Save your first—or NEXT—$100,000!

Money Under 30 has everything you need to know about money, written by real people who’ve been there.

Get our free weekly newsletter and MoneySchool: Our FREE 7-day course that will help you make immediate progress on the money goals you’re working toward right now.

No, thanks
Advertising Disclosure

The 10 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

What does it take to become a millionaire? Lottery winners aside, becoming wealthy has nothing to do with luck. Let’s look at 10 ten habits of self-made millionaires.

the-10-habits-of-self-made-millionairesWhat does it take to become a millionaire? Lottery winners aside, becoming wealthy has nothing to do with luck. Let’s look at 10 ten habits of self-made millionaires. Some ideas featured here are from the book The Millionaire in You by Michael LeBoeuf. Others come from millionaires I know, and they are living proof that these habits will make you millions.

1. Millionaires Are Frugal: The wealthiest people I know are also the cheapest. They buy used cars for reliability, not image. (According to the book The Millionaire Next Door, the number one car brand among millionaires is Toyota—not Mercedes or BMW!) Millionaires pack their lunches. It takes money to make money, and you can’t get the money you need to invest if you spend it.

2. Millionaires Think Big: Few people are surprised when they make their first million. After all, it doesn’t come easily. But long before reaching their goal, millionaires know they want to get there. Rather than looking forward to an annual 3% raise, millionaires dream of working for themselves. Rather than serving 100 customers, millionaires see tens of thousands of accounts.

3. Millionaires Take Calculated Risks: Whether it’s investing in a stock or cashing in a 401(k) to start a business, millionaires take calculated risks. In these risks, the rewards of success are far greater than the costs of failure, and the chances of success are good.

4. Millionaires Network: Few people reach their potential alone. Millionaires build powerful networks of contacts in all areas of life. Millionaires know that their next employer, customer, or partner may be anywhere.

5. Millionaires Don’t Pay Interest, They Earn It: Millionaires learn the crippling costs of debt and avoid it at all costs. On the contrary, millionaires save, invest, and even lend money to others to earn interest themselves. Want to take the first step to building your own fortune? It’s simple: Open an online savings account now and start stashing away extra money—automatically—every month.

6. Millionaires Are Focused: Millionaires work feverishly towards their goals at all costs. The difference between dreamers and performers is not the number of ideas one has, but how one focuses on executing the best ideas.

7. Millionaires Do Whatever It Takes: The most inspiring success stories among all the people I know involve incredible sacrifice. From sleeping in cars between two jobs to forgoing personal relationships to get an education or build a business, millionaires don’t simply delay gratification; millionaires endure pain.

8. Millionaires Educate Themselves: It doesn’t take an Ivy League education to become a millionaire, but it does take a desire to learn. It doesn’t matter how you learn – from a mentor, night classes, or books and the web – but ongoing learning is critical to lifelong success.

9. Millionaires Lead: No surprise here, the same qualities enabling people to earn millions make them natural leaders. It goes back to the decision to become a millionaire in the first place: The resolution to carve a new path rather than follow the flock.

10. Millionaires Are Generous: Don’t expect your high-rolling neighbor to shower you with gifts. Chances are she’s donating to far worthier causes. It’s just another perk of having a million in the bank: you get to make a substantial difference in charities of your choice.

Published or updated on August 23, 2007

Want FREE help eliminating debt & saving your first (or next) $100,000?

Money Under 30 has everything you need to know about money, written by real people who've been there. Enter your email to receive our free weekly newsletter and MoneySchool, our free 7-day course that will help you make immediate progress on whatever money challenge you're facing right now.

We'll never spam you and offer one-click unsubscribe, always.

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30.

  1. John says:

    Just important to note, as Andrew pointed out, that there are many paths to millionaire, and not all of them involve long periods of time, sacrifice or struggle.

  2. Michael says:

    These articles keep me committed, & motivated through all the losses, and debt I’ve put myself in. I know all it takes is one job to open this door! All I have to do is save, invest, & build my brand! I’m aiming on being where I’d like to work in the next 2-3yrs. I am 24 now, and my passions are music, hustling(legally, not crime), and helping others see this light! The reason I say I put myself there, is because if I own it, I can reshape this debt into fortune! So can you, so let’s all become wealthier!

  3. Gerald says:

    there is nothing more intresting than learning about successful people and doing what they do/ did so as to become succesfull as well… you guys should also study unsuccessfull people and avoid doing that which they are doing and in that way you are guaranteed to never become unsuccessfull…….

    • Dani says:

      This is so true. I never thought of doing that, but I’ll actually look into it now. Interesting way of thinking.

  4. Silverfox5880 says:

    I’m one of these people. The first thing you have to do is set a goal. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t have know where you want to go. Then you put the plan in place. Next, and probably most important, you need the discipline to execute. I usually doesn’t happen overnight. My plan was a 25 year plan. It easier to get wealthy in America than the rest of the world. Thats why people are still trying to break into this country. No one is trying to break into Iran. These points are all important. It all comes down to character and accepting personal responsibility. You must have it and you have to require it from your friends and associates.

  5. wanderingchopsticks says:

    3 out of 10. No wonder I am still poor.

    • Andrew says:

      I got 3 out of 10 as well. I am a millionaire… You just have to be educated, and you can become anything. That is the only point that actually matters. I am not focused, nor am I determined on my project. I just… became wealthy. Now I donate 95% of my monthly income.

  6. i want to earn million dollars thru ebay auctions i am selling oldest product my income will be use to my charity i am now selling a worlds oldest root craft that found in oldest mountain you can see the photo to my website i am selling it to lowest price of 25$ million us dollars buyers in us and other country may contact me sister theresa +639155846896 philippines asia

  7. Mike says:

    I agree with most of this article and I see where you found your keypoints from J. Stanley and T. Harv but in my honest opinion since I am no millionaire the fundumental idea I do agree is that debt is not automatically bad. From the ideals of Kiyosaki of good debt and bad debt which really matters is the cash flow in your income statement. Great article though. Thank you.

  8. Junaid Babar says:

    I guess these are not hard and fast rules.I have seen many poor having same triats and many milionares who hate these habbits.Just take example of Bill gates
    Despite calculated risk he played a big gambel expelled from college and founded a computer industry having no scope at that time.Take example of Ikea owner Inguard
    What i guess milionares are of two types
    1-Visionary who forsee future demnands and start working oin it use others skills to make a future business on bones of others.

  9. mike says:

    point #10.. “she ” is donating…… ………………y does it have to be a she

    • Andrew says:

      When referring to something beautiful (such as a human-being) you write it as a “she”. For some reason this is not seen as sexism… Hmm…

  10. Steve says:

    Nicely said. Point number 1 is not always the case though. I think the difference is that millionaires are frugal at first. Once they accumulate enough money, then and only then, do they spend it on toys. They don’t sabotage themselves by spending money they don’t have on luxuries.

  11. D Wong says:

    Thanks for sharing David, keep up the good work.
    A millionaire seminar is filled with all kinds of people varies from age,gender,personality and different ways of accumulating wealth but they all have common traits of mindsets. 1. burning desire to become rich as much as you want to breath the air! 2. Will sacrifice sleep,food,sex and other personal enjoyments ( most common pleasures of life, which is a big price to become rich) 3. Frugal and never give up attitude and I mean never! Simple steps that is easy to say then done.

    • Andrew says:

      I earned all of my money via stocks. I bought and sold over and over again. Using my parents wealth (They gave me a £10’000 to live on when I graduated) I quickly became a millionaire. I gave up nothing, no dream, no friends, no pleasures of common life – And I have no desire to become “rich as much as you want to breath the air”. If I were to lose all my money but those £10’000 I would still have my job. Oh, here is a funny little side note: I work as a teacher. Who figured?

  12. joshua says:

    its my sincere prayer that this article will continue to bless anybody who takes time to read it.

  13. Jarod says:

    This article may be true for some but I guarantee you it’s not a rule. I know people that are cheap as hell and the farthest thing from an intelligent millionaire. lol.

    • John says:

      Cheap as hell doesn’t mean they have the desire to be a millionaire. In a lot of cases, such people are cheap as hell because they are so afraid of being poor, and they are poor because they create the reality the fear so much by focusing on it – instead of wealth building.

      The traits listed here are, in fact, a general rule of thumb concerning becoming a self made millionaire. I would only disagree with one of them.

  14. On #5. “Millionaires don’t pay interest, they earn it” – Sure, they don’t pay credit card interest, but being that real estate is the #1 way millionaires are created – many of them certainly pay mortgage interest.

    • Will says:

      The smart investors buy property they can rent for equal to or more than the mortgage. They pass along the interest costs to the renter.

  15. Nevin says:

    My boyfriend is a self-made millionaire and this absolutely encompasses him. Great article!

  16. Vincent says:

    I bet whoever wrote this is not a millionaire…

    • Eric says:

      So what Vincent? David (the writer) may or may not be a millionaire. That doesn’t mean he can’t research what habits they have in common. If he’s not it doesn’t mean he can’t become one either. With the right thoughts and mindset anything can be accomplished, anything.

      • joshua says:

        i agree with you Eric, with the right thoughts and mindset nothing can prove impossible.

        • Andrew says:

          OK, walk through magma.
          No, I am sorry. I just hate when people say that nothing is impossible, when there is plenty of things that is. However, Eric – I like your way of writing, disproving Vincent existing comment in a way that just amuses me. Money is not everything – Like you mentioned – “Success can’t be measured by how much money you have, but by whether you have inner peace in your heart.” – Dalai Lama.
          First when people realize this, the wealth in this world can be spread…

          • John says:

            On the contrary, the Dalai Lama is the highest ranking member of a religion that appeals to the poor specifically because it ignores wealth as a path to success (Buddhism). Success is measured by how much of what you want to accomplish in life, you actually accomplish in life. If your goal is to have financial wealth, you will prove that quote wrong. If your goal is to have inner peace in your hear, you will prove it right. With all due respect to the man, just because the Dalai Lama said it doesn’t make it infallible, or the Dalai Lama.

            As for walking through magma, it can be done, and I have personally seen people do it. It requires that you wear special equipment and avoid rivers of magma to stay alive, but it’s do-able. You could even swim in magma, if you had on the right sort of protective suit or didn’t mind burning up. Impossible means it cannot be a possibility. “I choose not to die doing it” doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

            ANYTHING is possible, if you stop with the limiting thinking. Even if you don’t yet know how to do it… it’s all possible.

            Enjoy the limits of your thinking, Andrew. You argue for your limitations and they are yours. Meanwhile, in spite of everything that you would say was “impossible” for me to do (which I have done) I’m most of the way to becoming a millionaire because I know you’re wrong.

  17. unf says:

    “It’s just another perk of having a million in the bank: you get to make a substantial difference in charities of your choice.”

    11. Millionaires don’t keep a million in cash in the bank? ;p

  18. Pat Riley once said, “I will guarantee everybody here, next year we will win again.” Later that year, he did win again. That’s the attitude Pat Riley had that made him one of NBA’s greatest coaches of all time.

  19. this is extremely valuable information that probably very few will take to heart and that is why there are so few millionaires in the worlds richest country…but as for myself i will definitely take it all to heart and execute with great devotion…thank you for the article….

  20. DFA Advisor says:

    So true!

    I work with a good number of self-made millionaires as their personal CFO. I do find these are their common traits.

    I’d like to add one more though. They are trusting and know how to delegate.

  21. Benita says:

    I really enjoyed your article and am glad that you highlighted the habit of earning interest versus paying it out. People with a mindset towards wealth realize that money must work for them and not the other way around.

  22. Billiam Buwalda 34th says:

    Most of this is designed for employees

  23. Jack says:

    This is a great and very helpful article!
    Thank you for your post.

  24. Fritzie says:

    Hello! :) You’ve been there? you mean you aren’t now? Me, I’m into it..Just starting though..The concept is easy..The business is easy. Convert your expenses to investments..Teach your friends how to save their money by using the economical products in their home..Still, it’s dependent on the word by mouth..No need to cut throats, lie or cheat. ahahahha :)

  25. nick says:

    i might listen.remember,ive been there….

  26. Fritzie says:

    Nicely said! Combining all the above mentioned habits with a wonderful low risk business opportunity might just be the solution. I know of a networking business that had made many millionaires…I’m on my way..Wanna come along?

  27. ALLI QUADRI says:

    nice piece

  28. mike says:

    consistant affirmations and thoughts are things materialized .think big think rich .

  29. joe says:

    tune in , turn on, drop out…

  30. Jeremy says:

    Millionaires Network and have great partners. Yes that is so true!

  31. nick says:

    you aint gonna make any money reading books,the publisher is.i made myy first million before i was old enough to buy beer!!!didnt even know it.start a small business,any business.cut your costs,cut competors throats,work 50 hrs.a day lie,ccheat and steal but wow your customers.word of mouth is the cheapest advertising.worry about the pennies,the dollars can take care of themselves.

  32. Blesed says:

    I am also interested in this type of powerful articles like these,i believe that i will be a millionaire because the way i think and the way i pursue my dream therefore i will be more interested to read more articles like these .It motivate my mind seeing this type of articles.Thank you very much.

  33. Deepak khurana says:

    its an great article…i am a student and want to make money on my own..i think your advice of saving and investing is going to help me a lot…thank u very much.

  34. Pamela says:

    Excellent article!

  35. This is an awesome article! I’m always interested in learning about the habits of successful people. I’d also recommend reading The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind. They are my two FAVORITE books!

  36. Speak Your Mind