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5 Habits of Millionaires and How to Make them Work for You

Save like a millionaire to live like one.

Barbara Reinhold, Monster Career Coach

April 21, 2009

5 Habits of Millionaires and How to Make them Work for You

The economy may be in a funk, but it would appear career expectations are still flying high. According to a study of college students at the Ernst and Young International Intern Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida, in August 2002, 59 percent of these young leaders expect to be millionaires within their lifetime. What's more, five percent of them expect to hit the million-dollar mark while in their 20s.

Perhaps they haven't read about the 11 percent decline from 2001 to 2002 in US households with more than $1 million. Internationally, the picture is a bit brighter, as the number of people with more than $1 million to invest rose 2.1 percent to 7.3 million. The largest increases were in Asia and the Middle East, with while North America and Latin America had slight drops.

However, there are some consistent patterns among those people who plan to earn a million dollars, and these five strategies may be worth emulating.

Avoid The Earn-to-Spend Mentality

Michael LeBoeuf, author of The Millionaire in You points out that to increase wealth, it's essential to emulate millionaires who view money as something to save and invest, rather than income to spend. Many wealthy people live quite simply, he points out, choosing less pretentious homes than they could theoretically afford and opting for financial independence over material showmanship.


LeBoeuf also counsels resisting the impulse to be scattered in your efforts and interests. "Winners focus; losers spray," he says. And goals that are clearly written down are easier to keep in focus.

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Do Whatever Is Necessary to Meet Your Goal

People who earn their millions are able not only to focus, but to persevere in the pursuit of their goals. One single mom entrepreneur, Melissa Clark-Reynolds, started her first business, a health and safety consultancy, when she had a young son. En route to her goal of being a millionaire by age 35, Clarke-Reynolds and her son ate lots of pizza, did homework late at night and often slept at the office. She is now a chief executive mentor for Empower New Zealand, a global business consulting firm headquartered in London.

Take Calculated Risks

Perhaps it goes without saying, but you have to take strategic risks to earn and grow money. And a little rebelliousness seems to help too. One interesting study found a majority of male millionaire entrepreneurs had been in trouble with school authorities or the police during their adolescence.

Be Generous

And why doesn't it surprise us that millionaires are often very generous? Sometimes it's for the tax breaks, obviously, but often it's not. Among the most generous of millionaires are those from North America, who are, according to a Merrill Lynch Cap-Gemini report, two to five times more likely to give to causes they value than their European counterparts.

These five millionaire habits are a pretty good prescription for living happily, whether or not the money follows. But LeBoeuf insists it's not so unusual to be a millionaire, noting that one in 14 households has a net worth of $1 million.

And are the folks in those households happy? Yes, says professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick, UK. After studying more than 9,000 people over eight years, Oswald concluded that people who come into money are happier. The happiest among them, he further says, seem to be "highly educated, well-paid women who have jobs."

So how much money does the professor say it takes to be happy? "About $1 million, give or take a little."

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