Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires. Shhh…

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Reader’s Digest has an article titled Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires. The “secrets” aren’t exactly groundbreaking:

  1. Set your sights on where you’re going
  2. Educate yourself
  3. Passion pays off
  4. Grow your money
  5. No guts, no glory
  6. Stop spending

… but I always enjoy reading such stories anyway. In addition, sprinkled throughout the article are several interesting quotes which hit home for me.

They are motivated by freedom

What motivates them isn’t material possessions but the choices that money can bring: “For the rich, it’s not about getting more stuff. It’s about having the freedom to make almost any decision you want,” says T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. Wealth means you can send your child to any school or quit a job you don’t like.

Most did not start out rich

The reality is that 80 percent of Americans worth at least $5 million grew up in middle-class or lesser households.

They have a passion for what they do

According to research by Thomas J. Stanley, author of The Millionaire Mind, over 80 percent of millionaires say they never would have been successful if their vocation wasn’t something they cared about.

They don’t flaunt their wealth

But many modern millionaires live in middle-class neighborhoods, work full-time and shop in discount stores like the rest of us. […] According to the 2007 Annual Survey of Affluence & Wealth in America, some of the richest people “spend their money with a middle-class mind-set.” They clip coupons, wait for sales and buy luxury items at a discount.

All of these characteristics are ones that I aspire to have!

The idea that “millionaires are all around you but you just don’t notice them” reminds me of the popular book The Millionaire Next Door. In fact, Stanley above was a co-author. (Sadly, the other author Danko now speaks at get-rich-quick seminars.) The book has been bashed at times as being statistically flawed and simply telling people what they want to hear. Perhaps, but I think there is more than a little truth behind it as well.

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  1. Another great post.
    My main motivation to be a millionaire is to have more time to pursue other activities such volunteer work and learning.

    you can only buy so much stuff.

  2. Some of the best advice I ever got was from a supervisor (before they canned me a couple months later). It was after a large raise and he told me to live on my current income, take the extra money from the raise and put it in a savings account or something, but don’t go out thinking “sweet I’m making (for example) $5/hr more I can buy all this cool stuff.” You then start buying stuff you don’t really need just because you can.

    Even years later, I’m at a new job and got a decent raise last year, although I didn’t go on a spending spree I put more money towards paying off my CCs and put the rest in a high interest savings. Now next raise I get I may give myself a little raise. and then throw the extra money towards bills / savings.

  3. I think the key is the motivation to be free. Imagine waking up and not having to work, or being able to do whatever job you desired, including a greeter at Wal-Mart.

    It is much easier to avoid buying useless junk when you realize it will slow you from becoming financially free.

  4. its great.. thnx

  5. Joseph Sangl says

    I LOVE getting to do what I get to do for a living! I took a massive pay cut to be able to do it, and I have NEVER regretted that decision!!!

  6. I am a “millionaire”,and it IS great to be able to do whatever I want!
    My family is the typical “millionaire next door”, although we do live in a house that is nicer than most.
    My DH and I were both brought up in a single parent household, and started out poor!

  7. Usually for those are attempting to find to be wealthy they really are motivated not so much for the money, but more for the meaning and for finding purpose.

    I mean I’m not a millionaire .. yet but for those that i speak to they have this incredible energy about them and you can see that they are really passionate about what they do.

    At the end of the day its not so much the money but the purpose that it gives you.

    I love hearing of these books such as the millionaire next door, but i dont like hearing about it when people dont like them. i guess everyone is entitled to their opinion and one of the only reasons why some people drag or disapprove these people’s teachings is because they dont want to take accountability for their own actions.

  8. Stock Research says

    I have always believed it is more about the pursuit of freedom than anything else. One of the great sories along these lines is the guys who developed HotMail. They were engineers trying to find a way to communicate new business ideas to each other without using their company email.

  9. If you aim for freedom you might get exact opposite. You have to be willing to put 80 hours of work each week for a long time untill you will mold business in such way that leaving it on its own will not make it collapse. Major motivation I think is doing something because you can find purpose in it. That you can leave positive impact on world. You cannot be motivated purely by self interest – do less hours and receive money. You need to know clear answer whether business you do serves purpose to others and whether you are happy with that. Also, eventually you have to think about money because no matter how exciting is idea or that what you do, you can carry it on only if you have positive cash flow. Period. You have to be money savvy too but not greedy.

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