The book conducted a survey of 10k millionaires, discovering their demographics, lifestyles, beliefs, and so forth.
Today we’ll get into the book’s second part and the real meat it has to offer.
This section begins with the author (Chris Hogan) listing the five attributes of millionaires.
They are as follows:
- Millionaires take personal responsibility.
- Millionaires practice intentionality.
- Millionaires are goal-oriented.
- Millionaires are hard workers.
- Millionaires are consistent.
Don’t worry if some of these statements don’t make sense to you yet. This post and a follow-up one will get into what each of these mean as well as my thoughts on them.
Millionaires Take Personal Responsibility
Let’s begin by reviewing what “millionaires take personal responsibility” means according to the book.
This section begins by Chris recounting the sorry state of the average American’s finances (which I think we all are well aware of), and then he says this:
Wherever you are, it’s because you allowed it. Whatever you’ve accomplished, it’s because you did it. Whatever you failed at, it’s because you messed it up.
Some things — most things, in fact — are your fault. Your ups and downs, your wins and losses. They’re on you.
He talks about how many people don’t believe this and simply want to cast blame for their failed efforts on others.
In other words, they don’t take personal responsibility.
Chris then contrasts this attitude with how millionaires respond:
I know there really are obstacles out there, but I also know millionaire-minded people don’t let those obstacles get in their way. Instead, they find a way around — or, better yet, through — whatever gets in between them and their goals.
Focused, driven, and responsible people find a way to get the job done, and that starts with taking personal responsibility for solving the problem themselves.
Preach it, brother!
He goes on, but I’ll leave that for when you read the book. Besides, I think you get the idea.
I have to agree that there’s a general lack of personal responsibility when it comes to personal finances (it’s not just finance IMO, but that’s our focus here.)
People come up with all sorts of excuses for why they can’t earn, why they can’t save, and why they can’t invest.
They want the results (to become wealthy) but they don’t want to take the appropriate steps.
By contrast, millionaires take the responsibility for wealth-building on themselves and then take action to make it happen. This is one key reason they are successful.
How Personal Responsibility Plays Out
In addition to having a general personal responsibility for their results, millionaires also take specific steps (and avoid others) to become wealthy.
The book lists these as follows:
- Millionaires own their mistakes and change course when needed. 95% of millionaires are willing to quickly admit when they are wrong.
- Millionaires take advice from others. 98% say they actively integrate feedback from other people.
- Millionaires use financial planner. 68% have used one.
- Millionaires don’t think negatively. 82% describe themselves as optimists.
- Millionaires don’t let the unknown scare them off. 94% are willing to try difficult things to get new results.
My thoughts on these:
- 95% are willing to “quickly admit when they are wrong”? Wow. Is this real or is this the difference (often common in surveys) between what people say about themselves and how they actually act? If it’s true, I’m in the minority 5% for sure. I might admit I’m wrong, but it’s hardly ever “quick”. 🙂
- I’ve been blogging since 2005 on various sites. One of the biggest benefits to me has been the advice I’ve received from other bloggers and readers. When you write about and discuss a topic it also forces you to decide what you really believe, consider other options, and then take action. I’ve probably made way more money off comments, debates, and working out my own beliefs than I have from my sites generating revenue themselves.
- So…I know that Dave Ramsey has a network of advisors he recommends (in case you don’t know, the author works for Dave). I’m wondering if the advisor point is them trying to reinforce that working with advisors is good. Plus there’s a difference between “have used” a planner and “currently use” a planner. As you know, I’m not a big fan of financial planners, but I’m willing to be wrong (though I won’t be quick to admit it). Haha!
- I think a can-do attitude is a key part of personal responsibility. You might have challenges, but you think/know you can overcome them, take action, and good things happen. By contrast, pessimists assume the worst and “know” whatever they do won’t work. They are defeated even before they try. I would say I’m a bit more optimistic than pessimistic but if I had to classify myself it would be as a realist (which is unusual for someone who used to work in marketing).
- One of the most difficult things I did was to get involved in rental real estate. It was a HUGE leap of faith for me. Thankfully I found the right person to help me, timing was right, and it all worked out for the best. So I can see how trying new things (even getting up the nerve to retire early) can give millionaires a huge advantage.
Overall, I think the point here is that millionaires take matters in their own hands and act accordingly. They don’t wait around for someone else to do it nor do they spend their lives doing nothing and then blaming others for the fact they are not wealthy (which is quite common in America today based on the comments I get every time a post hits the mainstream media.)
Millionaires Practice Intentionality
Moving to the second key attribute, let’s talk about the book’s finding that “millionaires practice intentionality.”
Here’s how the book describes being intentional:
You see, nobody accidently ends up retiring with millions in the bank, just like no football team accidently wins the Super Bowl. These victories come from a ton of hard work and thousands of daily decisions.
I like to describe intentionality in terms of deciding versus sliding. When you decide to do something, you’re in control. You’re making a conscious choice about what you want to do, and you’re taking the time to measure the pros and cons. You may not get it right every time, but you’re being intentional about what you do with your life. You’re [making things happen] instead of letting things happen to you. Instead of drifting through life, you’re hopping in the driver’s seat with your GPS locked on your destination.
Compare that to what I call sliding. When you slide into a decision, you’re being a passive passenger in your own life. You’re just going with the flow, drifting wherever the current takes you. You aren’t in control of anything, and you have no idea where you will end up.
The millionaires we studied weren’t surprised by where they ended up. They arrived at the destinations they had worked toward their whole lives. And they did it one decision at a time.
Wow. This guy is dropping truth-bombs all over this book!
A few things I want to chime in on:
- Many people simply do not want to be intentional and don’t want to do what’s required to get the results they want. They are hoping to slide into wealth but things do NOT work that way. And when they don’t, the excuses start to come out.
- I have said this often: Small gains over a long period of time add up to big things. It works!
- Ugh. The go-with-the-flow people kill me! I use this phrase a lot related to growing a career. People who go-with-the-flow get go-with-the-flow raises (which aren’t great). If you want more, you have to take action and do more. The good news is that even a small effort can add up to millions more in earnings. Is it an accident that the first thing I say in my seven steps to grow your career is “You Must Be Proactive”? No, it’s not!
I could probably go on and on in this line of thinking, but let’s move to the book’s list of the various ways millionaires are intentional.
Here are some of their findings:
- Millionaires live on less than they make. 94% do compared to 55% of the general population.
- Millionaires plan ahead and pay cash. 95% save up for big expenses compared to 67% of the general population.
- Millionaires use coupons. 93% do.
- Millionaires use shopping lists and stick to them. 85% use a list when shopping for groceries.
- Millionaires drive older cars with no car payments. The average millionaire drives a four-year-old car with 41,000 miles on it and 82% have no car payments.
- Millionaires don’t go out to eat every night. They spend $200 or less per month on restaurants.
- Millionaires don’t try to impress anyone. Only 7% feel pressure to keep up with friends and family spending.
- Millionaires don’t pay their bills late. 96% have never had a past-due bill.
- Millionaires don’t have credit card debt. 73% have never carried a credit card balance in their lives.
- Can’t we just summarize all these by saying “millionaires cover the basics of money management to become wealthy”? Really, these are all good practices and it’s no surprise millionaires do them.
- What is surprising is that 55% of the general population lives on less than it makes. LOL!
- We pay cash, use coupons and lists, and drive older cars. My car is seven years old and has 140k miles on it. I love it (Toyota Highlander) and plan to drive it until it can’t go any longer.
- We spend about $170 a month on eating out and I feel like we could do better. But we’re not really counting our pennies at this stage.
- Haha! Millionaires say that the Joneses can keep up with themselves!!! I’ve never felt any pressure to keep up with family and friends. A part of this is that most of my family and friends are far less wealthy than we are, so there’s never been a temptation (or at least one I can remember).
- It must have KILLED the people at Dave Ramsey headquarters to put out a book that says “millionaires don’t have credit card debt” instead of “millionaires don’t have credit cards.” The truth is that using credit cards in a strategic way can earn you some good side money (I’m over $20k since 2006). This is why I have a list of the best credit cards at any time on this site.
If you want the rest of the story, see part 2 of this series where I detail the last three attributes and wrap up my coverage of the book.