Play the Doubling Game (The Path to a Million Dollars?)


Disclosure: This article is not intended to be financial advice and information should be taken as educational only. Read the disclaimer.

You've probably heard that money makes money.

But have you ever stopped to think about just how powerful that concept can be?

What if I told you that if you have $1,000 in your bank account, you're just 10 doubles away from a million dollars?

That's right. It sounds pretty exciting, but also ridiculously simple.

But let's be clear from the start.

I'm not promising you an overnight journey to a million dollars – we all know that kind of thinking is a recipe for disaster.

But it could be a new way of thinking about building wealth that could potentially change how you go on the offensive with your savings, assets, investments, and your overall financial health.

Let's start to unpack this game a bit more.

The Basics of the Doubling Game

Here's the main idea.

$1000 is 10 doubles away from $1 million.

$1000 doubles to $2000, then $4000, $8000, $16k, $32k, $64k, $128k, $256k, $512k, and then ultimately becomes $1,024,000.

That's the doubling game.

When you read that through it shows the game is actually a bit more tangible.

Instead of $ 1 million being this abstract, unsurmountable sum, it becomes a series of achievable steps.

Yeah, I know that's a loose use of the term “achievable steps”.

It's a simple game, but not an easy one.

I love the concept of gamifying a process so that it creates levels I can identify that signify my progress.

That's why this doubling game seems to speak to me.

The beauty of this game is its flexibility – you're the player, and you get to set the rules.

What you play with, the timeframe, the way you do etc.

The key is to find your path, your technique, the right opportunities, and be strategic to find the way to get your doubles.

Playing the doubling game with multiple assets

In this doubling game, flexibility means that there's no single way to play.

You don't need to start with $1000 in the bank and turn that into $1million in cash.

My personal take is that you can look at something like your overall net wealth and determine how long it might take you to double that multiple times over the years.

Your net wealth of course is the sum of all the assets you own – property, shares, superannuation, cash in the bank etc. minus any liabilities like debt.

The reason to think about net wealth as the target of your doubling game is that you are not prioritising one avenue of growth – like an investment portfolio or property.

You have a number of different financial sources growing and contributing to your doubling.

Imagine this – you start a career, you get paid, and you buy a house.

Over time, the value of that property grows.

The same growth applies to your superannuation.

You set up an account, add consistent contributions to that and with the mighty power of compound interest grows over time.

Your home and super would form to combine a large part of your net worth that, over time, can potentially double multiple times.

And that's something many of us are achieving over the course of our lives. So we are in a way playing the game without even knowing.

But what if we wanted the bigger doubles (like 128k to 256k to 512k and onwards) happening sooner?

This is where money excites me because the more active we get the quicker it can possibly happen.

The Power of Actively Building Assets

It's crucial to understand, and I want you to really grasp this, that the doubling game shouldn't just be a passive waiting game.

Being active in the doubling game would mean you create a strategy or series of choices that involve building and expanding your assets.

One where it's not just about making your money work for you, but about you working for your money as well.

Sounds counterintuitive, right?

Let me explain.

When I talk about ‘assets,' I'm referring to everything in your financial arsenal.

This could include property, superannuation, savings, and investments like shares or funds.

Each of these assets is a tool in your doubling game, each with its own potential for growth.

For example, the property can appreciate over time, superannuation grows thanks to employer contributions and compound interest, savings can earn interest in a high-yield account, and investments can yield returns based on market performance.

Now, the trick here is to take an active role in building these assets.

This means regularly contributing to your superannuation, consistently saving a portion of your income, investing wisely based on your risk tolerance and market knowledge, or strategically buying and maintaining properties.

In my own doubling journey, I've always tried to actively grow my asset pool.

Every dollar I've put into savings, every property I've invested in, every share I've purchased, has brought me one step closer to my next double.

The more I've been actively doing the results have come quicker than if I was passive.

It wasn't just about waiting for the market to move or for my property to appreciate.

It was about taking the reins of my financial growth and learning, testing, and experimenting with how to make money with money.

When you take an active role in building your assets, each double can happen faster.

Even the simple, repeatable process of contributing.

Playing the doubling game this way transforms it from a simple numbers game into a strategic, dynamic journey toward financial growth.

My experience playing the doubles game

My take on this doubling game is not so much the aim to get to $1 million dollars but to find a way to double money 10 times so that you can use that skill again and again when needed.

It can teach you some great financial skills to grow wealth, so it's definitely a situation where the journey is more important than the destination.

You can learn a lot from the early doubles, turning $1000 into $2000 through some simple savings.

Then as you turn a few doubles over it moves from simple saving to more assets that will grow and compound over time.

And unlike something like a physical sport where the more experience you gain the more exhausted your body gets, I feel that I keep getting stronger in my abilities.

My financial journey has gone from working out which savings account to get to managing my own stock portfolio of US shares.

That's been my evolution but I won't lie, the journey hasn't always been smooth.

But you know what?

The bumps along the road have only made the game more exciting and the victories more satisfying.

Since learning of the doubling game concept, I've been looking back at my net wealth to see how long it's taken to achieve a double retrospectively.

And taking what I learned from each double to make the process quicker and smoother the next time.

How do you get there?

It's a balance of what you are willing to risk to get to the end and in what time frame you want to do it all.

How to Play The Doubling Game

Here's what you can do. I'm going to base these steps on the idea that you want to grow your overall net wealth but you can use them to target a specific area of your financial life (like just savings).

These steps can be taken if you are looking for your first double all the way to your 10th or onward.

  1. Identify Your Assets: Let's start with taking a snapshot of your current financial situation. What do you own that could potentially increase in value? It could be your house, a savings account, your superannuation, or perhaps some stocks you bought a while back. Recognize these as your assets – your tools for playing the game.
  2. Define Your Goal: Next, decide what you aim to achieve. Are you targeting a million dollars? Or perhaps another amount motivates you more? Remember, this is not a race against others. The doubling game is about bettering your own financial situation and outperforming your ‘past self.'
  3. Know Your Risk Level: Understand how much risk you're comfortable with. Younger folks might be okay with taking more risks because they have more time to bounce back. But if you're older, you might want to stick to safer bets. Remember, this game should be fun, not stressful.
  4. Decide Your Timeframe: Think about how long you want to play this game. Do you want to reach your goal in 10 years, 20 years, or more? Knowing your timeframe helps you strategize better.
  5. Design Your Game Plan: Using your goal, risk level, and timeframe, come up with a game plan. I chose to invest in stocks, but that's not the only path. Find what works best for you.
  6. Start Playing: Once your plan is ready, it's time to take action. Remember, the hardest part is often starting. So, don't wait for the ‘right' time because the best time to start is always now.
  7. Check Your Progress: As you go along, keep an eye on how you're doing. Celebrate your wins, learn from your setbacks, and tweak your strategy if needed. The journey towards your goal is a learning experience in itself.

If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by all of this, don't fret.

Financial literacy is not something we're born with, it's something we learn.

And trust me, the investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Taking the time to understand financial concepts, like the effect of compounding, risk and return, and different investment options, can greatly benefit your doubling game.

Consider reading financial books, attending workshops, or even seeking advice from a financial advisor.

The more knowledgeable you are, the better financial decisions you can make.

And remember, in the game of doubling money, there's no one-size-fits-all strategy.

What worked for me (i.e., investing in the stock market) might not work for you.

It's all about finding your unique path and enjoying the journey.

Understanding the Rule of 72

Now that we've gone over how to start your own doubling journey, it's time to introduce a handy little tool that can help you estimate how long it will take for your money to double: the Rule of 72.

The Rule of 72 is a simple way to find out how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of return.

For use the rule, you divide 72 by the annual rate of return.

The result is approximately the number of years it will take for the initial investment to double.

For example, if you have an investment earning an annual interest rate of 6%, your money will take roughly 12 years to double (72 ÷ 6 = 12).

This math here provides a good estimate and can help you make quick calculations on how your money can grow over time.

Bear in mind, though, that the Rule of 72 is a simplification.

Actual results may be slightly different due to factors like compounding frequency or changes in interest rates.

However, for a rough and quick estimation, it works well.

By understanding and applying the Rule of 72, you can better strategise your doubling game.

It helps you estimate how long your current game plan might take to reach your doubling goal.

If the timeframe is longer than you'd like, it might be an indication that you need to seek ways to achieve a higher rate of return.

Of course, this might also mean taking on more risk, so always keep your personal risk tolerance in mind.

The Rewards and Challenges of the Doubling Game

The doubling game is not without its challenges. Market downturns, economic recessions, or just plain bad luck can put a dent in your assets.

But the biggest challenge is perhaps patience.

Doubling takes time and there's no shortcut to this.

But the rewards? They are worth it. Watching your assets grow, the satisfaction of hitting your first double, the thrill of achieving financial independence — there's nothing quite like it.

And its not just the over results you get, which is your money doubling but the fact you are building a real skill in knowing how to double money. How long it takes, what assets work best for you.

That fact alone is such a massive reason why I have so much confidence in myself with money.

It's not because I'm fortunate to have it but I have a number of skills that I have learnt and built over time that can be used to create money.

If the tangible stuff went away tomorrow I know I could start again with that first double and make moves.

So it's very much the journey as much as the destination.

Achieving Doubles Over Time

Throughout life, many of us naturally accumulate assets and wealth. We buy homes, save money, and contribute to our retirement funds – all these actions help our net worth grow over time.

Some of us may even achieve several ‘natural doubles' in our lifetime.

But, when you decide to play the doubling game intentionally, the whole process accelerates.

You're not just letting time and luck run their course; instead, you're actively steering your ship toward the shores of financial independence.

The control is in your hands, and with every calculated move, you're not just growing your wealth, but also your financial literacy and confidence.

This is more than just a hobby or a pastime.

It's a financial strategy, a mindset shift, and a journey toward wealth and independence.

It doesn't matter if you're starting with $1,000 or $100,000 – every double gets you closer to your goal.

So, why not give it a shot?

Assess your assets, crystallize your goals, devise your plan, take that first step, and remember to review your progress along the way.

You might surprise yourself at how engaging, rewarding, and enlightening the journey can be.

You're not just doubling your money; you're doubling your financial understanding, doubling your self-confidence, and potentially even doubling your options in life.

So, are you ready to play?

Related Articles

Tim Ellis, creator of, helps people confidently invest and manage their money. Inspired by his own experiences, Tim is passionate about creating a financially secure future for his family and sharing his personal finance knowledge with others.

Leave a comment