Ok, I’ve stopped spending. Now what?

If you’ve read the Eccentric Millionaire series,1 you already know the value of saving your income. But to actually make the transformation from overworked wage-earner2 to millionaire, do you know what to do with all that unspent money? You want to save your limited time, so where do you put your money to make it work for you?

What if you have debt? A car payment, student loans, medical bills – what comes first? Can you save at the same time? How should you consider the tax benefits of a mortgage, the immediate 100% return on an employer-matched 401(k) contribution, and, you know, food? Does your age matter? When and how can you get that 7% average annual return The Vigilante keeps harping on, and can it be done without taxes leeching away half your pay?

Fear not. We have the Regularly Revised Millionaire-Maker Flow Chart of Freedom.

Becoming a millionaire – or becoming independent at whatever FI number you choose – really is pretty simple. In fact, it turns out that the transformation from wage-earner to millionaire can be represented by a (relatively) basic flow chart!3 To make the most effective use of this chart, download and fill out the Frustratingly Practical Vigilante Budget Template in the order provided by the chart. If you have money left over after accounting for any node, congratulations – you can move on to the next node!

As it happens, The Vigilante is currently powering through the final node of the Debt-Clearing Stage, while Mrs. Vigilante is in the process of working through the Wealth-Building Stage. As soon as my moderate-interest rate student loans are defeated (or the interest rate sufficiently reduced by way of refinancing and/or home equity loan – a subject for a future post!), we’ll be powering through Millionaire-Making Stage together!

Millionaire-Maker Flow Chart of Freedom Last Updated 4/8/2017

Special thanks to BigLaw Investor, Financial Panther, Poorer Than You, and Married and Harried for their input!

  1. If you haven’t, what are you doing with your life?!
  2. And slave to a boss, a client, an alarm clock, a routine, and oh shit is that a stain on your shirt? Better get that dry cleaned today!
  3. Variation from this procedure is fine, in special circumstances – it’s all a guess as to which asset or liability is likely to result in the best return for you, over the time period in which you will be seeing earnings on that asset or making payments on that debt. Your experience will vary, but these guidelines will be at or near the ideal allocation of your income for the vast majority of us regular Joes.

9 Comments on "Wage Earner to Millionaire: A Flow Chart"

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This would be useful if I made a respectable amount of money!

Any info on what makes a person eligible for different accounts or why one is better than the other? Nice blog btw kudos


why would I take financial advice from a poor person.

Biglaw Investor

Because he’s right?


I love this chart! The breakdown is great and covers just about anything. My only question, what do you think about swapping the HSA and IRA nodes since the HSA has the chance to never be taxed?