"MILLIONAIRE MIND" by Thomas J. Stanley 

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Additional thought of Graham White in highlights.

I feel like a non-successful individual who stumbled on the secrets of success and is now using them to achieve their own.  I still don't see myself as one of the "successful" people, rather I see myself as someone looking over the shoulders of the successful and achieving success by copying from them.  

Successful individuals have an intuitive, instinctual process that they use to achieve their success.  They are often not even aware of the processes that they use.  The ACHIEVE system is that actual process that they use, broken down and detailed into tools that everyone can consciously apply to their lives.

By using these principles, anyone can get everything they want in 10 years or less.  

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Steps to Achieving the Millionaire Mind:

  1. Understand the key success factors our economy continues and will continue to reward: hard work, integrity and focus
  2. Never allow a lackluster academic record to stand in the way of becoming economically productive.
  3. Have the courage to take some financial risk and learn how to overcome defeat.
  4. Select a vocation that is not only unique and profitable; pick one you love.
  5. Be careful selecting a spouse.  Those who are economically productive, married people who had the characteristics that are compatible with success.
  6. Operate an economically productive household.  Many millionaires prefer to repair or refinish rather than buy new.
  7. When selecting a home, study, search and negotiate aggressively.
  8. Adopt a balanced lifestyle.  It does not take a lot of money to enjoy the company of your family and friends.  Don't spend to entertain yourself.

Those with the Millionaire Mind balance the need to become wealthy and economically productive with their need to enjoy life.  Most profoundly, the message one can learn from those with the Millionaire Mind is, "YOU CANNOT ENJOY LIFE IF YOU ARE ADDICTED TO CONSUMPTION AND THE USE OF CREDIT".

Breaking the cycle of borrowing to consume, earning to consume and borrowing more and more money is what will develop you into someone with the Millionaire Mind.

People today think they run "their businesses", "their professional practices", and "their careers", but actually work for or are being controlled by lenders.  Many live in luxury homes yet work hard to make payments to the ultimate owner of the mortgage.

Did you know that if you purchase a house that you could afford to double up on the mortgage payment, you would have your house paid off in just 5 years!  In addition, you would save the equivalent of the cost of your house in interest payments!  

That means that if you bought a $200,000 home instead of a $400,000 home and paid it off in 5 years instead of 25 years, you would save yourself $200,000 in interest payments! What would that be worth to you?  To own your house free and clear in just 5 years?  

Is it possible for you to buy a house today that isn't as fancy as you could afford if you stretch your lending limit, but would meet your practical needs?  Do you know what investing that $200,000 that you save in interest payments would translate into when you retire 30 years from now?  Conservatively, half-a-million dollars!  Now isn't that worth it?

92% of those with the Millionaire Mind are married and of those, 95% of have children.

90% are college graduates and 52% hold advanced degrees.

Only 27% have ever had a home of any type, main home, rental property, or vacation home built for them.  They believe that it's better to purchase an existing home than to "get into the building business".  It's much less time-consuming and costs less to purchase homes that already exist and whose history is known.

They live comfortable, but not extravagant lifestyles.  They have little or no debt and tend to buy homes when others are selling.

  • 92% are married and of those, 95% have children.
  • 90% are college graduates and 52% have advanced degrees
  • They are homeowners who tend to buy their homes when others are selling.
  • Only 27% have ever had a home of any type built for them (main, rental or vacation property).  They prefer to buy a property with known history rather than getting involved in "the business of building".
  • Most LOVE their chosen vocation.
  • They are not "do-it-yourselfer's", preferring to hire qualified individuals and applying themselves to their own areas of expertise (those that do-it-themselves tend to have considerable less wealth than those who hire out).
  • They became rich without compromising their integrity.  In fact, they credit their integrity with significantly contributing to their success.
  • They are NOT WORKAHOLICS!  They work hard when they work, but spend a lot of time socializing with friends and family.
  • Their is a positive correlation between the number of lifestyle activities that they take part in and their level of net worth.
  • Often those lifestyle activities bring them into contact with people who eventually become clients, customers, patients, suppliers, or great friends.
  • 93% felt school and college was influential in determining that hard work was more important than IQ
  • They feel that school helped them enhance their ability to properly allocate time and make accurate judgments about people.

THE FOUNDATIONS OF THEIR FINANCIAL SUCCESS ARE:

  • INTEGRITY-being honest with all people
  • DISCIPLINE-the ability to delay instant gratification
  • SOCIAL SKILLS-getting along with people
  • A SUPPORTIVE SPOUSE
  • HARD WORK-they do the things that we all prefer to avoid

Many millionaires had part-time jobs while attending school, and many also spent considerable time learning how to make accurate judgments about people.  Socializing is a key factor that separates those who become skilled at judging other people and those who can't.

If you aim to achieve wealth, it's best to learn multiple skills and qualities, work hard, socialize and enjoy people.

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SOCIAL SKILLS

  • Getting along with people
  • Having strong leadership qualities
  • Having an ability to sell your ideas, products etc.
  • Having good mentors

ORIENTATION TOWARDS CRITICS

  • Ignore the criticism of detractors
  • Have a competitive spirit or personality
  • Have the urge to be well respected
  • Have extraordinary energy
  • Be physically fit

Ignore your critics or use criticism as the inspiration to succeed.  Critics are those who make negative judgments and predictions about other people.  Unlike mentors, who focus on how others can improve themselves, critics are not interested in helping their targets improve.  In fact, they seem to enjoy watching people fail.  It's as if they get satisfaction from watching their predictions come true.  

Critics have a common trait--they are jealous of people with real talent, people with the will to succeed.  Critics lack this same quality--they can't stand other people criticizing THEIR views.  To ensure that they won't be criticized, they aggressively and offensively criticize those who are or will be successful.

Self-made millionaires have had their loan application turned down repeatedly, and in their minds, loan officers are critics.  They tell applicants that "your business will never make it," yet they don't offer suggestions on how to improve the business, or business plan.

But, critics are a necessary part of the system--they screen out those who lack the courage and resolve to take criticism and triumph in spite of it.  You must use negative evaluations to motivate you to prove them wrong.

Keep in mind, the successful population, regardless of intellect, is more heavily criticized than the unsuccessful.  Criticism is a necessary form of hazing, the boot camp for those who want to succeed.  Because successful people don't follow the crowd, they are criticized for being different (until they become incredibly successful, and then every talks about how smart they were to not do what everyone else was doing).

INTEGRITY AND MORAL VALUES

  • Be honest with all people
  • Have a supportive spouse
  • Have a strong spiritual faith

Intellect and integrity are not the same thing.  A high level of intelligence does not offset the lack of integrity.  Integrity is a pass/fail course.  The minute you do something that compromises your integrity, you fail.

NEVER LIE.  Never tell one lie.  If you tell one lie, you will have to eventually tell fifteen more to cover up the first.

It's not enough to say you are honest.  You have to be a role model of integrity for your spouse, your children and everyone else who knows you.

 

CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE

  • See opportunities others do not see
  • Specialize in a profitable niche
  • Love your career or business

People with creative intelligence who apply themselves are among the very most economically successful people.  Millionaires who have high creative intelligence often make one very important career decision correctly: They select a vocation that provides them with enormous profits in an area they love to deal with day in and day out.  They would love doing what they're doing even if they weren't making so much doing it, but they've also figured out the best way to be profitable at it.

Even if you're a genius, it's hard to win a competitive economic battle if your heart and emotions aren't completely behind what you're doing.  Millionaires believe that the fact that they LOVE what they do is one of the biggest factors of their success.

Creative people come up with unique business ideas and often these creative types were not loved by their teachers.  Tell children that there are many ways to win.  Tell them that their creativity, common sense, social skills and integrity count most in the economical arena and most of all, select a vocation you love.

 

INVESTING: THE STOCK MARKET OR YOUR OWN BUSINESS

  • Invest in the equities of public corporations
  • Have excellent investment advisors
  • Make wise investments
  • Invest in your own business
  • Be your own boss
  • Be willing to take calculated risks given the right return
  • LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS!!!

Self-designated wise investors, risk takers and those who invest in their own business have in common that they are significantly more likely to LIVE BELOW THEIR MEANS.  They know they can invest more if they are frugal and spend less on consumer items.

Successful business owners are cost sensitive.  They know where every penny is going and are always looking for ways to be more efficient.  They are completely conscious about how their money is working for them, and if something isn't productive or if something becomes too costly, they change it.

Self-made millionaires are street-smart about money and sensing economic opportunities.  If they felt that market predictions could be accurately and consistently made over time, many would go out and sell their businesses, cash in their shares in law practices, and put it all in the stock market.  This doesn't happen because most millionaires understand what the stock market is and what it is not--it is not something that an individual investor can control or influence.  But most millionaires have a lot of control and influence over their own private businesses, their medical practices and their law firms.  Most have a well0-diversified set of assets and don't place all of their eggs in one basket.

The stock market is one of many depositories where they invest some of their dollars.  But where do these dollars originate?  You cannot invest in the stock market if you don't earn enough money from your primary vocation to pay for more than your food, clothing and shelter!

Only 11% of millionaires indicate that having excellent investment advisers was a very important factor in their success.  Although they have an account with a brokerage firm, most make their own investment decisions. 

Stockbrokers are experts at selling, and if they spend most of their time selling, that leaves little to study investment opportunities.  If the stockbrokers could predict the future, they would never keep on being stockbrokers!  

Stockbrokers DO NOT accumulate as much wealth as others, given the same level of income and age group.  For every stockbroker who exceeded the norm, there were 2.3 business owners who exceeded it.  In fact, stockbrokers make up a disproportionately high percentage of those who have big incomes, yet relatively small levels of wealth!  Either they're scared to invest or are making bad investments on their own part relative to business owners who take more time to research their own trades.

Let that be a lesson to you!  Don't hire professionals who are income statement oriented (people who are more focused on how much they make rather than how much they save).  They have poor perspective and will give you bad advice!

Millionaires do not completely rely on the stock market, real estate or their own business.  They are well diversified.  

 

LUCK VS. DISCIPLINE

  • Be well disciplined
  • Be well organized
  • Work harder than most people....and
  • Luck will follow

Millionaires are well disciplined.  They set their own high goals and then go on to reach them.  They don't have others telling them what must be done.  No one tells them what time to wake up or go to work.  Once at work they determine their own priorities, work schedules and tasks.  

The discipline to manage their own lives well makes them different from so many others who could never survive if they didn't have someone telling them what time to show up to work, what time their breaks started and ended, what time to have lunch, what time to go home and how many days are appropriate to take off.

Disciplined people are not easily sidetracked--they could life in a warehouse filled with alcohol, food, opportunities to socialize, available sex and yet not be distracted.  They could encounter hundreds of economic opportunities and select the one or two that are best suited to their strengths and the market's needs.

Dealing with fear in a positive manner is a foundation to becoming wealthy.  94% of self made millionaires work hard and believe in themselves.  93% Prepared, planned and focused.  Only 32% used prayer to reduce fears and worries.

Fear and courage are related.  Courage does not exist in the absence of fear and danger.

God isn't going to make you wealthy, HARD WORK and financial intelligence makes you wealthy. The harder you work the luckier you become.  There is a clear and very significant correlation between willingness to take financial risk and net worth.  (Risk takers are not likely to be gamblers).

 

INTELLECTUAL ORIENTATION

  • Hard work is more important than IQ
  • Getting along with others is more important than IQ
  • Working smart is more important than IQ
  • Finding your niche is more important than IQ
  • If you do all of these things AND have a high IQ, THEN you will enjoy the advantage of your high IQ

Lear how to make accurate judgments about people.

If you receive an invitation to an investment seminar, ask if you can bring your attorney.  The response will give you a clue to the intentions.  Most millionaires do not have one investment advisor, they have at least THREE!

PHYSICAL CONDITIONING

Millionaires exercise regularly.  In fact, the greater the level of wealth, the greater the level of regular exercise.  They find that their physical conditioning helps them with the challenges they face, especially the level of criticism they often face.  Very few self-made millionaires are lethargic or even noticeably overweight.

Extraordinary natural talent DOES NOT fully account for success!  No man is an island, you must be supported by a great team.  You can only get over the highest peaks with the help of others, so your ability to get along with others is critical.

It is less about investing in the stock market and more about investing in themselves, their careers, their professional practices, their private businesses, etc.

More than physical conditioning, it is also the key to mental strength.  To maintain a healthy, positive attitude and keep your composure in stressful situations without physical conditioning is virtually impossible.

 

GOOD SALESMEN HAVE THE EDGE!  They have the ability to sell their ideas to their employees and suppliers and they have carefully researched and targeted their audiences for higher rates of success.

Thomas Stanley tells the story of a salesman he was working with, Billy, calling up the other businesses secretary and finding out what size of jeans she wore (Billy owned a jeans company).  After finding out her exact measurements, he had a dozen pair of specially made jeans made up for her with Size "8" sewn into them rather than the actual size 12 or 14 that she wore.  THAT is an example of a GOOD SALESMAN!

They do not follow the crowd.  That applies to when they buy, when they sell and how they invest.  Following the crowd is the best way to LOSE money!  If you want to make money, you must educate yourself ABOVE the crowd and LEAD the trend.

They are often successful DESPITE their intellect because they always felt that they had to work harder to compensate for their deficiencies. 

They select a vocation and target where they can most easily emerge as the winner.  They believe that it is easier to love what you do for a living when you win most of the time, if not all of the time, so they select the ideal vocation given their abilities, aptitudes and strong interest in becoming financially independent.

Time is money.  Refurbish quality furniture rather than spending time shopping for new.  (Of course, this means buying quality items that will last in the first place).

Develop a shopping list before you go grocery shopping and buy household supplies in bulk at warehouses like Costco.  Not only will you save money and avoid impulse buying, but you will also find that your in-store shopping time is greatly reduced if you have a list for minimizing in-store minutes.  You can either spend your free time with families and friends, or randomly walking around impulse buying in the supermarket.

In order to get a good deal on the home your purchase, never pay the initial asking price and be willing to walk away from any deal at any time.

Purchase homes that will appreciate in value.  This appreciation is a function of the high-quality public schools in the area.  Sending three children to great public schools will save hundreds of thousands of dollars over private-school expenses.

Use experts, especially consult with tax experts.  Work hard at what you are an expert in and hire other experts to do what they do well, including mowing your lawn and fixing your house and car.

Whether you are rich or not, the best things in life are free, or close to it.  Entertaining friends, studying investments and watching your children are inexpensive and the most rewarding things anyway.

Make your lifestyle one of strengthening relationships with friends and family and involve yourself with activities that compliment wealth building, yet don't prevent your personal life.

 

PERSEVERANCE

Most people who "bomb" the third-grade IQ test, the SAT, and other measurements accept their fate.  Millionaires choose another path--they discredit the authority figures who attempt to degrade them, often repeatedly during their lifetime.  They had the insight, courage and audacity to challenge the assessments made by teachers, professors, amateur critics and the Educational Testing System.

The system, human nature, is prone to say, "You're not any different from me.  You don't appear to be more spectacular than me, so you CAN'T do any better than I did.  I don't accept that someone who is average like me can be far more successful than me because that would mean accepting that I really fell short of my potential".

Millionaires were confronted by one or more significant obstacles in their life.  Without overcoming these potentially devastating roadblocks, they would not have become economically productive.  It was the struggle, the hard journey, that gave them the foundation for becoming successful.  

 

IN REGARDS TO YOUR CHILDREN:

Concerned parent:  "We are very concerned about our son.  With his grades, top colleges are out of the picture."

Headmaster: "Don't worry.  He'll do well in life.  People like and respect him.  They follow him.  He's a natural leader."

It only takes ONE good role model with a powerful message to set up a young person for success.  Why not be that person for some young person?

Millionaires are the products of loving, caring and well-adjusted parents who were weren't divorced.  Millionaires did not grow up in the pressure cooker home environment where they were told things like:

  • "If you don't get good grades you'll never amount to anything!"
  • "If you're not a success in school, your life is over."

It's very common to give up on yourself, but hope for and try to control your children to do it right.

Parents often look back over their own lives and generate a series of "what ifs".  WHAT IF I'd gone to that great university--I'd really be successful today. They realize their own history can't be changed, but parents still have a chance--their children can do it right.  These parents are, deep down inside, living vicariously through their children.  Little do they know that they may be trapping their children into mediocre futures by pushing these achievements unnecessarily.

Instead they are positive.  They support and constructive suggestions provide a foundation for their children's armor plate and these parents never build psychological barriers to future success in their children's minds.  Their fathers did not abuse them, and their parents did not constantly pressure them to excel, excel, excel through negative cues.

Stable people come from stable, warm, caring and loving families.  Those who are unstable tend to be the product of unstable, dysfunctional and high-stress environments.  It's possible to become an economic success if one comes from a background of instability, but it's much harder because financial success requires one to overcome so many other strains and stresses.

Without the conditioning to be stable, it's an uphill climb to become an economic success.  Conversely, the unstable tend to be unfocused and temperamental, and they have difficulty getting along with people, including their spouses and their children.  They also tend to lack the determination and resolve to deal with recurring economic threats, risks, fears and worries.  There are numerous case examples of people who overcame their unstable histories, and they should be praised for their achievements.  This is especially true given the handicap of an unstable home life, but these people are the exception (Graham).

Their parents typically said:

  • "You can do better!"
  • "Let's see if we can figure out a plan to get you back on track!"
  • "I know a great tutor who can help you master that subject so you can feel good about yourself."
  • "I understand, I have trouble with that too, but I've learned that you just have to stick to it until you get it.  It's hard, but it's worth it."
  • "It took a mathematical genius a lifetime to invent calculus, so don't be discouraged if you don't master it overnight."

Many self-made millionaires try to make things easier for their children, and in the process, teach them how NOT to be wealthy!  They buy them nice things, give them what they want, help them financially so they can get into the best schools and create an EMPLOYEE!

Encourage your children to be sensitive to sincerity in those they date.  How do they treat people?  Are they sincere because of their nature and upbringing, or are they able to be sincere only when it benefits them?  If your child marries someone who is dishonest, disloyal, only willing to commit themselves to people or activities that provide a personal payoff, their marriage will likely end in divorce.

There is an important reason why so many millionaires prepare detailed grocery lists--it's the same reason they use discount coupons when buying groceries.  Their children and grand-children observe these processes and eventually develop an understanding of what an organized household is.  

It's useful for the children to help prepare a shopping list, integrating the coupons and certain sale items listed in advertisements.  Teaching young children how to organize, plan, and integrate information will serve them well in the future.

As soon as children can ride a bike, they should be sensitized to the benefits of planning a system with a calendar.  Children should be instructed and required to keep their own calendar.  They can begin by listing their chores, but it should also include the fun things like birthday parties and other social events.

Keep in mind that if you demonstrate being organized and disciplined, your children will imitate your actions.  If you are disorganized in your household environment, your children may follow your lead.  It's more effective to teach by example than to talk about being disciplined and organized when you are not.

There's not a lot of organizing necessary when someone else designs your plan.  Successful people are the ones who do the planning and organizing.

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Millionaires have been turned down dozens of times.  They just move on to the next lending establishment.  They have been conditioned from childhood to discount the critics who way that their plan for the future won't work.  For them, it's merely a matter of time and some effort to find an enlightened lender.

Hard work is more important than genetic high intellect in achieving success.  Millionaires were most likely to be voted "Most Dependable" in high school.  This ranked at 28%, above the next highest "Most likely to succeed" and far above "Most Intelligent" at 12%.

Adversity is essential in bringing out the best in people.  Necessity can sometimes force someone to find out what they have that's unique.  Being unemployable may force you to create your own business.  If you're too qualified for most positions, you may decide it's time to use your expertise to start your own business.  You may begin to instinctively look for a business that will allow you to fully utilize your natural gifts and be much more productive than ever before.

Working for others may actually put you at risk.  Having a single source of income, not being given the opportunity to learn how to make thousands of decisions, decisions you would have mastered if you were self-employed is a disadvantage.  Working for others, you will never build your own customer base.  You aren't doing things that are in YOUR best economic interest.  You are merely doing what is in the best interest of an employer.

Being an employee can smother the fire to succeed.  This is most especially true of government employees who are trained to spend money rather than to manage it carefully to the penny.  There is NO SUCH THING as a permanent job working for others.  Even unions can't guarantee your job (Fletcher's).

Mr. Warren took seven years to bet back on his feet from the great job that he was downsized from.  The seven years were "absolute torture", but it motivated him to become financially self-reliant so no one could ever take that away from him again.

It's rare to find a self-made millionaire who doesn't mention part-time job experience.  It's hard for a person to recognize opportunities if he stays in one place and remains in one job.  Most self-made millionaires have had a rather wide experience with various part-time and temporary jobs.

Don't follow the pattern "they" lay out for you.  Figure out the path that will work for YOU!  It's as individual as your fingerprint.  Don't allow the idea that "they" say, about education, a good job, family, and retirement force you to do what you're not in love with doing.

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Earning a high income does NOT ensure financial independence.  Not all those in high-status occupations even earn high incomes, because many feel a compulsion to spend heavily on status products.

 

FOR THOSE THAT AREN'T AS SMART

Their success was due to being honest, getting along with people and being well disciplined.  They were rated by their teachers as most dependable and most popular.  They did it with the help of others who ARE smart!  It doesn't matter how smart you are, it matters how well you are able to work with and get direction from people who are!  If you're smart, great, you can take your own advice.  If you're average, just hire smart people and have smart friends.

Genius's just don't get it.  They know more and more about less and less.  Millionaires hire genius's.  These geniuses aren't in management or business owners, because they're not people oriented.  They're too focused on ideas and not focused enough on people.

If you're marginal, or even below average in intellect but you want to succeed, you'll have to work very hard.  You will also have to get along with people, work harder than others, and go out of your way to develop empathy for the needs of others.  If you do, you may be selected to lead.

Most millionaires never put themselves in a position where they have to compete directly with those who are intellectually gifted.  They know it's foolish and typically unprofitable to match IQ against IQ.  So instead they hire the intellectually gifted.  They hire lots of them.  Then they let the geniuses compete among themselves.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE THE MISCONCEPTION THAT MONEY IS BORING

Some highly intelligent people feel this way.  They are more excited about doing heart surgery or solving high order math problems than "counting every dime."  Being very, very intelligent can create the drawback of lack of interest in learning financial intelligence.

The wealthy consult with certified accountants.  They realize it's not what you MAKE, it's what you KEEP.  Those who have higher levels of wealth are 3-5x more likely to consult with certified accountants and attorneys regarding investments than with stockbrokers.  Millionaires don't limit themselves to stocks, bonds and related investments--they invest heavily in private business and real estate.

Most decamillionaires attribute their wealth to owning and investing in their own, rather than in other people's businesses, which include the ones listed on the stock exchange.  The millionaires state that they can control their own businesses, but they can't control or dictate policy to public corporations, let alone determine prices in the stock market.  Most will also tell you they believe they are better able to operate a particular type of business than anyone else.  

The "Particular type" is they key element here.  Successful risk takers are market nichers--they do things that others do not do, or, at the very least, they do things in a market area where there are few competitors.  They studied the profitability of different businesses before they took their entrepreneurial plunge.  The wealthy see opportunities others walk by every day.  They are always looking from exceptional opportunities.  They don't believe in waiting for someone else to create it for them.

Study, study, study the area that you are thinking about investing in or doing business in.  It's more important than your academic education.

 

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

Some people assume that the successful have permanent and unwavering belief in themselves.  Not so.  Millionaires have fears and worries, however when they encounter fears, they are able to overcome these feelings.  Successful people know how to defeat fear and worry, and one of the first ways they do this is by calling on their inner self-confidence and belief in their own abilities.

Fear and worry are never defeated permanently.  The really big issue is that economically productive people are able to constantly build up their self-confidence and belief in themselves.  Then it's possible to imagine one economic success following the next.  And accordingly, as continued successes pile up, self-confidence is constantly being upgraded.

So...how does one develop the self-confidence and belief in their own abilities?  It seems this is necessary before one can become wealthy.

 

MARRIAGE

Most singles spend more time shopping for a car than for groups where they are likely to find the type of spouse who will make for a good marriage.  Looking for a spouse is a numbers game in a special way:  The greater the concentration, the greater the probability of meeting large numbers of possibilities.  

Give these prospective spouses an opportunity to meet you!  Once you have become a part of a group, VOLUNTEER!

There is strong evidence that risk takers are especially careful in selecting their husbands and wives.  Statistically, they are significantly more sensitive to certain qualities when selecting their mates: compassion, wisdom, acceptance, self-discipline, security, even temper, virtue, reliability, and down-to-earth temperament.  Risk takers are significantly more likely than risk avoiders to indicate that successful marriage is a function of having a mate who is respectful, patient, cheerful and unselfish.

No one ever became wealthy by spending the household's money on expensive consumer goods like clothes and cars.  No one ever became a millionaire by using consumer goods as status symbols while neglecting their investments in private business or publicly traded stocks.  Early in their marriages they made trade-offs between buying expensive consumer goods and funding a business.  The business was their first priority and they're financially successful today.

Millionaire couples have less than 1/3 of the divorce rate of non-millionaire couples.  This is another factor that distinguishes the millionaire mind--the ability to choose the right mate for life.  (Besides, divorce is incredibly expensive).

Couples who share common interests tend to remain married and there is a correlation between length of marriage and net worth.  But the sharing of common interests and duration of a marriage are nowhere near perfect predictions of wealth accumulation.  If a couple has a common interest in spending all their income, they may shop together and stay married for a long time, but it's unlikely that they'll ever become financially independent.

Millionaire couples are not bothered by the fact that their business or "lifestyle" may not be glamorous or denote high status or wealth.  They know that they're focused on what's really important, rather than surface appearances.  They are motivated to be frugal and productive by constantly reminding themselves that they have accumulated more wealth than most of their well-educated, well-dressed, upscale customers.  (HUMILITY, LACK OF EGO, LIVING BELOW THEIR MEANS)

Couples who are likely to become millionaires are different from the rest of the population in that they are not likely to contemplate divorcing a spouse who has lost their job.  They know that in order to build wealth, one may likely have to forgo realizing a high income for many years.  It's not unusual for wealth-building couples to realize "just enough" to live on, while investing every spare dollar.  Nor is it unusual for many self-made millionaires to report that:

Just after I was fired from my job, I started my own business.  My spouse's income kept us alive for the first few but long, long years!

Most millionaires are self-made and most are frugal.

No longer will I feel apologetic for being so frugal.  We are not CHEAP, we are true entrepreneurs.  We resist the urges to fall into the traps of our high-consuming neighbors who make more yearly income than we do, because we know we will retire with more wealth.

Risk takers list all of the pluses of a venture on one side of the page and the negatives on the other.  First, they examine the list of negative factors, then they deploy the positive features as destroyers of fear.  Even financial risk takers will venture into activities only where the positive features greatly outweigh the negatives.

FOCUS ON WHAT'S ULTIMATELY MOST IMPORTANT

Time and time again, millionaires bolster their courage with thoughts like these:

What if I lost everything?  I would still have what's most important, my spouse and my children.

These statements are as common among millionaires as their desire to succeed.  Case study after case study describes millionaires who selected ideal vocations, operated innovative businesses and made wise investments.  But beneath all these elements are some that are more fundamental.  Stable upbringing, the love of parents, a loyal and supportive spouse, and in certain cases, strong religious faith.  These elements rarely get the headlines in the press when successful people are profiled, but few people make it without them.  For almost all millionaires, their self-confidence originates at home; their parents instilled it in them.

 

RELIGION

Religious millionaires don't pray to God for more, the pray to God for guidance.  They are concerned with people first, money second.  

A CEO who had to eliminate 735 of 1300 salaried middle managers set up a center to help the terminated employees find new jobs.  Using phones, administrative support, counselors and other services, they helped the 735 who needed it to find new jobs.  After the company regained its health, many of those employees came back.  That is putting people ahead of money.

 

HOW DO MILLIONAIRES CHOOSE THEIR PROFESSION?

81% found something that allowed full use of their aptitudes and abilities.  Most people cannot honestly say this.  Too often they accept the job that's offered.  It's just a job, not a labor of love.  (They fall into life, life leads them, they don't lead it).

6% did something recommended by a guidance counselor.

In order to find the ideal career, you first have to understand yourself.  What are your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes?  Use your past to help you figure it out.  Millionaires have had other unrewarding or unpleasant job experiences before they found their ideal vocation.

People who are exceptionally productive ENJOY the work that they're doing.

Find a very profitable market niche.  Otherwise, you can beat your brains out with everyone else who is doing the same thing.  Competition will make it so you can't make a profit.  Business owners who became wealthy in one generation are "nichers" and they have little competition.

So many businesses fail within a year or two of opening because people select a business and don't have a clue about the real probability of success.  It's not how much you study or even how long--it's WHAT you study and how well it can be leveraged into the business world.  Knowing the odds of success can make all the difference.  Pick a business with lots of competition and your degree may not save you.  Pick a winner, and the law of economics may not punish you for never spending a day in college, never fully mastering the English language, or being born outside the country.

If you're open enough to observe, you will find a niche...and it will work.  You must be an opportunist.  If you lack this killer instinct, it's unlikely that your ventures will be productive.  Some can't see the opportunity, you HAVE TO be able to see it.  Some of the brightest people never see an opportunity staring them in the face.

Time and time again, even MBA students are unable to come up with the answer to THE TEN MOST PROFITABLE SMALL BUSINESSES.  Most business majors have no intention of starting their own business, they intend to work for someone else who will pay them a salary, so they don't know how to see real opportunity.

Corporations hire executive who are ambassadors.  They are symbols of excellence, so they must be handsome, well grounded, educated, well dressed, politically oriented, personable, and articulate.  They aren't required to have the same killer instinct as the business owner.  

Much like teachers who can instruct on the principles, but don't take the time to see how the principles connect with actual opportunity.  If your economics professor isn't a millionaire, question why he isn't even taking the time to research and implement his own instruction.  He doesn't need to become a stock broker, just an investor in sound businesses with what's left over after he pays his expenses.

If you love your work and it excites you every day, if you know that your chosen vocation is one that allows full use of your abilities and aptitudes, if you get high self-esteem from your work, and if you are absolutely certain that your vocation will make you financially independent one day, then you should have no difficulty focusing on your goal and working at a high level of productivity.

All of this revolves around your becoming a collector of data and information that have value if they are concentrated.  Too many people lack focus; they are not collectors of anything--not data, not customers, not specific marketable skills.  On the other hand, collectors can read one newspaper and find several ideas or pieces of information about something they see as an opportunity.  In 20 years they can generate a collection of treasure.  Non-collectors often don't understand what they should be doing given their aptitudes and abilities.  They can read thousands of newspapers and not add one item to their collection.  Perhaps they never started one or worse, they hate their jobs.  In the long run, it's impossible to work at a high level of productivity if you dislike your work.

The key is to find the job that's well suited to your talents, and then it's easier to fall in love with it.  But you should also find one that has the potential to make you wealthy.  If you account for these factors, you'll be amazed at how well disciplined you become.  Time and work hours pass quickly when you're having fun.

The ideal vocation is not always easy to find.  In fact, most millionaires have had several other jobs before they found the ideal one.  If they had been content to stay with that first job the accepted right out of school, or if they had stayed in a job they disliked and were not content with, then most would never, ever be millionaires today.  It takes experience with situations that are less than ideal to learn to appreciate the right vocation.

Stress is a direct result of devoting a lot of effort to a task that's not inline with one's abilities.  It's more difficult, more demanding mentally and physically to work in a vocation that's unsuitable to your aptitude.

The vast majority of first-generation millionaires will tell you they selected the perfect vocation.  For people who are interested in becoming wealthy in one generation, the perfect vocation is the one that allows full use of your abilities and aptitudes.  

 

DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS

Successful business owners realize that customers are collected one-by-one.  It isn't enough just to be physically close to customers, you must have empathy for their needs.  You must take the time and energy to study their needs.

 

EDUCATION

Students who get the most out of their formal education are those who fully realize the specific value of what they're studying.  If you really enjoy and want to enhance and broaden your skills, then you are likely to find some element in each and every course that will help you reach your goal.

The earlier in life you determine what you really want to do, really want to become, the easier and more purposeful your training will be.  It's much easier to get through the "basic training" of college if you know what you will be doing for the rest of your working life (and it's something you're in love with).

 

LIFESTYLE

Live Below Your Means

The typical millionaire is, in three words:  A CHEAP DATE!

They spend time:

  • Socializing with children and/or grandchildren
  • Entertaining friends at home.

Too many young people feel that real fun has a dollar cost built into the equation.  Millionaires don't depend on consumer goods to enjoy life.  Their pleasures and self-satisfaction have more to do with their families, friends, religion, financial independence, physical fitness and perhaps some golf.

They also spend a lot of time volunteering fund-raising.  If you want to meet the wealthy, begin volunteering for fund-raising organizations.

 Remember how much fun you had as a child with your close friends?  Millionaires don't spend much to entertain with close friends either.  They play bridge or have a few friends over for dinner, no big expense. socializing with your children and/or grandchildren

Many upscale neighborhoods have few millionaires.  Most millionaires don't feel the need to have their story told in the Wall Street Journal or on 20/20.  They prefer to be featured in their industry's trade magazine.

Only a minority of multimillionaires travel overseas for the sole purpose of vacationing.  For most, there is some other issue at hand, usually a mix of business, investing, and pleasure, but not necessarily in that order.

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There is a simple rule about becoming wealthy:  NEVER CONSIDER RELYING ON OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY TO MAKE YOU RICH.

Is it true that the early bird catches the worm?  Perhaps, but people are not robins.  If becoming a millionaire was a direct function of getting up earlier than others, many school-bus drivers and milkmen would be rich.  Most are not, so it's not that easy.

Being first is important in another regard.  If you are the first to come up with an innovative product, you'll probably beat out all those who get up earlier than you because they place greater importance on arriving early than on developing a creative product.

There are almost NO self-made millionaires who are civil servants (work for the government).  They have a completely different orientation than other civil servants.  They want to be compensated based on performance and wouldn't want it any other way.  They are not interested in an arrangement that pays them for punching a clock.

 

HABITS

Most people are shocked when they learn that many millionaires enhance the productivity of their households with the following practices:

  • Having furniture refinished instead of buying new
  • Switching long-distance companies
  • Buying from discount warehouses
  • Waiting for a sale or using coupons

If you can reduce your food and household spending by 5% and invest it, you would have between $200,000 and $800,000 at retirement depending on when you began.

More than two-thirds of grocery store shoppers are impulse buyers.  They show up at supermarkets without a list, or only a partial one.  They wander around the store without a game plan and are likely to spend more time searching, and therefore more money buying.  You might think that the rich have a maid do their shopping, in fact most do it themselves (this may be changing in the last few years).

I am a big believer in eating healthy food and exercising, but I am very careful with food purchases.  I clip coupons and eat at home rather than going out.

The wealthy select a home and neighborhood very carefully.  It may mean paying more for a home initially and having higher property taxes, but long term, they know that the value is sure to increase.

I believe in living in the best section of the city...location, location, location...I will do without fine cars and other niceties, but I insist on affording the best home possible.

Be price sensitive with respect to products that lose all or most of their initial value as soon as they are purchased.  If you purchase an expensive suit or dress today, how much is it worth at tomorrow's garage sale?  Perhaps 5 or 10% of the original purchase price?

Wear stylish clothes that have been worn once and then taken to the second hand store by the ridiculously wealthy.  If some of those items don't fit perfectly, have them altered, like 4 in 10 millionaires do, rather than buying new (this includes altering their own clothes as well).

Some people believe hand-me-downs are junk, they believe new is always better.  The wealthy collect and use "antiques", things that are of exceptional quality and can be refinished or sold in the future for more than they were purchased for.  They will pay more for something initially, as long as it will be worth even more in the future.

They deliberately purchase furniture today that they can pass on to the younger generation tomorrow.  This, in essence, is their definition of quality furniture: it will outlive a person's normal adult lifespan, will never lose its appeal, and will appreciate in value.

You can refinish high-quality furniture over and over.  Fabric selection is much easier than selecting new furniture.  The wealthy prefer to refinish rather than repurchase. 

Most millionaires live in single-family homes of traditional design.  Their homes are filled with traditional furniture that never goes out of style.  Their furniture is made out of solid wood, not particle board.  They prefer solid wood, in some cases, quality veneers placed upon high-grade solid hardwoods because high-quality furniture appreciates in value.

The majority of millionaires have a family legacy of collecting, saving, and preserving.  Waste not, want no is a theme acted out by first-generation millionaires.  They even go so far as to make sure they are spending as little as possible on utilities by turning down the thermostat at night and when they aren't home.

The wealthy seem to have a confusing mixture, the wear expensive clothes, but don't spend much for automobiles, they use discount coupons, but live in an expensive neighborhood.  They may appear to be barely hanging on, but in fact, they are just investing more money into things that give them a return on their dollar.

 

 

BUYING A HOME

  • DON'T go out and buy a house with a jumbo mortgage simply because you just finished celebrating a record year in income or salary!
  • Be willing to walk away from any deal on any home at any time.
  • Don't pay the initial asking price.
  • Never try to purchase a home within a short span of time.
  • Consider searching for a home that was part of a foreclosure, divorce settlement, or estate sale.
  • Buy homes that will significantly appreciate in value.  This is done by purchasing in the right areas.
  • Assume that your income next year will be cut in half.  Could you still afford the home?
  • If you insist on building a custom home, talk to your accountant and attorney to get referrals for a contractor.
  • Sign a tight contract that your attorney approves, but never cut a deal that squeezes the contractor so tight he will resent you.  
  • Make sure you are well educated in the process, the contractor will respect you more and do better work if they know you know what's going on.
  • Ask the builder for the actual cost data from homes he recently built.

Before you even begin considering buying a home, take time to study the clues.  Ask why the owner is selling.  He may not tell you that it's because his neighbor's home is becoming an eyesore.  It is very easy to overlook the condition of the homes that surround the one you are interested in.  Often people speed past these other homes.  Slow down, walk the neighborhood, and closely examine the other homes.  what percentage need exterior work?  How many need new gutters?  How well are the lawns and shrubs kept?  Who are your prospective neighbors?  What do they do for a living?

Economically productive millionaires shop aggressively for homes.  They take weeks, even months to shop around for the very best deal.  They buy fine homes, but at discounts generated by aggressive price negotiating and by looking for foreclosures and other real estate that had to be sold in a hurry.

They never place themselves in a position where they are forces to accept a substandard home.  Let's say you are looking for a home and your search turns up two choices.  One is 25 years old, occupied by the original owner.  The other home is in the other area and has been occupied by eight different owners.  Odds are that, like most millionaires, you would pick the first home as your choice.  Eight owners leave eight different traces of their existence on and in the home.  Wise buyers prefer the "one owner, 'low mileage' model."

They seek help from top-rated real estate agents and tell the agent:

We're not in a hurry to buy.  We can wait, but we are serious buyers.  When a "lovely" home is listed, we want to be told as soon as possible.  But remember our parameters--it must be in top notch condition and it must be in the right location.

36% of the decamillionaires indicate "bargain shopping" for a home that was part of a foreclosure, divorce settlement, or estate sales.  Some prospective home buyers search the obituaries for early evidence that an estate sale may be forthcoming.

They sell when prices are high and buy when prices are low.  They often buy bargains in their own or adjacent neighborhoods  (because they tend to be experts on these markets).  Some take residence in these bargain-priced trophies; others use them purely as investment vehicles.

It's not unusual to find an affluent household that has traded up or traded down to another home several times.  More and more it's within the same adjacent residential community.  When they discover a bargain-priced home in their "area of expertise," they pounce on it.

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