Look Rich or Be Rich: Develop a Millionaire Mindset to Achieve Financial Independence
To obtain the type of financial independence you’ve been dreaming about all your life, you must learn to develop a “millionaire mindset”. Thomas Stanley and William Danko, in The Millionaire Next Door, explain that most wealthy people and self-made millionaires drive used cars, live in average neighborhoods, wear average priced clothes and watches and are very careful with their money.
In addition, very few of them buy boats, recreational vehicles, second homes, personal airplanes or invest in expensive vacations. Stanley and Danko point out that there are “Those who look rich, and those who are rich.” Your job is to be one of those people who are genuinely rich, rather than those who spend a lot of money but who have very little in the bank.
Develop a Millionaire Mindset
Truly wealthy people develop the habit of “getting rich slow” rather than “getting rich quick.” To assure this, they have two rules with regard to money. Rule number one: Don’t lose money. Rule number two: If ever you feel tempted, refer back to rule number one, “don’t lose money.”
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Wealth people spend much more time thinking about their finances than people who remain poor. The average adult spends 2-3 hours each month studying and thinking about their money, usually at bill paying time. The average self-made millionaire, by contrast, spends 20-30 hours per month thinking, studying and planning his finances. This millionaire mindset, the very act of focusing on your money, will dramatically improve the decisions you make with regard to it. Wealthy people who invest more time planning their finances invariably make better decisions, get better results, and achieve financial independence.
Develop the Habits of Wealthy People
With regard to your growing bank account and goal of achieving financial independence, millionaires develop a series of other financial habits to assure that they don’t lose money, and that their money grows steadily over time. During the cultivation of a millionaire mindset, one of the best financial habits you can develop is the habit of getting good financial advice before you do anything with your growing account. Ask around and find a financial advisor who is has already achieved financial independence by investing his or her personal money in the areas that he or she recommends to you. Your ability to choose excellent financial advisors can be the critical factor in making good investment decisions.
Develop the habit of investigating before you invest in anything. The rule is, “Spend as much time investigating the investment as you spend earning the money that you are thinking of investing.”
Fast financial decisions are usually poor financial decisions. Develop the habit of taking your time, of moving slowly, of finding out every detail of the business or investment before you ever think of writing a check. Never allow anyone to pressure you into an investment decision. Never allow yourself to feel that a financial investment decision is urgent and must be made immediately. A wealthy man I worked for once told me, “Investments are like buses; there will always be another one coming along.”
Sometimes, the best investments are the ones you never make at all. Make a habit of thoroughly understanding the investment before you ever think of parting with your hard earned money. If there is anything that you do not understand, or which seems too complicated for you, do not put your money in that area at all.
Wealthy People Never Trust to Luck
An important habit for financial success is the habit of insuring properly against any risk that you cannot write a check to cover. It is amazing how many people have spent years accumulating money and then lost it all because they did not have proper insurance policies in place. Develop the habit of using what I call “worst possible option” (WPO) thinking. Always ask yourself, “What is the worst possible thing that could happen in this situation?”
No one likes to spend money on insurance, but it is one of the smartest things that you can possibly do on your road to financial independence. By insuring properly, you will never be caught off guard by an unexpected accident or emergency. An additional benefit of being fully insured is that it gives you a feeling of calm confidence that allows you to think more clearly and be much more effective in everything else you do.
Wealthy People Cover Their Assets
As you begin to accumulate money, develop the habit of protecting your estate from unnecessary taxes and frivolous lawsuits. Invest in the services of a lawyer who specializes in wills and estate planning. Set up a family limited partnership, under the direction of a good lawyer, and transfer your assets into the partnership so that they cannot be seized in a lawsuit, or taxed away if something were to happen to you. As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Small actions that you take in planning, investigating and insuring your assets can save you an enormous amount of money on your road to financial independence.
Do Your Homework
In addition to the habits discussed above, another important habit that wealthy people develop is the habit of carefully considering every expenditure before they make it. This involves getting as much information as possible on the various prices and costs involved in any financial decision. The power is always on the side of the person with the best information.
Develop the habit of negotiating more effectively to get higher prices when you sell and lower prices when you buy. A good negotiator can save or gain 10%, 20% and more on every financial transaction. Each dollar saved or gained is additional money that you can put away to accumulate and grow in your financial fortress account.
Develop the habit of asking for higher prices when you are selling and asking for lower prices when you buy. Ask for lower interest rates. Ask for better terms and conditions. Ask for immediate payment when you sell and ask for deferred payment when you buy. Ask repeatedly. Ask pleasantly. Ask courteously. Ask expectantly. Ask confidently. But don’t be afraid to ask. Ask for what you want, and if you don’t get it, ask for something else.
Achieve Financial Independence…Slowly
Most great fortunes are built slowly. They are based on the principle of compound interest, what Albert Einstein called, “The greatest power in the universe.” In full 99% of cases where people become wealthy, it is over a long period of time, and it is based on slow, incremental growth as the result of compound interest.
Every dollar that you save, properly invested and protected, has the ability to grow 5% – 10% each year. As your money grows, it compounds on itself, and grows even more. According to Stanley and Danko, it takes the average millionaire 22 years to accumulate a million dollars from the time he gets serious about his financial life. Most wealthy people get rich slowly, by gradually increasing their earning ability, saving more and more from their income, and investing it carefully and intelligently so that it grows and compounds over the years. You must do the same.
More Than the Millionaire Mindset
Achieving financial independence as the result of developing Million Dollar Habits is a great goal in itself, but it is not the most important thing. It is the person that you have to become, in terms of courage, character, thoughtfulness, and persistence that is most important. As the result of becoming financially successful over a long period of time, you will feel truly happy and satisfied with yourself, and with every other part of your life. This is the most worthwhile goal of all.
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