By a show of hands, how many of you want to be a millionaire? I can’t even see you and I guarantee you raised your hand (at least digitally)! Here’s the thing – the steps to becoming a millionaire aren’t rocket science, don’t depend on luck, and don’t depend on marrying some rich old geezer and hoping he kicks the bucket (no offense to the gold diggers out there – okay, maybe a little offense). If you want to be in the millionaire club, you simply need to act like a millionaire today and the rest will take care of itself. Let’s look into the daily life of a millionaire to learn how.
If you’ve not already done so, you need to read one or all of Thomas Stanley’s books about millionaires. He’s written several, of which I would recommend The Millionaire Next Door, The Millionaire Mind or Stop Acting Rich as good starting points. In each of these books, Dr. Stanley surveys and interviews millionaires for common trends – where do they live, what do they drive, what do they do for a living, how much do they earn, etc. Very interesting reads that will open your eyes to what an “average millionaire” looks like. Using his books as a point of reference, along with my experiences with millionaires, I want to share the secrets to becoming a millionaire – are you ready?
Spend Less Than You Earn
How obvious does that sound?! Even Bill Gates can’t overcome the simple math of income – savings – expenses = 0. If you are spending more than you earn, you’ll never become a millionaire. If you’re consistently spending less than you earn, you’re already on your way to joining the millionaire club.
Understand it Isn’t About Income
Society paints the picture that a millionaire is someone who SPENDS a lot of money. Look at it the other way around – a millionaire is someone who HAS a lot of money. Being rich is not the same thing as earning a high income. I know several people who are millionaires (or close to it) who earn less than I do! It is not about how much you earn – it is about what you do with it.
Look at the Joneses – then RUN AWAY!
As I wrote in my book, “From Debtor to Better,” you should look at the Joneses from a distance and notice how many great things they have…that they’ll be paying for the rest of their lives. Don’t get me wrong – I want you to have good stuff and I want you to enjoy nice things, but I expect you to pay for them. The average millionaire doesn’t have debt – the nice stuff he/she buys is paid for with cash.
Balance Risk and Reward
There are such things as “get rich quick” schemes but for every one of these there are 100 “get poor quicker” schemes. While there is money to be made quickly if you are blessed with good timing, the right skill set and hard work, most of us aren’t willing to make that effort and those opportunities are few and far between. But every single one of us can take the time to strike a balance between risk and reward.
There’s this idea you might have heard about in school called “opportunity cost.” Basically, this concept is the idea that if you do one thing, you have to do it at the expense of another. If you are reading this post, you are doing so at the expense of taking a nap, reading a book, watching TV, etc. You only have so much time, money, etc. with which to make your choices. Most millionaires don’t waste their time on things that don’t produce something of value to them. And this value doesn’t have to be monetary – it could be education, relationships, or a myriad of other things. Become intentional about doing only those things which produce something of value to your life.
Develop Long-Term Thinking
At the risk of going a bit long on this post, I’m going to add one more – start looking at your financial situation as a marathon. A good marathon runner isn’t the one who clocks a fast mile or is in the lead at the dreaded 20-mile mark. Rookies run too fast or try to accomplish only short-sighted goals. The pro marathoner is the one who is still there at mile 26 and can start to see the finish line only .2 miles away. The millionaire looks at his/her finances the same way. There are always going to be short-term distractions for you and your money. Keep a steady pace, recognizing that you still have several miles to go to win, and only you can decide whether to keep going or to invest yourself into that short-term living.