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Published: May 03, 2024 7 min read
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Rangely García for Money

This is an excerpt from Dollar Scholar, the Money newsletter where news editor Julia Glum teaches you the modern money lessons you NEED to know. Don't miss the next issue! Sign up at and join our community of 160,000+ Scholars.

I’m no stranger to goal-setting. In fact, I have so many goals that I mentally divide them into three categories: reasonable, lofty-but-achievable and straight-up impossible.

I like to think I’m realistic enough to know what I can and can’t accomplish. For instance, I feel I could write a book. I could buy a restaurant-grade margarita machine. But am I ever going to be taller than 5 feet, 4 inches? Will I ever be able to afford my own Brooklyn brownstone? Probably not.

For most of my life, I placed the idea of becoming a millionaire into that last category: straight-up impossible. I don’t come from money, and I work in media, so I’ve never had high hopes for my net worth. But news about the rising number of 401(k) millionaires, alongside reports about the vast sum required for a comfortable retirement, have me reconsidering.

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