks and 11.7% for small companies.

2. Pay yourself first. Before paying any bills, you need to set money aside every month to build your wealth. It's simple math, but you'd be surprised how many people ignore it.

3. Don't be afraid to look into foreign investments. Our global outlook for 2011 emerging market prospects with consumer exposure is positive. Companies in countries like India, China and Brazil, whether in household goods or food and beverage, have the potential of very strong growth. Emerging markets outperformed the world by 8% in 2010 and by 30% in 2009.

4. Don't count on winning the lottery in the stock market, either. There's usually only one Apple or Google a decade. If you're lucky enough and you shared the same vision as Steve Jobs, congratulations on going along for the ride. But the odds of that are very, very slim. For every Apple, there's also a Commodore Computer. Remember them? Discipline is the key over time. The only way to beat the market over the long term is to use sensible investment strategies consistently.

5. The more money you can save while you're young, the better. You want to save any way you can, even if it might mean living with mom and dad for awhile. Staying at home and doing laundry at home in your early 20s to negate the cost of rent and transportation is not bad advice as long as you have a plan how you're going to move out.

6. Map out your financial future. List goals and realistic plans for achieving them. You can't go places you want to go without a road map.

As a footnote to Slater's recommendations, starting a business might not be a bad idea to earn money. Two-thirds of the world's millionaires are entrepreneurs, according to the book The Millionaire Next Door. Find what startup-business writer Jason L. Baptiste calls on his blog a "repeatable process" to build your endeavor, then focus on earning your first $10,000. A million will feel a lot closer.
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