You have a lot more in common with people who are millionaires than you think. It’s true that sometimes the rich have pricier homes, cars and vacations. But when it comes down to the really important things – like health, family, general level of happiness and sense of well-being, being mega-wealthy just doesn’t matter. I know this because I work with investors at many different levels of affluence. There just isn’t that much difference when you really boil it down.
I would even take this a step further; many millionaires live like paupers. They may surround themselves with opulence but they fail to cash in where it counts. So if you want to live a millionaire, make sure you focus on those things that will bring you and your family the greatest return on your investment. Here’s how to do just that:
More than money, time is your greatest asset. You and Bill Gates have the same 24 hours in a day. Bill is able to leverage his time because he has assistants, chefs and handlers. You may not have the entourage that Mr. Gates does, but you can still stretch your time simply by not wasting it.
Tim Ferriss wrote a wildly popular book called “The Four Hour Work Week” and he talks a great deal about how anyone at any economic level can outsource mundane tasks. There are tons of ways to “create” time to focus more on the things you really want to do. Here are a few:
- Shut off the TV
- Exercise at home (save the commute time)
- Hire a personal assistant – don’t laugh but it’s easy to outsource a lot of what you do to someone on the other side of the world. It’s very inexpensive and can be very effective.
- Put all your bills on auto pay
- Delegate tasks to other family members
- Take advantage of online banking
- Hire a maid once a week
There are unlimited possibilities. I suggest that you constantly be on the lookout for ways to save time.
Exercise – The next time you are about to do something, ask yourself the following questions:
- How long will this task take me to do?
- Is that the best use of my time?
- Am I the best person to do this?
- How much would it cost me to buy this rather than make it? How much would it cost me to have someone else do this rather than do it myself?
Rich people, if they are smart, decide how they want to spend their time. And more important, they choose who they want to spend their time with. You can do that too. When I talk to people who seem happy and fulfilled, they tend to be those who surround themselves with people they love and that often ends up being family.
You may think you don’t have the time to spend you’d like to with people you really love, but I suggest that you question yourself. Is that really true?
This is something I have to do all the time. Because I am a workaholic, my default activity is to work. While there is nothing more rewarding then spending time with my family, there is a little crazy voice in my head that often whispers,”Neal…you should be working!”
Rather than succumb to that old speech, I consciously consider the proposition and try to find a way to make the family time happen. I usually succeed and when I do I never regret it. I suggest that you consider doing the same thing. When you have an opportunity to spend some quality time with someone you really love, just say “yes” and make it happen. If you take some of the steps I outlined in step 1 above, this step will be even easier to capitalize on.
My very favorite vacation of all time was the one our family took with our dearest friends. We went on a Caribbean cruise and to be honest it wasn’t cheap. But the moments etched in my mind weren’t a function of the places we saw. The most precious memories were just having a boat load of fun every moment with our family and our friends.
I don’t believe that vacations have to be pricey to be fun. But they do have to be meaningful. You can have great vacations as long as you are with the people you want to be with and you enjoy yourself.
You may not be able to afford to go to the Galapagos Islands, but you can have just as much fun if you set your mind to it. Don’t worry about your destination so much. You can have as much fun as the rich do on their vacations no matter where you go.
Smart millionaires have almost no debt. That creates a wonderful sense of security and well-being which is priceless. If you are in debt, do whatever possible to squash it. Your first target is to end your credit card debt of course but don’t stop there.
Even though it may not be the smartest financial move in all cases, I suggest that you pay off your home loan as quickly as you can. Typically you can pay off your mortgage much faster than you think. If you do so, you’ll actually have a great feeling that many millionaires only dream about having.
The smart well-to-do realize that they must enjoy the way they spend their day. That means they are very conscious of the work they take on. If it’s not satisfying, they make a change.
You have more power than you think to get a different job or even change your career if your current situation leaves you less than satisfied. Don’t settle.
You can be just as happy (or happier) than people who are millionaires. As you can see, the things that really matter don’t have a price tag associated with them.
Are you living like a millionaire? If not, what do you need to do differently? When are you going to start taking action on this?
Neal Frankle is a Certified Financial Planner with more than 25 years of experience, author of the Wealth Pilgrim blog, and a featured contributor here on the “CIF Blog”!