When you want to achieve something, often, the best course of action is to do what the experts do. Find out what the best practice is and follow it. There are many traits of millionaires. I have chosen seven, as they are a bit broader in nature. Millionaires tend to:
1. Get Up Early
Ben Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And, it’s likely we’ve all heard, “The early bird catches the worm.” What exactly does this mean? If you get up early, you get a jump on everyone else. While everyone is sleeping, you are getting a jump on making your day productive. Rise before the sun and you can see beautiful sunrises. Plan your day and accelerate your productivity. Some may meditate, others may pray. You could read or you could study. This could be your most productive time of the day. It is usually quiet. Give it a try.
- Set a Budget
This is where you tell your money what to do instead of your money telling you what to do. When you prepare a budget, you begin to set your financial plan. Spend less than you make. Begin to invest to create the building blocks of growing your wealth. A budget actually sets you free. You assign every dollar you earn to some specific purpose. Pay the rent or mortgage or get it paid off and use those dollars to invest. Eliminate debt and use those dollars to invest. Provide food, clothing and shelter for your family. Create funds for vacations, dining out or just plain enjoying yourself. When you set your budget, you will eliminate those non-essential purchases. Millionaires don’t have debt, don’t keep up with the Joneses. A budget is one of the most effective tools to building wealth. If you do not know where your money is or what it is doing, you are not in control.Millionaires are also generous with their money.
- Set Clear Goals
Millionaires have plans; goals are plans. They have long-term and short-term goals. When you set goals, you create a plan, a roadmap. This is how you know you have achieved success. If you set a goal and you reach that goal, you know you have achieved what you set out to do. Their goals are written and often they need to be adjusted. If you lack a plan, how will you know where you are going? Goals are your plans. You need financial goals, personal development goals, family goals, spiritual goals. You must have goals for a year, three years, five years and 10 years. Adjust them as needed. Just because you set a goal today does not mean you must keep it until you achieve it. You can change it if you no longer have a reason to achieve the goal. When you set goals, you need to be specific. Use SMART goals. You will need to evaluate what will need to happen to achieve your goal. “I will go from X to Y by a certain date.” This is where you can dream and go outside the box. Set those stretch goals. Create a big goal! Then, create the small baby steps that will need to happen along the way to get there.
Most millionaires will tell you that education is key to becoming wealthy. Millionaires are educated formally and self-educated. Many have bachelor’s degrees and some have a master’s degree. The common denominator is self-education. They educate themselves on finance and how to build wealth. They do not watch TV or play games on their smartphones or surf the internet for more than an hour a day. Formal education is a base and self-education continues on throughout their lives, serving them well in both their personal as well as their business life. They educate themselves on budgeting, investing and business in general. Many millionaires are self-employed and hold a four-year degree. They are not doctors or lawyers. Many self-made millionaires are engineers, accountants and teachers.
As a big part of their self-education, millionaires spend time every day reading. Reading is how they learn about business, leadership, investing and life in general. Reading is a part of their continuous learning.
- Manage Time
Time, to some extent, is more valuable than money. People say they do not have time for this or that, but they spend time watching TV, playing games or being on Facebook. Do you see the theme here? Do only those things that will advance your goals! Get on a time budget, schedule everything. Plan your day, week, month and year. Make sure you build time for fun.Calculate the value in what you do. Ask how doing something will get you closer to your goals. If something does not move you toward your goals, don’t do it. Time is something you will never get back, so make good use of it.
Millionaires visualize themselves in certain situations doing exactly what it is they want to do. They do not see themselves failing. They have a winning mindset. Imagine yourself doing what it is you want, such as traveling to some place you always wanted to go, buying yourself something nice, getting that house you always wanted and giving back. If you believe you will achieve, you will. Set the vision and then develop the plan to get there; visualize your success.
So, if you want to implement the best practices of millionaires, you now have a framework. You can spend your time watching the rich and famous on TV or reading about them on the internet. But, if you want to become one of them, it is best you don’t watch them – because they are not watching. Set up your plan: set goals, make a budget, educate yourself, read, use your time to achieve maximum results, visualize your success and, by all means, get an early start! So, now you have the secret. Why wait to get started? QCBN
By Steven Calabrese
Steven Calabrese, CPA, is the CFO of West Yavapai Guidance Clinic. He also is the owner operator of thebiweeklyadvisor.com, where budgeting, investing, paying off debt and goal setting are discussed.