Business Insider (and forbes to a lesser extent) are flooding the younger generation with all of these seemingly simple ways to become a millionaire (see "13 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires"), and they're usually written by journalists, not millionaires, so beware of treating them as gospel. They all seem to 's life lessons about treating people well, having fun, reading books, etc., but it's just not that simple.
I don't disagree with ANYthing on the list, but here are some things I've noticed from the self-made millionaires I've worked with.
1. They take risks.
This can be things from moving to a different country on an assignment, even if this means leaving family behind to work in singapore for 5-8 years. this could mean starting a business after getting laid off from a F500 gig. all of the millionaires I've worked with have taken some sort of risk that, while calculated, definitely got them over the hump in terms of wealth and success.
2. They understand the power of equity.
This can be in terms of ownership, compensation, whatever. all millionaires I know built wealth with equity, either in their business, via company stock, etc. this kinda leads into the next one...
3. They are all owners in some fashion.
This does NOT mean you start your own business, but it means you own something. if that's your client base, like with IB, if that's a business you started, division of your company, territory for sales, industry for sales, whatever, you own something. this makes you independent if you're an entrepreneur and very difficult to replace if you're an employee.
4. Their knowledge is narrow and deep.
Every millionaire I know is smart, but to different degrees. what they all have in common is expertise in a narrow area. they're leaders in their marketplace, company, discipline in some specific area, rather than being a "marketing guru" or a "tech whiz" they may focus on network security for companies in the industrial space, specifically auto, defense, and oil & gas (just as an example). the difficult part for young people is to know what to specialize in early on. this is why having "lines in the water" is important. as you go through life, certain areas will catch your eye. if you're smart, you'll be aware of trends in the world and in your industry, so if for example, you're in tech and you think that VR is the next big thing, maybe you bone up on that. this does not mean you have to be a pioneer in everything, but I think there's tremendous value in specializing.
5. They live well below their means.
This may sound counterintuitive. I mention how millionaires take risks, are all equity, and most aren't afraid of a little bit of leverage (something I didn't mention earlier), but they also are calculated in how they take risks. most of them will live below their means on the way to the top and continue to save a high % of their income once they've made it. I think this is the simplest thing to explain but I also don't think you'll become a millionaire making $100k a year saving 10% (or even 20%) for 20 years. kids come along, houses, cars, debt all piles up, and unless you advance your career, you won't become a millionaire.
6. They can sell
Every millionaire I know can sell, even if they're not a salesman. they can sell themselves when looking for a job, they can sell potential investors on their future, or if they are a salesman, they can sell their product/service. the takeaway here is while they are knowledgeable, they can distill that knowledge into a concise pitch that can be understood by someone not in the industry, they turn complex concepts into simple concepts.
Mod Note (Andy): This post was originally posted as a reply to this post: 13 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires and is so on point I thought it deserved its own standalone post on the homepage.