Becoming a self-made millionaire is something everyone dreams of, but very few actually achieve. With excuses so easy to come by, people get lost along the way and become complacent when, truth be told, it’s not the hardest thing in the world to do.
The Millionaires of Today
Most self-made millionaire today were not born rich, slingshotting their success off the backs of their families. No, a Forbes article shows that 59% of the Forbes 400 are self-made men and women, with the number continually on the rise as online businesses are developing. They all went through the same stages of life as you and me, got out of college indebted, and struggled with it for the first years of their career. So, what did they do differently?
What Makes a Millionaire
“After you become a millionaire, you can give all of your money away because what’s important is not the million dollars; what’s important is the person you have become in the process of becoming a millionaire,” Jim Rohn says. He believes that being happy with yourself is an essential step in becoming a self-made millionaire. This way you are free to focus on the more pragmatic aspects of this endeavor. Check out this article, which shows a different and helpful way of looking at your life.
Thomas Stanley and William Danko, on the other hand, believe budgeting is the way to earning your first million, and talk about this in their book, “The Millionaire Next Door.” In their book, they show how careful self-made millionaires are about spending, and how they always keep a close eye on their bank statement.
Saving up is another thing any self-made millionaire has in common. Everyone seems to agree that 10% of what you earn is a good amount to deposit in a savings account every week. Dave Ramsey, a famous financial author, even went as far as to calculate exactly how much you need to save per month. He claims that saving $100 per month from age 25 to age 65 at a growth rate of about 12% will result in over a million dollars ($1,176,000). If patience is one of your virtues, you won’t even have to work that hard to get your bank account to 7 digits.
One Step at a Time
“As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me” is a book written by Josef Martin Bauer, which tells the story of a German POW who escaped a Siberian prison camp during World War II and reached Iran. The protagonist always struggles to make it the next few miles, never the full distance. The small feeling of achievement every time he reaches a self-set marker helps him escape one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.
Don’t always think about the million. Struggle to reach a hundred thousand and steadily climb from there. Be careful to always keep the final goal in the back of your mind and do not get sidetracked along the way. You will be tempted to do so every time you reach one of the self-set milestones.
The More You Know…
While hard work compensates intelligence it, it will never replace it. Go to college and don’t be afraid to major in something unusual, as long as you like it. Although a career in IT would seem like a safe choice, keep in mind that niche businesses are made successful by dedicated entrepreneurs. Meaning the next big surprise could come to be yours, as long as you believe in yourself.
Never Buy What You Don’t Need
Most millionaires chose to live below their actual means on the road towards their first million, never buying things they did not need, and always thinking hard and long before spending a large sum of money. Warren Buffett never moved from the first house he bought at the start of his career and said that, “Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning, and, most of all, self-discipline.”
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
The easiest way to come up with ideas for making money is learning from like-minded people. Whether you read a famous business man’s biography or talk in person with successful people, the knowledge you gain will always be helpful. You won’t even realize it when the ideas will start flooding your mind and things start moving.
If you are in college, always pick the brains of your professors. They are experienced individuals who not only know the theory behind what they are teaching, but can also provide real-life examples to make everything easier to understand for the uninitiated. Study hard and always have questions for the next course.
In the end, a self-made millionaire is nothing more than a person who has the freedom to make unbound decisions about his or her life. This should be your ultimate goal. As long as you like what you do, work hard, and don’t get side-tracked, you won’t even notice when you’ve reached your destination.