10 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires & Why You Should Adopt Them

Why it Matters

• Your successful habits may be the reason you’re rich or poor.

• Your routines affect your happiness, sadness, stress, relationships, and health.

• By tweaking your lifestyle in a few ways, you can start to think like a millionaire.

Kaitlyn Schlicht tkc.profilePicture Written by: Kaitlyn Schlicht | Transamerica
July 15, 2017

5 Min readClock Icon

Who wants to be a millionaire? [Cue the dimming lights, dramatic music]


However, inheritance, a trust fund, or winning a game show hosted by a charming man with pearly white teeth are not the usual ways millionaires accumulate their wealth. Believe it or not, 80%-86% of millionaires are self-made, according to renowned millionaire researcher, Thomas J. Stanley.

Millionaires soar financially because of their daily habits. Tim Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, tells us, "Your habits are the reason why you’re rich or poor…It’s often two or three habits that separate the wealthy from those who are financially challenged.”

So if you’re one of the motivated individuals who has painted “$1,000,000” on your ceiling (it’s a thing), it’s time to turn off the game shows and read on to discover The 10 Successful Habits of Self-Made Millionaires.

1. Get enough sleep.

Millionaires aren’t so into those Netflix-all-night binges. They make sure to get enough sleep so their creative juices can steadily flow throughout the day.

According to Stanley, “They sleep a respectable average of 7-1/2 hours a night.”

To make sure you’re getting adequate sleep each night, try drawing your evening bath an hour early, setting your coffee pot to automatically turn on in the morning, and the prepare next day’s outfit the night before.

2. Wake up early.

Only in the movies do millionaires sleep in all morning to find breakfast served on a silver platter. Early to bed, early to rise. Most millionaires hit the alarm clock at 6 a.m.

While the rest of the world is still sleeping, they’re getting in a few extra hours, without distraction, to have time for the rest of the successful habits on this list. Read on.

3. Exercise regularly.

It’s easy to imagine millionaires working in their cherry-wood offices all day and night, making deals over the phone, leaning back in their chairs with their legs crisscrossed on their desk. However, millionaires do have interests outside of work, and they understand the importance of “working” their bodies just as much as their financial portfolios.

Stanley found that most millionaires exercise for 3.5 hours a week. Having a steady exercise routine, recreational activity, or sport, takes endurance, time, commitment, and sweat -- coincidentally, the same characteristics it takes to achieve 7-figure financial goals.

4. Read (books).

Not only do millionaires exercise their bodies, but also their minds. “85% of millionaires read two or more books a month,” says Corley. Corley isn’t talking about reading Facebook posts and gossip magazines, either. Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.

We can all try reading up on more important topics, like what Janet Yellen is doing to influence the economy versus what Charlie Sheen has been up to lately.

5. Create to-do lists.

Millionaires create to-do lists while consistently crossing off tasks at the top and adding new ones to the bottom.

As stated by Corley, “81% of the wealthy, who do plan their day, maintain a daily to do list. Less than 1% of the poor use a daily to do list.”

The key here is making a prioritized list and sticking to it. We all know how easy it is to get sidetracked, particularly around 2 p.m., but if that list is next to you at all times, it’ll remain at the forefront.

Tip: Make your to-do list the background of your phone or computer desktop. There’s no getting away from your technology, and now, there’s no getting away from your list.

6. Network.

Millionaires do not work in silos; they get out and talk to people, expanding their pool of resources and wisdom. Face-to-face time with people goes a long way.

Just like professional athletes, musicians, and brain surgeons have learned from their predecessors after them, the wealthy learn from the wealthy.

Tim Conley confirms, “79% of the wealthy network five hours or more per month.”

If you don’t have access to your favorite successful millionaires in your direct circle, watch their Ted Talks, read their books (circling back to number five on our list), or listen to their podcasts.

7. Love your job.

There’s more to caring about money than counting it as it comes in. You have to genuinely be interested in what you’re doing to climb the ladder. If not, it’s never too late to switch ladders.

In Stanley’s book, The Millionaire Mind, he notes, “Over 80% [of millionaires] said caring about their vocation is what ultimately built their wealth.”

Ask yourself if you truly love the position you are in at work. If the passion and fire beneath you is lacking, consider setting time aside to explore your true calling.

Bottom line: You need to care. A lot.

8. Use a mentor.

One common theme among millionaires, almost all of them had a mentor guiding them in the right direction and teaching them successful habits.

Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, found that 93% of millionaires credited their wealth to receiving mentorship.

Take a look at the people around you. Perhaps there is someone in your company, your neighborhood, or your social group who could lend some strategic guidance. You never know, perhaps it will be your mentor who invites you to your first millionaires-attending networking event.

9. Have multiple streams of income.

Millionaires don’t put all of their eggs in one basket.

Corley discovered, “Sixty-five percent had three or more streams of income that they created over time.”

If you currently have one source of income, try investing in a side business, or save up for another down payment to dip your toes into real estate. Maybe you have friends who are looking for a part -time partner to team up with for their enterprises.

There’s excitement in starting something creative and new, and if it’s also your vocation, you’ve already begun to understand how the successful habits weave together.

10. Save or invest.

Perhaps our personal favorite habit of self-made millionaires: they save or invest at least 20% of their income, according to Stanley.

Millionaires see their money differently than most. Although everybody views money as a way to purchase things they desire, millionaires view their money as a vehicle to gain more wealth.

Still not convinced? Says Corley, "There is a cause and effect associated with habits.” They also influence, “happiness, sadness, stress, good relationships, bad relationships, good health, or bad health." Your successful habits, including your financial habits, play a huge role in everyday life, so paying attention to them will have big benefits.

Cross-check the 10 Successful Habits of Self-Made Millionaires with your own habits. Which habits are you already practicing? Which can you adopt? Then, take action. Position your to-do list front and center, start that side business you’ve always had in the back of your mind, or gain more financial knowledge by reading more articles about budgeting and spending. We can’t guarantee you’ll become a millionaire, but who knows what potential you will unlock when you start to think like one.

Millionaire Infographic2

Things to Consider:

• Try going to bed early, getting at least 7 ½ hours of sleep, and waking up around 6 a.m. for more productivity in each day.

• Maintain a diligent To-Do list, add a networking event or two to your schedule each month, and seek out a potential mentor who you admire to start making the most out of your career.

• Talk to your financial professional, take a look at your finances, and ensure that you’re setting aside at least 20% for saving or new investment possibilities.



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