Growing up and living in a town that has an average income of over $154,000 a year, and working in a town where the average income is over $90,000, I would say that I have met a few millionaires over the years. Some are secret millionaires, quietly saving, and others like a neighbor of mine would drive around in their Ferrari and another neighbor owned one of the original Batmobiles from Hollywood!
Over the years I have observed these millionaires on vacations, at the yacht and tennis club, in school with their children, I worked for them, spent the night at their huge house, listened at Starbucks, and saw them in action at their jobs from law to construction to firemen. I had always lived by the saying, “that if you want to be rich listen to rich people’s advice.” I have absorbed a lot unbeknownst to me from being in this environment. If you read Rich Dad, Poor Dad then you understand the lesson being taught. I have always felt it didn’t matter what job I had in life that I would be rich doing it. I could turn a lemonade stand into millions was my belief, or get rich renting umbrellas on the beach. So here are some of the traits I have noticed that most or all of the millionaires I have encountered possess.
Don’t take any crap
I have noticed that most of these well off successful people don’t take crap from people.
It’s not because they are the ones in charge, most are not, but they are goal driven people and they avoid the crap that slows their progress. They want to be the next manager and they avoid crap like a jiu-jitsu master to get there. If crap comes their way they also confront it head on and beat it with a plan. I went to work with one of my friends as a kid, and I watch the friends father who was very successful tell off a colleague that was not pulling their weight in the office. It was mean, not violent, but it was crushing because their performance was full of excuses and he wasn’t taking any of the crap. That colleague shaped up and got the job done after that. The friends dad turned to us both after the encounter in the office and said, “If you take excuses you will always be an excuse.” That moment was instilled in my mind, and it comes back to me every now a again.
“No” means try a another route
I also witnessed a lot of failures in my town. People going bankrupt, loosing their house, moving suddenly to make a deal work, or finding a new route in life. “No,” is a word that stops many people in life, and most millionaires have another meaning for “No.” It usually, means that I must go another route to accomplish my goals. If I hear “No” from the city, then I need to rephrase and try again from another angle. I have a friend who’s family is in the wedding business accidentally. They tried to build a theme park, and no one came, but someone asked to have their wedding at the park. The next thing you know they are booked up every weekend for the next year, and building more of these wedding venues across Texas. Sometimes a failure is a great motivating factor, if you can find the next route.
I love the word “relentless.” I put it on my basketball team’s shirts, use it in practice, and I stole it from a guy at a crawfish boil. He had all the money he ever needed, his kids were grown, and he was still expanding his company to run all the competition out of the region. He worked and expanded like his business was a sporting event and he was going to run up the score on the “bad news bears.” He came from nothing, and built this market for his products from scratch. He took over others out there by providing better customer service, and he crushed those who left him to compete against him. This guy was an asshole, but he was relentless in his pursuit for regional dominance. I learned that being relentless is a trait that a millionaire has because he did the dirty work and pushed through all the hard times. He never quit even though he had a million reasons to do so, and through his relentlessness he made a success of himself.
I lived in a gate community for ten years of my life, with tennis courts, multiple pools
and parks, a yacht club, and some cheap town homes mixed in with the houses. I noticed that the people in the town homes where wealthy people who had down sized. Most were older, and most hung out at the tennis courts or clubhouse, and they all loved kids (unless you were building fires in a ditch next to their house). They told us stories all the time, and one old guy told me a story that stuck with me. I had my first employable job at age 14 bussing tables and he found out. He told me to save some of my money with every paycheck now, and then when I get old I will be rich. He was talking about compound interest without saying it, but more importantly he was teaching me to be consistent in my saving. You can’t take paychecks off, you have to save some of everyone for your entire life. Millionaires are either high income people or they are consistently saving and they are your Millionaire Next Door types. I saw that I could be rich doing any job from this old guy, if I consistently saved and never missed a paycheck (so far, so good).
Before I read the Automatic Millionaire in my early 20’s, I was taught the idea of making my money work for me automatically. I knew a guy who worked in investing, and he was always talking about stocks and trading. He told me about how he automatically invested in his stocks. This was before online banking, and he told me how his company just took it out of his paycheck automatically, and invested it for him. I thought that was genius, and was ready to set it up with my lifeguarding job. However, you can’t do that unless you work for a trading company already, so I was out of luck. Most millionaires I have encountered do things automatically. They pay their bills, invest, save, or whatever and it is set up on auto. I invest, pay bills, save for big items, etc. automatically, so I never miss a payment or miss a paycheck that I am consistently saving for my town home one day. It’s also great for traveling too because it’s one less thing to worry about. Automate!
Goes to their strengths
I know a lot of millionaires with no college whatsoever, and they are doing great! It turns out you only need to be great at one thing in life to be successful. I knew a guy who made his money selling scrap metal, and is doing great. Another guy started as a plumber, and now owns the business with 30 plumbers out on calls everyday of the week. I know another guy who invented a bolt used in the oil and gas business, and collects royalty checks. All these millionaires knew their strengths and focused on those strengths to perform at a high level in those fields. Educational background is secondary to the next new product. I have never asked to see if my electrician is even certified to do what he is doing, but I call him up because he gets the job done every time, and provides a great service. He’s great at electrical work! Go with your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. Not great at accounting; then get a great accountant. Outsource your weaknesses also.
Huge Ego, but knows when to shove it
I have seen many millionaires puff their chests out at each other over the years, and
even seen a few not know when to stop. Most millionaires have huge egos, and that is great in a competitive business world, but they also know when to shove their egos up their ass and play nice too. If your goal is to expand, then you can’t piss everyone off, so you have to finesse your way around certain big ego people (politicians perhaps) to continue your expansion plans. There are many barriers in business today, and if you always come in with your guns out, you could go down. Sometimes, to get the job done you have to shove the ego, and a millionaire has the people skills to know when they need to back off for the better good.
A student of life
Last, but not least most millionaires I knew read a lot of non fiction books. I met Michael Dell in college, and he talked about the last biography he read on a plane. I was a little impressed at how down to Earth he was, but I also noticed he got his ideas and influence from being a lifetime student. He may have dropped out of college to build computers in a garage, but he never stopped learning from life or books about life. Most millionaire homes I have entered had lots of books on the book shelves, and they are constantly reading for more ideas and how it can apply to their lives. I get leadership ideas for being a better teacher from business books all the time. It turns out that a school and a factory are a lot alike in making a great finished product. My product is just more important than some material possessions. Keep learning everyday, and that millionaire trait is probably the most important, because in an ever changing world you have to be a student to make it.