How to Think Like a Millionaire (So You Can be One!)

Jen SmithPersonal Finance10 Comments

think like a millionaire

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 I just finished Keith Cameron Smith’s book The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class. It blew my mind to learn how deep some of these traditional money mindsets are ingrained in us, and how constrictive they are!

10 Distinctions is an amazing book that everyone who wants to be successful with money should read multiple times. It’s a short, easy read, that gets to the point and makes you reconsider the assumptions you’ve had about money, at least, it did for me. Without giving too much away, here are the points and what I learned from reading the book.

10) Millionaires think long-term / The middle class thinks short-term

Smith states that this distinction is the starting point for achieving success. He says, the further you can stretch your thinking into the future, the richer you will become.

And isn’t it true? Those of us making between $25,000 and $100,000 are focused on taking vacations and getting nicer cars, all of which have no lasting value.

Millionaires think in years. How can I double my income this year? What’s my five-year business plan? How much do I want in my retirement account in 30 years? Also, when your mind is on short-term gains it’s easier to give up when there’s a setback rather than if your mindset is on long-term success.

9) Millionaires talk about ideas / The middle class talks about things and other people

What do you spend your time talking about? I’m usually talking about work, my latest Netflix binge, or dessert. Smith compares your words to a ship’s rudder, they determine the direction you’re going in life.

The middle class talks about what millionaires create.

We’re interested in other people and things (just check what’s trending on Facebook if you need any more proof) because we’re impressed by their fame and fortune. Millionaires are too busy pondering ideas that will probably make them more money.

8) Millionaires embrace change / The middle class is threatened by change

We have a love/hate relationship with change. The middle class assumes change will be negative (may have something to do with that short-term thinking) so they fear it.

Millionaires embrace change. They are always prepared for it because they know it’s coming. Whatever happens, they have the confidence to know there will be unique opportunities that open up from it. The middle-class lets fear blind them from those opportunities.

7) Millionaires take calculated risks / The middle class is afraid to take risks

Smith reiterates that the only way to escape the rat race is to take risks. Often we’ll equate risk with irresponsibility. Imagine a dad of 4 quits his job to be a pro golfer or a girl quits school to move to LA and become an actress. That’s what the middle class thinks of risk.

Millionaires take calculated risks. They gain knowledge, consider consequences, and then take action. There’s still the risk of failure and rejection but the benefits outweigh the fear because they’re prepared.

6) Millionaires continually learn and grow / The middle class thinks learning ended with school

Millionaires invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in learning what interests them so they can become masters in their field. They share books, webinars, and audio programs taught by other successful people among them.

Learning from people who know what they’re doing doesn’t come cheap but millionaires know it produces the greatest return on investment. So basically while I’m trying to stick to my free Spanish learning app, they’re gaining knowledge that will double their income.

5) Millionaires work for profits / The middle class works for wages

Think about this: essentially 90 percent of people who make over $100,000 a year are in some form of sales (whether it be an item or service.) None of the millionaires Smith interviewed worked solely for a paycheck.

When you work for wages you can only work harder for raises that come occasionally, if ever. When you work for profits, even as a side hustle, your income can increase dramatically in a short amount of time.

4) Millionaires believe they must be generous / The middle class believes it can’t afford to give

This one was an eye-opener for me. My “why” for getting out of debt and building wealth is because I know broke people can’t take care of broke people.

To know that generosity is not just a benefit of being wealthy but a key to it, means that generosity starts now. Being generous with a lot starts with practicing generosity with little.

3) Millionaires have multiple sources of income / The middle class has only one or two

Millionaires know that the more sources of income you have the more zeros you see in your net worth. But it doesn’t come by working 5 jobs, they combine several practices to make money without physically being there to profit (hence #5.)

Everything they do has intentional congruence, meaning it’s all related in some way. Using one product to promote another service to benefit another of your products, etc., is the type of planning that takes years to plan and accomplish (hello #1) but maximizes the revenue from each of your sources of income.

2) Millionaires focus on increasing their net worth / The middle class focuses on increasing its paycheck

This one is a huge stumbling block for millennials right now. I think about my negative net worth on a daily basis. The middle class is focused on making more at their job so they have more to spend. Meanwhile, the interest on their student loans that got them the job is silently eating away their paycheck.

Millionaires, however, are focused on financial freedom, and that comes in having a net worth that allows them to do what they want when they want.

Related: Is Being Debt Free Worth it?

1) Millionaires ask themselves empowering questions / Middle-class people ask themselves disempowering questions

This is the most important principle of the book. The bigger the questions you ask, the bigger your answers. Millionaires ask “What is life trying to teach me right now?” while middle-class people ask, “Why do bad things always happen to me?” It takes the same mental capacity to think up both these questions but one will yield positive progression and the other will produce negative thoughts.

“The questions you ask yourself determine the results you get in your life.”

It took several lifetimes to engrain lazy money habits into us so it’s going to take some time to build healthy ones. Read Keith Cameron Smith’s book again and again until it’s second nature. Don’t be happy with mediocrity. Stay motivated, stay positive, and become a millionaire. 😉

be a millionaire

10 Comments on “How to Think Like a Millionaire (So You Can be One!)”

  1. What an awesome read!!! I feel like it really is 95% about mind set. I love the idea of increasing net worth rather than increasing paychecks. I seriously love seeing my savings account grow and while there are a bunch of things I think I “need” I’ve gotten a lot better at putting those on hold in order to start saving. I still have a long way to go, but this was an awesome post & I definitely have a lot more motivation to keep going!

  2. Great post! Many low-to-middle class people think about instant gratification. They want the latest trend. They want to ‘keep up with the Jones'” so bad that they risk their future for the present. I believe this is why so many people will be at a crisis when retirement comes. They spent for the present and never considered the future.

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  5. I’d never heard of this book. Thanks for the recommendation! Most of those points ring true in my mind.

    There are also obvious steps you can take to change your mind set after reading this summary. First would be to simply calculate and track your net worth–it still amazes me how few people even seem to know what net worth is 🙂

  6. Jen, what a great summary! I agree with many of the author’s points. This is if you want to be a millionaire at an earlier age.

    However, if you want to be an eventual millionaire, you only need to do this: max out your 401k from your first year working until you’re old enough to take social security. Even if there’s rescessions, even if you have no company match. Even if you don’t have any of the qualities the author sites.

    But, if you want more, faster (and don’t we all?), then the characteristics he lists are the right ingredients to bake your millionaire cake.

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