Billionaires...millionaires...the wealthy...the rich...the elite...the 1%...no matter what you call them, or how you feel about them, they have done something right when it comes to money. They sure know how to earn, save and grow it.
In different areas of life, it's smart to study best practices of people who have achieved success. Want to lose weight? Turn to Jillian Michaels or Dr. William Davis. Want to market a new business? Consider Seth Godin or Gary Vaynerchuk. Looking for investing tips? Try Jean Chatzky or Dave Ramsey.
Today we gathered money advice from America's wealthiest people. Love 'em or hate 'em, many have shared thought-provoking tips on how future millionaires can make their goals reality.
One of the wealthiest women in America today, she didn't come from money.
Oprah is proof that optimism and belief that you can achieve what you believe really works. Whether you want to build up a multi-million dollar nest egg, retire to the tropics or just be free of your student loans before your tenth college reunion, if you believe you can do it, it's possible.
That's not to say that it's as simple as believing; you need a strategy and plan to follow. To become debt free, you need a budget. Do you want to retire with enough money to fund your dreams? Make it easy on yourself and have 15% of your paycheck directly funneled into your retirement savings account of choice.
The fewer steps you have to take in order to save money, the more likely you'll do it.
It's similar to how those prepackaged meals work so well for weight loss. When you're eating a prepared meal that meets your nutrient requirements, you're bound to see the scale go down. Why go out to grab a burger and fries when you've got a healthy stir fry that can be microwaved in two minutes?
Technology makes it easier than ever before to just have a portion of your paycheck siphoned off into your 401k and another savings account. As long as the money never touches your checking account, you won't miss it. For extra savings power, increase the amount each time you get a raise.
You might be asking yourself, why would he need two incomes? He's Jay Leno. He's got a fortune invested in various collective vehicles. But remember, he wasn't always a famous late night talk show host. He once worked in a car dealership (a normal average-Joe type of job).
It was his willingness to save one income early on that allowed him the financial freedom to continue doing so when he became a household name.
Even after he got his television gig, he did a minimum of 150 comedy gigs a year. When you take on a part-time job it's tempting to increase your spending. Resist that urge and use the extra funds for good. Use it to pay off debt or start investing it for the future. If you're a teacher, you can tutor on weekends and vacations. Are you an accountant? Take on the books for some small businesses in your town. And, to be more like Leno, aim to live off the smaller income.
No matter whether you're trying to pay off debt or building your nest egg there are plenty of metrics you can track.
Perhaps the easiest thing you can do is balance your bank account each month. Or make sure that you're processing your credit card payment on time. But that type of data won't get you very far in meeting your goals.
It's essential to track the things that help you make traction. In terms of paying off debt, this means making and following a budget as well as throwing extra money at your debts each month. When building wealth, watch your investments to make sure they're performing well. Then, from time to time, rebalance your portfolio so that you can achieve your financial goals.
We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. Maybe you haven't heard it since childhood, but it offers a real lesson for young and old, alike. Slow and steady always wins. In running, in investing.
Just get started.
Open an investment account and add to it each month. Deposit $50 a month and you'll see progress. You'll build your savings muscle by developing the habit and increasing the amount as you get used to it. As an added bonus, you'll get to take advantage of dollar cost averaging. It's worked pretty well for Buffet. It will work for you, too.
While not directly related to money, Gates' wisdom can be applied to anyone's financial situation.
Although it's great that your 401 k netted an 11% gain for three years in a row, don't get down when you get half of that in year four. Or when your first rental property purchase seems like a near-perfect experience off of reality TV, but then the next one is a complete flop. Realize that there will be bad times. The bad news is that it's inevitable. The good news is that you can educate yourself and learn from your successes and failures. Be proud of your success, by all means. Just don't get used to them or expect them as a way of life. With your investments, don't take them out when the market's down! Actually, this is prime time to buy; it's like a discount. Use a reasonable amount of cash to buy more. For your rental business, meet with other investors to learn the trade and realize that with each deal you make, you'll hone your skills and increase your successes.
This advice isn't for everyone and is quite controversial in some personal finance circles. But the reason to borrow money when you least need it is because when you do need it is the exact time that it will be the most difficult to obtain a loan.
This advice would work best in the area of business; if you're able to obtain a loan for $5,000 to open your storefront, then you keep that $5,000 of your own in your personal emergency fund. By using the borrowed money for your business ventures, you'll be able to keep your own personal cash liquid and your family out of jeopardy when the worst case scenario becomes reality. Use your borrowed money to fund the business and make it be self-sufficient from then on.
Many of America's billionaires and millionaires echo this same sentiment. It wasn't the money that motivated them; it was doing something big.
Creating something useful for the world. Helping others achieve their dreams. Of course it's not just as simple as quitting your 9-to-5 in order to "pursue your passion." You will put in countless hours of work, sometimes wonder if it's really worth it. Eventually you find success, in both giving value to mankind and increasing your bank account. Unfortunately, this isn't a guaranteed way to millionaire status. But it is promising if you've got an idea that won't go away. Give it a shot, you never know if you don't try. And if one venture fails, remember the quote from Gates and go on to your next idea.
Taylor became a self-made millionaire by age 30 by finding hidden money in everyday life, and then building a business around telling others how to do the same. His advice is practical and it works for everyone.
Finding money is as simple as using a shopping portal like Ebates to start all your online shopping purchases from. You can often get back a few percent of your purchase price. Pair your purchase with a cash back credit card, or a gift card that you bought at a discount, as well as an online coupon code and you're effortlessly getting back two percent or more of your purchase and saving 10% or more immediately.
Many people stay away from the stock market because it's risky. Yes, it is. But it also brings reward.
The $2,000 you put in next month might drop to $1,800 by the end of the year, then skyrocket to $2,200 two months later. But if you do nothing, that $2,000 will remain virtually unchanged if you keep it in your savings account.
This isn't to say that you should err on the side of caution. Sometimes you need safety. The safest way to protect your investments is to keep money that you cannot afford to lose (emergency fund, down payment fund) in a savings account or money market account. You'll get very little interest, but you also won't lose anything. Money that you don't need for the next decade, like a retirement account or your toddler's college fund, can be put in mutual funds or ETFs.
A lot of media makes investing out to be a sophisticated, exciting process. But it's not, according to Soros.
It should be boring and not worth mentioning or thinking about too much. When you're always trying out new investment opportunities or trying to get higher interest rates by constantly shifting your money around, you're likely just wasting your time and money. You can always earn more money, but that time spent away from family and friends can't be regained. To keep your investment life sufficiently boring, choose a few index funds that cover a variety of domestic and global companies. Choose ones that have good track records (I choose ones that have been around for a decade or longer and have average historical returns as close to double digits as possible). Check in on them quarterly to rebalance, as necessary.
Diversity is key when it comes to money, especially as you get more of it. Having a single checking and savings account is fine. But in regards to your investments, you should consider a mix of index funds, mutual funds, stocks, bonds and real estate.
Not every investment is going to get great returns all of the time and since you don't control the economy, you have no way of knowing which one you should put all of your proverbial eggs in. By having your money spread out, you are pretty sure that you'll never lose all of it in one fell swoop. Your international market index fund might fall, but the North American one might be perfectly fine. There might be a major round of layoffs in your community, causing people to sell their homes, but that means you have a larger applicant pool for your rentals.
You don't have to jump in and diversify to this extent at once, just increase your diversity as you increase your wealth.
These words of wisdom were first said to Cardone by his mom, but it's timeless advice that works for everyone.
Using some of your money to take a class that will get you a new certification, getting another degree or even just buying some books that are relevant to your industry are all ways you can invest in making yourself more useful to your employer, clients, and other business associates. Career coach Dan Miller is known to suggest that people spend, at minimum 3 to 5 percent of their income on self-development. Even if you're earning $35,000 a year, that's $1050 that you can spend to attend a conference and buy several books. Once you get near to six-figures, you can take the amount closer to five percent. On an $80,000 salary, that's $4,000 that you can spend to join a paid mastermind group, take a class or go to national conferences in your industry.
This may seem like unlikely financial advice, but it's so true. We pick up the habits of the people we spend the most time with, and that impacts all areas of our life.
Think about your closest friends, what do they have in common with you? Maybe most of you are in the same profession, have kids in the same sports, enjoy the same hobbies or have the same religious beliefs. Let's say your kids are all on the soccer team together, but the parents sit on the sidelines talking about how they're living paycheck-to-paycheck and can't seem to get ahead. You probably don't want to spend too much time with them no matter how nice they are; most of the time, poor spending choices are a big part of why people are stuck in this cycle. It's a hard one to break, for sure, but not impossible. Read books, listen to podcasts, join an online mastermind group or cultivate a friendship with someone who's at the level you want to be at and learn from them.
Here you have it, from the ninth richest person in America: money doesn't buy happiness. Sure, having all your needs and some of your wants covered will give you a relatively stress-free life, financially speaking, but it won't make you happier to be with your partner, be a better parent or make you fall in love with your J-O-B. Studies show that after household income reaches $75,000 there's hardly any increase in happiness.
With that said, as you aim to implement these various pieces of advice from America's wealthiest people, remember that after you reach the point where you have enough, don't let attaining more consume you. Take up good money habits and your bank accounts will grow while you’re free to spend time cultivating relationships with your loved ones, find a job that is fulfilling, contribute to your community.
Related: Richest People in the World's Wealthiest Countries