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By Carol Church

“Become a millionaire in 7 easy steps!

“Realistic ways to become a millionaire!”

“How I became a millionaire in one year!”

Join us this September to get started saving.

You’ve probably seen headlines like these all over the Internet, and rolled your eyes at the seemingly unrealistic promises they make. As most of us know, financial stability and security are not typically a quick fix or something that can be achieved with a single “secret.” They take hard work, dedication, and discipline. And no, there is never one single solution.

With all this said, over time, authors, money experts, and researchers actually have spent quite a bit of time learning about the habits, lifestyles, and spending and saving habits of self-made wealthy people (as opposed to those who inherited their wealth). While every situation is different, they’ve learned a few things that may be of use to those among us who are still hoping to make it to six figures. Read on for some time-proven advice.

  • Live on less.

One very basic but often difficult-to-follow rule for accumulating wealth is simply to pay out less than you bring in. We often get tripped up on this one as our income goes up, feeling (quite naturally) that we “deserve” to upsize or increase our standard of living in every area as our income increases. But this is a good way to get nowhere fast when it comes to income accumulation. In fact, many very wealthy people report still following cost-cutting measures like using coupons, looking for sales, and even shopping at thrift stores.

  • Take risks—but not huge risks.

As a group, those who’ve done well on their own report a “moderate risk” investment mindset. They’re not hanging way back, afraid to put money anywhere but under the mattress (so to speak), but neither are they throwing all their cash towards a risky bet. The average investor is generally well advised to do the same.

  • Avoid status purchases.

According to these experts, self-made success really isn’t about the $500 shoes, the $60,000 car, or other status symbol buys. Those who’ve worked their own way to the top report that they rarely indulge in luxury “name brand” purchases, even after they’re doing very well. Many say they buy used cars in sensible non-luxury models. Such choices might eventually seem like “small potatoes,” but this is one way that these people made it where they are now.

  • Cultivate multiple sources of income.

As a group, millionaires are likely to report that they have more than one source of income, not just a single job or business. Obviously, this strategy brings in more money. And if one source fails or is lost, there’s still other income still coming in. For those have the time, energy, and dedication, a side hustle or a passive income method may be something worth considering.

  • Make goals, and work towards them.

It’s hard to make it to the financial finish line if you’re not even sure what it is. In investing, as in the rest of life, it pays off to make goals, and to periodically assess how things are going. Those who do well for themselves financially typically report that throughout their lives, they have made and reached multiple money goals. If it seems intimidating, it may be easier to start small, with something like saving $500 for an emergency fund. Move up from there.

  • Save. Regularly. Early. And a lot.

There’s no particular magic to this advice, right? But it certainly seems to be hard to follow for many of us. Self-made millionaires tend to report that they started saving and investing by age 25, and that they consistently put away 20% or more of their incomes, even when times were lean. Simply following this basic advice from a young age can do wonders, thanks to the basic miracle of compound interest. Of course, not all of us are 25 anymore. Still, those starting later in life can do well, too.

As should be obvious, none of these habits can truly make anyone a millionaire (or even financially secure) on their own. However, they may serve as a valuable reminder to anyone who’s hoping to improve their financial prospects. Good luck out there.

Join us starting Friday when we get started saving small amounts each day of September to save $100 in just 30 days. Register to join the Savings Challenge here.


Elkins, K. (2016). 13 habits of self-made millionaires, from a man who spent 5 years studying rich people Retrieved from

Stark, E. (2016). 12 Habits of Millionaires That You Should Adopt Right Now. Retrieved from

Voigt, K. (2014). 8 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires. Retrieved from

Vozza, S. (2015). 7 habits of self-made millionaires. Retrieved from