Many of the millionaires “started with very minimal paying jobs” and worked hard to develop the skills needed to increase their salary.

“I wanna be a billionaire so fuckin’ bad
Buy all of the things I never had
I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen”

That’s the words of Bruno Mars’ song ‘Billionaire” that almost everyone (in this version or his own) has in his head at some time in life. Unfortunately, a billion dollars, or even a million – is pretty hard to get. However, there is a way to get close to the dream.

John (just John, no surname shared), the owner of personal-finance blog ESI Money spent his past few years interviewing millionaires. He worked as a business executive for 28 years before he retired at age 52 with a $3 million net worth. However, when doing interviews, he doesn’t name his interviewees. Already at the beginning, he says millionaires are just what he had expected and that the findings from these interviews didn’t surprise him much (maybe because he, himself is worth more than $4M).

“It’s easier to accumulate a high net worth if you make more,” says John and he is right but the thing is, millionaires didn’t always earn tons of money. However, during 20 or even 30 years, by focusing on their careers, they’ve managed to do so. Second thing is – saving. Nowadays, some millionaires save more than 50% of their gross incomes, but usually, it comes up to 25% what John calls a “decent level of savings.”

The next big thing is focusing on simple investments, usually index funds and real estate (and not ignore market indexes to have understanding of what is happening). They are used to grow their net worth through earnings, savings and investing – covering the basics. However, it isn’t all nice and dandy proves the fact that millionaires are working long hours so their family life often suffers. The first thing people do, claims John, when they accumulate some wealth is beginning to dial back on the hours and have more family time.

Also, millionaires have multiple sources of income, usually from dividends, real estate and “side hustles”.

Their largest retirement concern is healthcare. In the USA that’s a definitely big concern since, without money, a man is usually left to – well, die. They adore traveling and they plan it years ahead. So, no adventuristic tales for a millionaire.

However, John mentions there are some unexpected aspects of millionaires’ lives. For example, most of them started out with low incomes including minimal paying jobs out of college and through hard work and talent grew that into a very sizeable income. Also, they are making some common investing mistakes regarding the sector in which they are investing. The majority of them don’t have budgets at all – they don’t pre-determine spending in a budget. The reason? They don’t need to.

Only a few of them have their wills and they aren’t that much into charities (they leave that to billionaires obviously). Most of them are checking their portfolios at daily levels for what John says, can be very stressful.

Generally, the pattern of things with millionaires goes like this: earning is more important than generally thought, saving is less important than thought, investing is more important than thought.

The data show that millionaires focus more on earning and investing their savings to grow their net worths.
However, when climbing up the millionaire ladder the focus is a little bit different: earning is less important, saving is more important and investing is equally important.

John advises everybody who thinks they might have what it takes to start focusing early on getting their earning ability ramped up, meaning both growing your career as well as developing a side hustle.

Also, one should control spending using a budget from the get-go and start investing “early and often.”

He concludes:

“Sock away as much money as you can as early and as often as you can to get compounding working for you. Over time you can keep at it or look to expanding into real estate depending on your goals and interests.”

And who knows, maybe, if we try to listen to (at least some) of his advice we could “smile next to the Oprah and the Queen” soon.

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