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Cheat Sheet

Making Millions For Dummies

From Making Millions For Dummies by Robert Doyen, Meg Schneider

You can become a millionaire pursuing almost any occupation, but you need to follow a few tips to get your spending in check and shatter the conventional myths surrounding money and wealth. Decide on how to pursue and stay on your course to wealth and put your financial goals in order and you could be making millions in no time.

Making Millions by Controlling Your Spending

Building wealth can’t happen until you assess your spending habits and eliminate the ones that prevent you from saving and investing your money to meet your long-term financial goals. Keeping spending in check and living within your means are essential to making millions. Here are some tips for controlling your spending:

  • Take your credit cards out of your wallet. Store them someplace that’s secure (like a locked filing cabinet) and use them only for emergencies or truly special purchases.

  • Before you start shopping for something, decide how much the item is worth to you. If you can’t find it for that amount or less, don’t buy it.

  • Use envelopes or a folder with compartments to allocate your cash for the pay period. Label each envelope or compartment with specific items, such as “Haircuts,” “Lunch Money,” “Clothes,” and so on.

  • Give yourself an allowance (in cash) each pay period. This is money you can spend however you like, but when the cash is gone, you have to wait until your next allowance to spend more.

Shattering Money Myths

To increase your chances of making millions, you have to break your faith in several conventional myths about building wealth. The following list shatters the most common money myths and provides reasons why they can't (and shouldn't) stop you from becoming a millionaire:

  • You don't have to accept your “lot in life.” The way things are isn't necessarily the way things must be. The first step to changing your life in any area — not just financially — is formulating the desire for something different. Only when you have the desire to change your financial future can you figure out how to make it happen.

  • Wanting money doesn't make you selfish, materialistic, or evil. Money gives you the means to lead the kind of life you want: fulfilling, interesting, secure, and independent. Being financially rich gives you choices so you can live a more rewarding life.

  • Having wealth doesn't mean someone else has to be poor. Economics, whether personal or global, isn't like a math problem where something added to one side has to be subtracted from the other. You don't have to take anything away from anybody else to build your wealth. (Of course, this also means that rich people haven't taken anything away from you to build their wealth, so you have no reason to resent people who have more money than you do.)

  • Becoming rich doesn't require dishonesty. Certainly, some people have made their fortunes through fraud or other dishonest means (Enron, anyone?), but those people are more usually interested in shortcuts to wealth than in truly understanding and managing their money. You can live your values and still create your own financial security.

  • You don't have to have a lot of money to make more money. Small sums can add up to big dividends if you properly use the money you do have. The poverty mentality thinks, “There's such a tiny bit of cake; I may as well eat it.” The rich mentality thinks, “I'd rather have this tiny bit of cake than eat it and have none.”

  • You don't have to be lucky to create your own financial security. Some things in this life are outside your control, and you'll doubtless encounter unexpected setbacks on your road to wealth — a car or home repair or a medical emergency that delays your savings or investing goals, for example. But you can overcome even bad luck by using your desire and self-discipline to direct the things you can control.

  • Making money isn't a race. Competition certainly fuels some people's desire to build wealth, and sometimes these competitors are tempted to do things they shouldn't for the sake of a bigger payoff. But if you stay focused on your own goals and ignore what the other guy is doing (except to the extent that you can learn from it), competition is no longer a factor.

  • You don't have to give up anything to become wealthy. Financial security is a choice, not a sacrifice. There will be trade-offs, of course; you may not buy or do something today so you can buy or do something else later. But that, too, is a choice. You're deciding what's most important to you, so whatever you don't buy or do today isn't really a sacrifice — it's just something that isn't as important to you.

Wealth doesn't come quickly or without effort. It requires a combination of thinking about what you want and doing the things that will get you there. Thinking without acting is just another way of dreaming. Thinking plus acting equals achieving.

Choosing Your Path to Wealth

There are nearly as many ways to create wealth as there are people thinking about how to do it. Your financial plan leads you to your destination, and if you want to create wealth and make millions, you have to start with the first step and figure out how to get there. Whichever path you choose, keep the following things in mind to improve your likelihood of success:

  • Will it make you enough money? You can't put your financial plan into operation if you don't make enough money to cover your basic expenses and have some left over for your long-term goals.

  • Is it something you enjoy? You're more likely to stick with something you like doing, and therefore, you're more likely to stick with your financial plan. Engineers can make a lot of money, but if you hate math, it's probably not the right path for you. Besides, the world already has enough people who hate their jobs, self-employed or otherwise.

  • Is it something you have a talent for? You may dream of making it big as a musician when you're playing “Guitar Hero” in your living room, but if you don't know an A chord from an anthill, that's probably just a fantasy. Figure out what you're good at and then look for opportunities where you can put your natural talent to work.

  • Is it something you have the skills for? If you don't know anything about accounting except that the figures are supposed to balance, you probably don't want to set up your own accounting business. You can always learn, of course, but your learning curve will affect the timetable for your financial plan.

Pursuing money for its own sake is neither enriching nor rewarding. The happiest millionaires are those who combine work they truly enjoy with the financial goals they've set for themselves. They have a powerful desire for a fuller, better, more abundant life, and money is only part of the riches they seek.

Prioritizing Your Financial Goals

Money magazine’s website has a useful tool called The Prioritizer to help you figure out which of your goals are most important to you. You can enter up to 15 items, and they can be a mix of short- and long-term goals. You answer a series of questions that ask you to choose between every possible pairing of the goals you entered. When you’re done, The Prioritizer shows you how you ranked your own goals. Check out The Prioritizer as you plan for your future as a millionaire.

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