10 Preventable Ways People Are Hurting Their Chances of Becoming Millionaires

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Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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  1. If it were up to most of us, we'd become millionaires by hitting the lottery jackpot.

    Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Even so, there are still simple steps we can take to increase our chances of becoming a millionaire.

    No, it certainly won't happen overnight, but these moves could at least remove any roadblocks preventing us from getting to that goal.

    Take a look:

  2. 1. You're Not Investing Like a Tycoon (Even If You’re Not Rich)

    The stock market can be a scary place. Stock prices shoot up and down like a roller coaster ride, and who knows when the whole thing might crash?

    It would be nice to diversify and invest some of your money in real estate, but don’t you have to be wealthy to do that?

    Now you can invest like the 1% does, and all you need to get started is $500. A company called DiversyFund will invest your money in commercial real estate — specifically, in apartment complexes that it owns — and you only need $500.

    Real estate can potentially earn you more money than the stock market. Over the long term, investing in the stock market will earn you an average annual return of 7%, adjusted for inflation, according to a number of studies. DiversyFund can’t guarantee how its investments will perform in the future — no one can — but historically, it has earned an annual return of 17% to 18%.

    So you don’t need a fortune to invest in real estate. All you need to get started is $500.

  3. 2. You Haven't Taken Steps to Leave Your Family up to $1 Million in Life Insurance (Rates Start at $8/Month)

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    Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now’s a good time to start planning for the future by looking into a term life insurance policy.

    You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.

    Rates start at just $8 a month. The peace of mind of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

    If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.

  4. 3. You're Not Buying Pieces of Amazon, Google or Other Companies (For as Little as $5)

    Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company. 

    But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

    That’s why a lot of people use the app Stash. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies.

    That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google or Apple, for as little as $1.*

    The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends. 

    It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your account.** 

  5. 4. You're Giving Your Credit Score the Cold Shoulder

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    Listen. A good credit score can open up a ton of opportunities for you. It can help you buy a car, take out a mortgage or even open a business.

    So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.

    Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

    James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.

    Getting your free credit score takes less than two minutes.

  6. 5. You're Not Using Up Your Entire Paycheck

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    No, we’re not talking about going to Whole Foods and buying out its fancy cheese supply with your paycheck. Instead, we’re talking about creating a zero-based budget, a budget that finds a place for your every dollar.

    You’ll want to start by tracking a month of expenses. How much do you (or don’t you) have remaining? Then, consider your financial goals. Do you want to save money? Invest money? Pay off debt?

    Work backward to cut your expenses until you can achieve that goal. It might take some patience, but it’ll pay off.

  7. 6. You Could Be Wasting $690/Year on Homeowners Insurance

    You’re probably wasting money right now. And it’s probably on something you’d never expect — your homeowners insurance policy.

    This isn’t something you actively think about — you just know you’re required to have it. 

    The problem is, you’re paying too much. Luckily, an insurance company called Policygenius makes it easy to find out how much you’re overpaying. It finds you cheaper policies and special discounts in minutes. 

    In fact, it saves users an average of $690 a year — or $57.50 a month. It’ll even help you break up with your old insurance company. (You’re allowed to cancel your policy at any time, and your company should issue you a refund.)

    And just because you’re saving money doesn’t mean you’re skimping on coverage. PolicyGenius will make sure you have what you need. 

    Just answer a few questions about your home to get started.

  8. 7. You Haven't Canceled Your Car Insurance

    When was the last time you shopped around for car insurance? Was it more than six months ago?

    If so, you’re probably overpaying — by hundreds of dollars. Yep. Experts say you should compare rates twice a year to get the best deal.

    Twice a year? Yeah, we don’t want to do that either. 

    A service called Gabi does all the shopping for you to find cheaper insurance — with the same coverage and deductibles you already have. And it saves customers an average of $825 a year.

    You don’t have to fill out any forms. Just link your existing insurance account and enter your driver’s license, and it will start looking for cheaper coverage.

    Plus, after you sign up, Gabi will keep looking for savings. No more shopping.

  9. 8. You're Not Learning From Others

    Two woman sitting next to each other in an office-type setting, and they go over material on a cell phone and laptop.
    Drazen_/Getty Images

    One of the best ways to eventually become a millionaire? Learn from others! These could be the millionaires themselves, personal finance experts or real-life people who’ve had success. Search the internet for blogs and websites, listen to podcasts and read books.

    Here are a few of our favorite resources (ahem, besides ourselves):

    • “How to Money” podcast
    • “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey
    • “The Side Hustle Show” podcast
    • “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
    • “The Money Nerds Podcast"
    • “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Samuel
  10. 9. You're Not Adding $225 to Your Bank Account Every Month

    A woman's legs are shown dangling off a green suede couch. Her legs are crossed, and she holds an Apply laptop on her lap.
    Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

    What if we told you a research company would pay you to watch cooking videos on your computer?

    It’s too good to be true, right?

    But we’re serious. InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

    All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.

    No, InboxDollars won’t make you a millionaire, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone. It’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos — a nice boost to your savings.

    It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

    It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

  11. 10. You're Paying More Than $5 a Month For Cell Service

    Ask yourself this: How long have you been with your cell phone provider? Probably awhile, right? Which means you’re probably paying way too much. 

    But we found a discount wireless company called Tello that offers plans starting at just $5 a month. How much are you paying now? Exactly. Imagine cutting that to just $5. 

    Tello operates on Sprint’s nationwide network, offering 4G LTE data everywhere Sprint does. It lets you choose a wireless plan based on how many minutes and how much data you want, and you can even use Tello’s coverage tool to see how strong its network is where you live.

    You can bring your own phone (Tello works with any Sprint-compatible phone), or buy a new one through them. Even better — there are no early termination or activation fees, no contracts or phone-exclusive plans, no tricks of any kind. 

    If you decide you don’t like it, you can always just change your mind. See how much you could save here.

    The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash.

    * This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers.

     ** You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash.

    ***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

    Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.