Earning a salary, investing wisely and living below your means is enough to become a millionaire, eventually.
By John Rampton
I’ll be honest. There were definitely several times throughout my life when I never dreamed of becoming a millionaire. I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I felt like that was meant for much smarter people than myself.
The first was when I was working construction and suffered an accident that almost prevented me from walking again. The second was when one of my business ventures was killed overnight by Amazon.
After years of perseverance and changing my habits, I was able to start a successful company and worked my way towards that millionaire statues. The thing is, I’m not an exception. Those thoughts of self-doubt that I had are very common. There are plenty of people just like each one of us that have become multi-millionaires.
Here are a few habits that I’ve noticed that average people like you and me do on a daily basis to change away from negative thoughts to positive thoughts and become millionaires.
1. They read for self-improvement.
I’ve always been an avid reader. I’ve noticed, however, that reading wasn’t just something I enjoyed. It was probably one of the biggest influences on why I became successful.
For example, as an entrepreneur, my reading habits helped me become a stronger and more effective business owner and leader. For the average millionaire, reading can help them grow and learn. In fact, according to research from Thomas Crowley, 85 percent of self-made millionaires read two or more books per month.
While there’s a time and place for leisurely reading, millionaires read books that encourage self-improvement. This includes topics like how-tos, biographies, self-help, leadership, or current events.
2. They create multiple streams of income.
The average millionaire doesn’t just rely on one source of income. They have multiple streams of income. This way they can handle any economic downturns, as well as make even more money.
In most cases, this involves having a passive income. This could be in the form of interest from loans, dividends from investments, capital gains, royalties, or rental income. Other types of multiple sources of income could be from starting a side business that doesn’t involve active work, such as running a website or selling information products.
3. They live on a monthly written budget.
Millionaires didn’t earn their money by luck. They’ve taken the time to understand what’s coming in and what’s leaving their bank account every month. In other words, they create and stick to a monthly written budget.
Budgets can eliminate unnecessary expenses and keep full-control of their financial future. Additionally, monthly budgets prevent overspending allow millionaires to achieve financial goals that they’ve established.
4. The don’t leave money on the table.
You can’t accumulate wealth by “leaving money on the table.” That’s why millionaires, no matter what their salary is, are aware of tax-avoidance strategies. As explained by Philip Van Doorn on MarketWatch, “If you work for a company or organization with a 401(k) or similar tax-deferred retirement plan, chances are your employer makes matching contributions.”
So “if the employer matches up to five percent, it means that if you contribute five percent of your pretax salary to your retirement account, the employer will also put in five percent. Boom — you just realized a 100 percent gain on your investment during the first year, and set aside the equivalent of 10 percent of your salary.”
“It’s not enough — 20 percent total savings per year is more like it — but it’s a start, and if you don’t make a contribution of at least the maximum match, you’re simply losing a lot of money. Over time, you should also work to maximize the annual 401(k) contribution.”
The IRS allows for a basic limit of contributions of $18,000 a year, with an additional $6,000 once you reach the age of 50.
5. They avoid debt.
The wealthy avoid debt at all costs. They live a frugal lifestyle and only make purchases for items that they can actually pay for. They don’t book a vacation and use their credit card to pay for the entire trip. This way they’re not paying those hefty interest rates. They prefer paying with cash because it has zero percent interest.
If they do use a credit card to make a purchase, they’re certain that they have enough money to pay off that bill when their statement arrives.
6. They set daily goals.
Whether they’re setting financial projections, planning weekly tasks, or looking for ways to have multiple streams of income, millionaires are known for setting daily goals. This helps keep them focused and build momentum.
When establishing daily goals, make sure that you prioritize. This means doing the most important thing first. For example, if you want to make more money, then you should pursue activities that can make you thousands, instead of chasing actions that earn you hundreds.
7. They don’t act rich.
Thomas Stanley, author of “Stop Acting Rich: …And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire,” says “that most prestige makes of cars — 86 percent — are driven by nonmillionaires. Yes, people with very high incomes, high levels of wealth are more likely to drive status automobiles. But in sheer numbers, the largest consumer segment for pricey cars, vodkas and homes is not the millionaire population, it is the aspirationals.”
Stanley adds, “These are people who think they are acting rich via their adoption of prestige brands, but in most cases they are only acting like each other.”
Researchers from Experian Automotive found that “61 percent of people who earn $250,000 or more aren’t buying luxury brands at all. They’re buying the same Toyotas, Hondas and Fords as the rest of us.”
The reason? They’re not willing to spend the money on a premium vehicle that is going to drop up to 70 percent in value within the first four years. It’s also why they avoid leasing cars because it ultimately costs more money. Instead, they invest in items that increase in value.
8. They’re entrepreneurs.
According to the “Millionaire Next Door”:
“Twenty percent of the affluent households in America are headed by retirees. Of the remaining 80 percent, more than two-thirds are headed by self-employed owners of businesses. In America, fewer than one in five households, or about 18 percent, is headed by a self-employed business owner or professional. But these self-employed people are four times more likely to be millionaires than those who work for others.”
Even though it’s completely possible to become a millionaire working for someone else, millionaires would rather earn their wealth doing something they love. After all, life’s too short.
I can attest to this fact. Even though I had some great gigs previously, I wasn’t able bring-in the money that I am as an entrepreneur. It was risky, and there were times I stumbled, but it’s been worth it both financially and personally.
9. They’re patient.
Even though we hear those stories of the person why became a millionaire overnight, the reality is that that’s few and far between. The average millionaire lives by the motto that patience is a virtue. That’s why the millionaire next door doesn’t achieve that status until they’re 50 years old. They earn a modest salary, invest wisely and focus on living below their means instead of searching for get rich schemes.