The saver-investor path is the most common path people take to create wealth. What makes this path so special is it is available to almost everyone. It requires no special set of skills or education. It does not demand significant risk or long working hours. Below are the eight traits of a saver-investor millionaire.
BE FRUGAL, NOT CHEAP. Being frugal means spending your money wisely. Buy the highest quality product or service at the lowest possible price. Focus on quality first and cost later.
KEEP YOUR SPENDING IN CHECK. Follow these guidelines for spending your net, take home pay each month:
• Housing: 25 percent or less. Buy do not rent.
• Cars: 5 percent or less. This includes payments, gas, insurance and maintenance.
• Vacations: 5 percent or less. Modest inexpensive vacations or bargain travel deals.
• Entertainment: 10 percent or less. Movies, restaurants, music, books, gifts, etc.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH FELLOW SAVER-INVESTORS. Intentionally surround yourself with individuals who share your saving mindset. Saving and smart bargain buying becomes contagious.
UNDERSTAND NEED VERSUS WANT. People who overvalue their wants surrender to instant gratification, eschewing savings in order to buy things now. Want-spenders routinely incur debt in order to finance their standard of living. Being undisciplined with money will create poverty.
AVOID EMOTIONAL PURCHASES. When you are feeling overly optimistic about your future income, you can fall into the trap of spending money you have or spending future money you expect to receive by incurring debt. Emotional purchases act as a quick fix temporarily lifting you out of sadness.
ELIMINATE SPONTANEOUS SPENDING. When willpower is high, your prefrontal cortex is in control of your brain. You make good decisions. When willpower is low, you lose discipline over your spending.
AVOID LIFESTYLE CREEP. When you increase your spending to match your income, you are falling victim to lifestyle creep. It is the explanation for why so many people continue to live paycheck to paycheck even as they make more money.
DO NOT SUPERSIZE YOUR LIFE. Supersizing your life is driven by the excessive optimism about a sudden increase in income or wealth, such as a large bonus, significant raise, inheritance or other windfall. Refuse to upgrade your lifestyle when your income or wealth rises significantly.
Following these eight common secrets of self-made millionaires will help you grow and prosper.
This advice was adapted from an article in SUCCESS magazine by Tom Corley. The content also is found in his latest book, Effort-Less Wealth: Smart Money Habits at Every Stage of Your Life.
As always seek competent legal, tax and financial advice as you pursue your wealth.