Although there’s almost nothing that can safely guarantee you a million dollars, there are certain habits that can get you a lot closer to earning your first million.
We’ll get into the mindset of self-made millionaires and techniques that assured their financial success — often regarded as “habits of millionaires”.
If you follow these, you will likely become more assertive, self-aware, maybe even rich but at the very least develop some good habits.
Let’s analyze different ways of thinking about personal finance and what you can do to get into the mindset that’s the most likely to set you off on a journey of financial success as well as personal development — because it all connects.
Are you in? Let’s go.
Firstly, let’s define a common way of looking at things, through the perspective of non-millionaires, i.e. most of us.
Many non-millionaires act “cool” and like to laugh off wealthy people (especially if they work too hard) often regarding them as “loonies”, or “obsessed workaholics”.
Cynicism and sarcasm might be cool in your close circle of friends, but interiorizing the snarky remarks that you’re likely to throw around is a surefire way of subconsciously limiting yourself.
Low effort and carelessness are funny to see but dig a little deeper and you’ll notice a big issue behind this — in reality, this attitude doesn’t actually get you anywhere.
This is true, however harsh it may sound. Society teaches us to be humble and be satisfied with “enough”, which way too often translates to “the bare minimum”.
In the end, this simply leaves you:
Feeling stuck in a loop? Does your life feel like “Groundhog day”? Everyone’s been there at some point. But how long until people realize this? The sad reality is that some of us never do.
But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re willing to make a big change — and that’s great.
Realizing that you’re capable of getting out of this dead-end is the hardest part. Way too many of us don’t believe that you can really change your life from the inside out.
The fact of the matter is that many non-millionaires often live like they don’t actually have any control of their lives, and they’re basically controlled by everything external.
If all you do is fulfill daily tasks with no long-term aim, you’re essentially living on autopilot.
Bear in mind, this is not saying: “Every non-millionaire thinks like this/does this”. But trying to minimize or eliminate these types of thoughts and behaviors will surely bring you multiple benefits.
It all has to do with simple perspective changes regarding wealth building and managing personal finance in a way that’s supposed to ensure financial growth.
We can’t exclude luck (or lack of it) as one of the factors, but regardless of your stance on lucky breaks, try tuning yourself to “Every man is the architect of his own fortune”. It’s a great place to start.
A Self-made Millionaires Mindset
Let’s go deeper and explore what often hides in a millionaire’s mind. And let’s exclude the “sudden inheritance” or “trust fund millionaire” types and look at examples that reached their million through careful budgeting and planning — the self-made type of millionaire.
The first thing to know is that “I’ve gotta make a million no matter what!” doesn’t necessarily have to be your average millionaire’s mindset from the start.
Their focus is “deliberate living” — living with a well-designed plan for what they really want to accomplish and maintaining a balance between soul-satisfying relationships while building their wealth.
And now let’s contrast our own habits of self with their “rich habits” — a term coined by Thomas Corley in his book “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals”.
Corley writes: “There is a cause and effect associated with habits. Habits are the cause of wealth, poverty, happiness, sadness, stress, good relationships, bad relationships, good health, or bad health.”
The good news, according to Corley, is that all habits can be changed.
We’ve all heard stories of great millionaire innovators that changed the world: whether it be Jeff Bezos with Amazon or Steve Jobs with Apple.
This probably brings us all to the same conclusion:
Millionaires sell big ideas. But having these big ideas is just the tip of the iceberg — actualizing them is a whole new level. Here’s how some of the famous millionaires did it — and how you can do it too.
The likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett all swear on this.
Organizing and prioritizing are the key factors. This means asking yourself a lot of difficult questions:
What am I trying to accomplish? How can I realistically accomplish it?
Whether it’s budgeting, planning their week, or looking for ways to establish multiple streams of income, millionaires are known for setting themselves daily goals that make their long-term goals more possible each day.
This keeps them focused and builds momentum.
When establishing daily goals, prioritizing is of utmost importance. This means doing the most important thing first.
Simply put: if your long-term goal is to make much more money, then you should pursue deals that can make you thousands of dollars, instead of hundreds.
Yes, most self-made millionaires are avid readers.
Regardless of if you wholeheartedly enjoy reading or look at it as a “task”, adopting a reading habit is an important part of the day of most successful people.
In a way, after you’ve organized your week, you can interpret having enough room left for reading as a sign of great organization.
According to Thomas Crowley whom we already mentioned, 85 percent of self-made millionaires read two or more books per month. A good rule of thumb for monthly reading is one book for leisure and one book that encourages self-improvement.
Apart from books, working on yourself and your growth includes “nourishing your interests”, which means being up-to-date with the current events in your field of choice.
Your reading list should include topics like how-tos, biographies, self-help books/audiobooks (choose the ones that suit you best), or business magazines (e.g. “Forbes”).
This doesn’t necessarily have to mean “following the stock market” every day — it just means that your daily actions should always be aimed at broadening your understanding of your field.
This way you both increase your chances of bringing innovation to the world and your chances of making your first million.
Following influential people from your area of interest on LinkedIn is a great place to start this journey. Don’t forget to keep a record of what you’ve learned and get to work — you’ll thank yourself later.
Even though it’s completely possible to become a millionaire working for someone else, it’s far more likely that you’ll make your first million by becoming a business owner.
However, building a business with “a million dollars in your savings account” as your primary goal is probably going to make it a lot harder for you to achieve your dream than having a strong passion for something.
From a psychological standpoint, it will feel like a lot less time if your first million comes as an extension of something you’re already passionate about. Take considerable time to reflect on what this is and don’t hesitate to pursue it.
Self-made millionaires created their sources of income themselves. The average millionaire doesn’t just rely on one — they always have multiple backups.
In most cases, this means having an active income as well as a passive income.
A millionaire’s income is often interest from loans, dividends from investments, capital gains, royalties, or rental income.
You could also establish a passive income, by starting a side business that doesn’t involve active work, like running a website or selling information products, or another small business that requires little time.
Most rich people have taken the time to understand the specifics behind what’s coming in and what’s leaving their bank account each month. In other words, they have a monthly written budget and stick to it.
By carefully planning your budget, you can eliminate unnecessary expenses and keep full control of your financial future. Making a plan will prevent you from overspending — and allow you to achieve your financial goals.
This may seem obvious but it’s often easier said than done. Outside of the mortgages on your home, you should make sure to reduce and eliminate all debt. Make this your primary goal before pursuing anything else.
If you want to build wealth, paying interest on consumer credit, like credit cards and car loans means wasting your money and makes your first million a lot further.
For example: Make a priority of paying credit card balances off in full every month and on time, because most credit cards charge high interest whenever you carry a balance. Get accustomed to thinking like this for all your expenses to minimize them.
Having a solid reserve of cash for an emergency goes a long way. A rainy-day fund is great if you encounter an unexpected expense, like an urgent car repair or medical bill.
This way, you don’t need to charge the expense onto a high-interest credit card, take out a loan and thus you’re more likely to remain within your monthly budget.
If all of this seems a bit much don’t worry — there still are ways to make your transformation gradual by starting small.
You don’t have to take big leaps on your path to self-improvement. You can take Baby steps and introduce small changes into your daily habits.
Here’s some practical advice on how to apply the habits of millionaires and become more motivated and disciplined.
And don’t do this just for the sake of it. Get up earlier and use the extra time to improve yourself in some way: by reading, studying, networking, or informing yourself on things that are connected to your field. Try it. One week can completely change your point of view.
Make a daily to-do list and follow it through. Do this for each day, for one whole week. Keep track of this in a diary — and you’ll see how much progress you’ve made regarding your weekly organization. You’ll most likely be amazed.
Getting out of your comfort zone is extremely difficult — but the feeling of being emotionally shaken to your core can oftentimes considerably expand your viewpoint.
In his book “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others”, Daniel H. Pink distinguishes between three so-called “jolts”, as follows:
„Mini Jolt: Sit on the opposite end of the conference table at your next meeting. Travel home from work using a different route from normal. Instead of ordering what you usually do at your favorite restaurant, choose the eleventh item on the menu.
Half Jolt: Spend a day immersed in an environment not typically your own. If you’re a schoolteacher, hang out at a friend’s law office. If you’re an accountant, take an afternoon and spend it with a lifeguard or park ranger.
Full Jolt: Travel to another country, with a culture different from your own. You’ll likely return jolted—and clarified”.
Some of the habits of millionaires previously mentioned were lifted from the book “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley.
Whatever impressions you may have of reads like these, try not to shy away from them. They can help you break out of your comfort zone and possibly move you profoundly.
Another recommendation is “The Millionaire Mind”, from the same author.
The biggest obstacles of self-made millionaires are debt and expenses. There aren’t that many shortcuts to minimize these — it always boils down to lowering your expenses and boosting your income.
Again, this certainly is a case of easier said than done, but the following strategies will probably get you a lot closer to establishing control over your finances.
One way to lower your expenses is by implementing the concept of velocity banking to pay off your mortgage more quickly.
The concept is based on utilizing a line of credit to help use cash flow and extra money to cover the expenses and go toward paying off the mortgage.
Try implementing the concept of infinite banking to lift your income. We won’t give away too much here, other than we managed to pay back rent and then earned 36% interest with this concept.
Try to implement the financial methods commonly used by millionaires to build your wealth.
Most notably: monetizing your assets as much as possible.
If you already haven’t, try building your perfect asset: the one that provides you with consistent cash flow reduces taxes, requires little to no work, and has a tangible asset value.
Another way to increase your income is a side business: by monetizing your hobbies and interests.
Your side business could be online or offline and is often called a “hobby business” because it usually takes a form that relates to the owner’s hobby.
For example, if you are tech-savvy or enjoy working online, you may sell things on eBay, create a website, or promote your services through a site like Fiverr.
The end goal is to organically increase your income, while still leaving room for self-development. Devise a plan, be consistent and write everything down. Good luck!
We’ve covered some of the most common steps and ideas to become more assertive and generate more wealth with your lifestyle.
Some of these could still feel a bit too distant or even obscure for you. But if there’s one thing to take away here, it’s the “forward” mindset.
Shake away the feeling of being stuck in a place. Establish control, lean forward, and be just slightly more confident in yourself. Persevere in whatever you choose: baby steps or big leaps.
Remember that the purpose isn’t to seek perfection but to chase the feeling of being proud of the steps you take, the things you do, and the progress you make towards your goal.
Set your goal. Strive. Endure. And little by little, it gets better.