First Person: Becoming a Millionaire Wouldn’t Change My Lifestyle

Yahoo Contributor Network

New studies show the rising stock market has churned out more millionaires in our country this past year. It recently dawned on me that my husband and I will probably become millionaires sometime in the 10 to 15 years. Even when we have a million in our investments, our current lifestyle won't change at all. According to a recent Reuters' article, global wealth grew faster in 2012 compared to 2010 and 2011.

Experts say the increase in wealth can be attributed to the stock market. A recent reading of the Spectrem Millionaire Investor Confidence Index was at a 2 ½ year high, Reuters reported.

Locking the cookie jar

Although it's tempting to put our hands into a retirement cookie jar, we are resisting the urge to take out 401(k) loans to pay for everything from college tuition for our sons to a new car. By allowing our retirement money to grow uninterrupted, we should have a million dollars in a decade if the stock market continues to do well. If we have to endure another market crash, it won't put us behind by more than a few years.

Becoming the millionaire next door

I love my home but I don't love all the homes in my neighborhood after the housing crash. Many of the renters don't plant trees or flowers either because they aren't allowed to make changes to the landscaping or because they don't want to. A few of the banked-owned properties stills it vacant, waiting for the foreclosure process to be complete. Even though I'm not always thrilled with where I live, I am determined to be mortgage free within in the next 10 years. When I officially become a millionaire on paper, it won't mean that I'll be moving on up to a penthouse. I'll just be a millionaire who lives in a starter home in the suburbs.

Investing for 25 years

When I become a millionaire, I still plan to manage my own investments. According to the Fidelity Millionaire Outlook study in 2012, 43 percent of investors are skeptical about the advice they get from financial advisors or wealth managers. I took charge of my own investments when I was 25 years old. When I turn 50 in another decade, I will be able to say I invested in the stock market for a quarter of a century. Although I like the freedom to pick my own stocks, I also like having some of my money professionally managed in a 401(k) through my job.

I didn't officially start saving for retirement until I was in my mid-20s. My husband didn't start saving until he was 30. When we became married, we got serious about saving for our futures. We are used to living a middle-class lifestyle without sports cars and fashionable clothes. Although I read "The Millionaire Next Door" when I was in my 20s, I never thought it sounded like too much fun to have all that money but just leave it in the bank. Now I realize part of being financially independent is about avoiding so-called "lifestyle inflation." I'd rather have a million in the bank that no one knows about than be broke with a million dollar gold and diamond choker around my neck for everyone to see.

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More from this contributor:

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Keeping up with the Joneses' in Terms of Retirement
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