In fact, CNBC reports that in 2013 there were†13.2 million millionaires†in the United States alone.
Thatís a lot of people, people.† And the odds are one or two of them are living near†you.
Heck, one of them might even be your neighbor. In fact, the odds are very good that it†isyour neighbor.
But, Len, you donít know my neighbor. That guy doesnít look anything like a millionaire.
Well, guess what?† Your suburban millionaire neighbor called (oh yeah, we go way back) and the two of us had a nice little chat.
Hereís a few things he shared with me ó but apparently doesnít want to tell you. (No offense, Iím sure.)
1. He always spends less than he earns. In fact his mantra is, over the long run, youíre better off if you strive to be anonymously rich rather than deceptively poor.
2. He knows that patience is a virtue. The odds are you wonít become a millionaire overnight.† If youíre like him, your wealth will be accumulated gradually by diligently saving your money over multiple decades.
3.† When you go to his modest three-bed two-bath house, youíre going to be†drinking Folgers instead of Starbucks. And if you need a lift, well, youíre going to get a ride in his ten-year-old economy sedan. And if you think that makes him cheap, ask him if he cares. (He doesnít.)
4. He pays off his credit cards in full every month. Heís smart enough to understand that if he canít afford to pay cash for something, then he canít afford it.
5. He realized early on that money does not buy happiness. If youíre looking for nirvana, you need to focus on attaining financial freedom.
6. He never forgets that financial freedom is a state of mind that comes from being debt free. Best of all,†it can be attained regardless of your income level.
7. He knows that getting a second job not only increases the size of your bank account quicker but it also keeps you busy ó and being busy makes it difficult to spend what you already have.
8. He understands that money is like a toddler; it is incapable of managing itself. After all, you canít expect your money to grow and mature as it should without some form of credible money management.
9. Heís a big believer in†paying yourself first. Paying yourself first is an essential tenet of personal finance and a great way to build your savings and instill financial discipline.
10. Although itís possible to get rich if you spend your life making a living doing something you donít enjoy, he wonders why you do. Life is too short.
11.† He knows that failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. He also knows that the few millionaires that reached that milestone without a plan got there only because of dumb luck. Itís not enough to simply declare that you want to be†financially free.
12. When it came time to set his savings goals, he wasnít afraid to think big. Financial success demands that you have a vision that is significantly larger than you can currently deliver upon.
13. Over time, he found out that hard work can often help make up for a lot of financial mistakes ó and you will make†financial mistakes.
14. He realizes that stuff happens, thatís why youíre a fool if you donít insure yourself against risk. Remember that the potential for bankruptcy is always just around the corner and can be triggered from multiple sources: the death of the familyís key bread winner, divorce, or disability that leads to a loss of work.
15. He understands that time is an ally of the young. He was fortunate enough to begin saving in his twenties so he could take maximum advantage of†the power of compounding interest†on his nest egg.
16. He knows that you canít spend what you donít see. You should use automatic paycheck deductions to build up your retirement and other savings accounts.† As your salary increases you can painlessly increase the size of those deductions.
17. Even though he has a job that he loves, he doesnít have to work anymore because everything he owns is paid for ó and has been for years.
18.†Heís not impressed that you drive an over-priced luxury car†and live in a McMansion thatís two sizes too big for your family of four.
19. After six months of asking, he finally quit waiting for you to return his pruning shears. He broke down and bought himself a new pair last month.† Thereís no hard feelings though; he can afford it.
So thatís it. Now you know what your millionaire neighbor wonít tell you.
Oh, and, um, would you be so kind to keep this just between you and me? Iíd hate to ruffle anyoneís feathers or cause of any kind of neighborly spat.
Thanks. Youíre a peach.
Photo Credit: tabreandrew
(This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on May 27, 2010)