By putting these practical habits into place now, you can fast track your way to success and fulfillment.
Millionaires aren’t high-rolling, Tesla-driving, mansion-living individuals. OK, maybe some of them are, but surprisingly, many millionaires are average Joes. Regardless of their lifestyle choices, millionaires embody certain habits that got them to where they are.
If you haven’t reached seven-digit status yet, not to worry. There are plenty of success habits that can help you get there. By putting these practical habits into place now, you can fast track your way to success and fulfillment.
Habit #1: Be more mindful about money (without being miserly)
Just about every facet of modern life depends on our relationship with money. Whether it’s negotiating a raise at work or choosing the right plumber, you can’t escape the role that your wallet plays from day to day. The answer is to embrace that fact and
Actress Meryl Streep found success in negotiating pay for her role in “The Devil Wears Prada.” In a Variety issue, Streep reflects, “The offer was to my mind, slightly, if not insulting, not perhaps reflective of my actual value to the project.” She was prepared to walk away—which led to a doubled offer.
In addition to salary increases, you can create passive income through side hustles or investments. Even setting up a high-yield savings account can help you earn interest on the side. Sell unwanted items, offer freelance services or start a blog. Additional income can grow your investments faster.
Habit #2: Live well below your means
You have probably heard that part of becoming wealthy is to live on less than you make. It’s clearly not a sexy lifestyle, but it works. Jonathan Huang, a biopharmaceutical lab worker from Irvine, California, was able to achieve millionaire status by the age of 35 through frugal living.
“I lived with roommates well into my 30s,” Huang admits. While cutting out small things like Starbucks trips can help, Huang says big wins come from cutting back on housing and transportation expenses. “Cutting back in these areas gets bigger results. At one point, I was paying less in rent than I was paying rent during college.”
Sacrificing living on your own could help you save big in the long run. An estimated 12 million households spend more than 50% of their annual income on housing alone, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Since 1958, Warren Buffett has lived in the same house he bought for $31,500. Today it’s estimated to be worth $652,619. It’s not bad to look into mortgage options for a new home, but maintaining your current standard of living could be a good investment in your future.
Habit #3: Consistently seek opportunities for self-improvement
It may seem like a small thing, but reading books about self-improvement is a habit of successful millionaires. Author and researcher Tom Corley reports 85% of the wealthy read at least two self-improvement books per month.
Retired certified financial planner and millionaire Mark Trautman of Crested Butte, Colorado, says reading inspired him to improve his finances. “The first books I read were ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ and ‘The Wealthy Barber.’ That’s when I instituted a pay-yourself-first mantra,” Trautman says.
By using the advice in these financial books, Trautman was able to save at least 20% of his gross income and put it into investments. The wealthy and famous read books to improve their financial status, too.
Warren Buffett claims reading can prepare you for success. He instructs others to “read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” Try picking up a few self-improvement books this month to compound your knowledge.
Habit #4: Choose the right occupation
You might feel frustrated as you read this one. How does anyone ever know if they have chosen the right occupation? Especially if the “right occupation” is supposed to lead you to wealth and success?
The truth is, you might not really know what defines your dream job. If you associate the right occupation with a big salary, you may not be looking at the right factor. “The Millionaire Next Door” authors, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, found that “it matters less how much more you make than what you do with what you already have.”
Choosing the right occupation, regardless of income, does have an impact on success. Stanley and Danko point out that many people choose to own and operate their own businesses.
For example, Melissa Butler, founder of The Lip Bar, didn’t start out loving her job. She worked on Wall Street during the day and created lipsticks in her kitchen at night. Creating her own cosmetic company has no guarantee of revenue. But it was her relentless hard work that helped her eventually strike a deal with Target.
A mindset for success can start today
Take one of these habits and start taking action this week. At the end of the day, you define success. No matter the amount of money you accumulate, you can still live a beautiful, rich life by finding ways to improve it.