I’ve always been intrigued by wealth in our North American society. I would like to share some of my core findings and get you on the way to becoming wealthy and fulfilled. First, a few questions.
Are your core values in line with most millionaires?
Are you setting wealth goals and tracking them honestly in order to substantially increase your net worth?
Who are you? Is wealth part of your life equation?
What does it mean to be a fulfilled millionaire?
Pick up any newspaper and you’ll see there is plenty of news about millionaires. They seem to be proliferating like bunny rabbits. Each year the North American millionaire ranks grow. Let’s be crystal clear, being a millionaire means having a net worth of a million dollars. In accountant geek talk, this means having more assets then liabilities. Just because you live in a big house and drive a flashy car (with that pretty scarf around your neck) doesn’t necessarily mean you are a millionaire. Underneath all that chutzpah may be huge loans and the ever-mounting credit card debt. And don’t get me going about credit card debt – there’s another subject that has seen plenty of news coverage lately.
One of my favourite books is the well-researched “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD. He writes that most millionaires are normal folk, who don’t look, dress or eat or act like our North American perception of millionaires.
Here are a few research statistics quoted from “The Millionaire Next Door.”
· “We live well below our means. We wear inexpensive suits and drive American-made cars. Only a minority of us drive the current-model-year automobile. Only a minority ever lease our motor vehicles.”
· “Most of our wives are planners and meticulous budgeters. In fact, only 18 percent of us disagreed with the statement, ‘Charity begins at home.’ Most of us will tell you that our wives are a lot more conservative with money than we are.”
· “We have more than six and one-half times the level of wealth of our nonmillionaire neighbours, but, in our neighbourhood, these nonmillionaires outnumber us better than three to one. Could it be that they have chosen to trade wealth for acquiring high-status material possessions?”
See the point? It isn’t about putting your high consumption lifestyle on display. It isn’t about trying to be Tiger Woods, Brad Pitt, Donald Trump or any other highflying celebrity. It’s about being thrifty, having more appreciable assets then debt, keeping a budget, investing, elbow grease and most importantly clearly understanding who you are, your core values, and instituting clear goals and habits.
What are a few core values most millionaires might have?
· Freedom: Freedom might mean worrying less about credit card debt — or any debt, for that matter.
· Control: Control may mean understanding your financial situation and creating a budget.
· Wealth: Having a core value of wealth will continuously strengthen your millionaire thinking.
· Thrift: Thriftiness is staying away from buying that feeds your insecurities or dissatisfaction. Thrift means buying a used car instead of leasing that brand new fantasy car.
· Appreciation: A foundation for millionaire thinking. Appreciation isn’t about always buying what you love. It’s about loving what you have, including family and friends.
What are a few millionaire-thinking goals that you can begin implement right now to get you on your way?
· Create a household budget.
· Track debts and pay them down by consolidating loans.
· Track expenses using software, such as an Excel spreadsheet or throw all your receipts in a shoe box and add them up each month.
· Every time you are tempted buy something, honestly ask yourself whether you really need it or want it. You’ll be surprised how many times you only want it.
· Quit buying the latest gadget. Maybe you don’t really need a video Ipod.
If you’re already taking good care of your money, then it’s time to step it up to the next level.
· Contact a financial planner and look at investments.
· Start planning your own business.
· Investigate how you can save on taxes.
· Teach your children about accumulating wealth early, so they don’t beg for money later.
As you can see we all have different values, goals, habits, choices or needs.
One more statistic: CNN Money reported this year that there are 700,000 more millionaire households this year than in 2004. The growth is largely due to measured planning and active reinvestment.
It’s not rocket science, people. Is there anything stopping you now? Let’s get going.
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