By Hillary Hoffower
Millionaires have more than just seven-figure net worths in common — they also tend to share several of the same habits and attributes.
But millionaires also tend to share five of the same characteristics, according Chris Hogan, author of “Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth — and How You Can Too.” Along with the Dave Ramsey research team, Hogan studied 10,000 American millionaires (defined as those with a net worth of at least $1 million) for seven months, and he found certain attributes kept resurfacing.
“When you see these five attributes working in high gear, you’ll get a clear picture of what financial independence really looks like — and what it could look like for you,” Hogan wrote.
Here’s a closer look at each.
1. Millionaires take personal responsibility
Average millionaires take control of their money decisions, according to Hogan. “They know their success is up to them, and they own it,” he wrote.
Two millionaires he interviewed, Mike and Stephanie, particularly exemplified this — they diligently saved, avoided debt, worked with an investing professional, and committed to improving themselves and their earning potential. They’re now retired and have a net worth of $2.6 million.
The majority of millionaires in Hogan’s study deemed themselves optimistic and willing to try difficult things for new results — and more than 90% will quickly admit when they’re wrong and actively integrate feedback from other people.
“[Millionaires] don’t count on anyone else to make them rich, and they don’t blame anyone else if they fall short,” Hogan wrote. “They focus on things they can control and align their daily habits to the goals they’ve set for themselves.”
2. Millionaires practice intentionality
Hogan found that many millionaires live on less than they make and exercise discipline when it comes to budgeting. More than half of the millionaires he studied believed the main reason people don’t become millionaires is because they lack financial discipline.
“Millionaires don’t accidentally live on less than they make,” Hogan wrote. “They do it on purpose, because they have a plan. They’re deciding. Living without a budget, though, is the very definition of sliding into misfortune.”
This finding aligns with research by Sarah Stanley Fallaw, author and director of research for the Affluent Market Institute who also studied millionaires — her subjects stressed to her the freedom that comes with spending below their means.
3. Millionaires are goal-oriented
“They think ahead and refuse to be swept away by the current of life,” Hogan wrote. He found that 92% of the millionaires surveyed develop a long-term plan for their money, and 97% almost always achieve the goals they set for themselves.
They put in a long-term plan for financial independence, which “helps them avoid distractions and the ‘shiny object syndrome’ the general population suffers from because millionaires aren’t focused on what might make them happy today; they’re focused on their long-term wealth-building plan.”
Consider JP Livingston, who retired early at age 28 with a $2 million-plus nest egg. She lived frugally, tucking away 70% of her take-home pay — 40% in investments, 60% in savings. Even as her income increased each year, she didn’t succumb to lifestyle inflation. Instead, she stuck to her long-term plan and saved even more money.
4. Millionaires are hard workers
“They do what it takes even when what it takes isn’t easy,” he wrote. Of the millionaires Hogan studied, 93% said they became millionaires because of their hard work, rather than big salaries.
“Millionaires constantly work to better themselves,” he wrote. “They don’t settle for what they have and who they are today; instead they work to increase their education and their skill set to build more for tomorrow.”
And when it comes to work, rich people often take on jobs that they love — doing what they love and getting paid for it is what self-made millionaire Steve Siebold calls a smart strategy.
5. Millionaires know building wealth takes consistency
Consistency, Hogan wrote, is what ties everything together.
“You can take responsibility, you can be intentional, you can set goals, and you can work hard,” he wrote. “But, if you don’t do these things repeatedly — year after year, decade after decade — then you’ll never get the results you want.”
He added: “They know from experience that wealth-building is a long-term frame, and they’ve seen that sticking to the plan over decades leads to millions at retirement.”
But being consistent requires two things, according to Hogan: Patience for a long-term view to help you stay focused through the years, and passion to find ways to get the job done.
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