Introduction: In the middle of the 20th century, a typical millionaire either inherited family wealth or earned it in the oil industry. Names like Rockefeller, Mellon, J. Paul Getty, Hunt, du Pont, and Hughes belong to this category. Those who earned their millions include Pratt in General Motors, Kaiser through Kaiser Industries, and Joseph Kennedy through diversity in his investing. Today's millionaires who inherit their fortunes are a much smaller percentage of the total. and entrepreneurs claim the largest group. Before the latest economic downturn, money earned in real estate was dominant, but since, the industries developed by entrepreneurs are extremely diverse, as is the age of the 21st century millionaire.
The changes are due to several factors. One important factor to consider is the value of the dollar. There are more millionaires today than ever in history, because of the devaluation of the dollar. The dollar is worth less, which makes a million dollars worth less, and easier to attain. Statistics tell us that overall in the United States almost one out of every 30 households holds assets of $1 million or more, and it is climbing. It is easier than ever to make that kind of money, and in the last few years of the struggling economy, the squeeze on corporate salaries has thrown lots of creative and hardworking thinkers out of corporate America and into the mix of people out there working toward the goal of becoming a self-made millionaire.
In this article of "How to Think Like a Millionaire," you will dip into the pool of today's millionaire's club and get a firsthand look at those who might be your role model.
Who is making a million today? Though many of today's self-made millionaires did not get much education past high school, most did go to college, but not necessarily top schools. Most are men and most are making the big bucks outside of what you may think would be the place to make money -- finance and entertainment industries. Most are married, had an upbringing that demanded hard work, perseverance, and determination. Many are children of immigrants and cultures that value frugality. Many new millionaires are actually over 50, yet there are children in the mix.
First let's look at those under 20 who have made millions. The most recognized name would be Justin Bieber. This young man started making YouTube videos, worked hard to keep his fans growing in numbers, and become an international sensation. On top of that, Bieber managed his earnings by diversifying his brand into products and planning for the future. Maddie Bradshaw started making magnets for locker decorations in middle school, went on Shark Tank at 16, and with three shark investors hit the big time making jewelry. Ashley Qualls founded WhateverLife.com designing MySpace layouts; Juliath Brindak, at age 10, was sketching characters, and by age 16 developed a social media platform that takes in millions, mostly through ads; and Sean Belnik started an e-tail shop at 16, eventually starting BizChair.com, which took him past $24 million by the time he reached 20.
People who earned their first millions after age 40 include Chris Gardner, whose story was made public by Will Smith in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness; and Harland Sanders, who started KFC at age 62. Barrack Obama didn't earn his first wealth until age 43, when he republished his book about his father. Martha Stewart was 40 when first earning a million dollars writing a book. She went into high-end catering and then into the media industry to reach assets over $300 million today.
Jon Koon grew up with a dad who loved cars and everything about them. Jon followed his Dad's passion and discussed with his father why these extreme car gadgets only came from Japan. Seeing the idea as something he wanted to do, he took $5,000 he'd saved over the years from gifts and began to purchases these parts from Japanese suppliers. He got a local mechanic to use them to "pimp up" local cars and the rest is history. His management decision to go into manufacturing his own line, as opposed to opening other mechanic shops, was strategic. He has diversified his manufacturing into young fashion. Needless to say he makes many millions a year.
It can be seen from these descriptions that making a million dollars can be done in any industry, at any age, and with any interest. Large amounts of money is not initially required, working out of your home is normal, as is involving family, friends, and creative ideas. The list of millionaires goes on and on. Today, becoming a billionaire is the focus of many people. A study of the biographies of millionaires also reveals that all of them made mistakes. Some of them lost their millions and fell into bankruptcy; while others who lost it turned around and rebuilt from the ground up. Most learned from small mistakes, listened to advisers, and made strategic plans to not compound negative results from those mistakes.
Do these millionaires of today have commonalities? There are many things that these people have in common. While today, 40 percent of millionaires are women, there are 68 percent of affluent women who are investing and headed in the million dollar directions, so do not assume that one commonality is being male. Also, though 91 percent of those in the millionaire club are white, the emergent studies show only 75 percent white heading in that direction. Nonwhite millionaires will be going up by 25 percent in the next few years. The average age of millionaires is 60, but the new average appears to be closer to 40. Careers where most make their money is in information technology, finance and accounting, and medical fields, all of which are very broad in themselves. Studies also revealed that younger people who are affluent are less likely to use a financial adviser than those over 60.
Today's emerging millionaires are mostly entrepreneurs in the fields of technology, finance, or medicine, and technology appears to lead the way. Young people are not afraid to start small, with little capital, and they are adamant about continually growing their business. Most seek mentors, continually look for learning opportunities and reevaluate their plans, goals, and mindset on a regular basis. Today's entrepreneur who makes it big also seems to have a passion for their product. It grows out of what is known, where their interest lies, plus the ability to see a market where there is a good possibility for growth. Few march into areas about which they have little knowledge or interest.
Most who are capable of earning lots of money are observant, pay more attention to the realities of their business than to what people have to say, and know their numbers, their costs of materials, manufacturing, cost of customer acquisition, and all about the competition. They are dreamers with their feet firmly planted on the ground. They are not necessarily highly intelligent, but hard working, ethical, honest, and focused on the plan. These people will not be stopped because of roadblocks. The millionaire personality simply decides how to get around or take down such problems and keeps going. That is not to say that when the business numbers speak loudly of problems, changes are not effected to correct those problems. One last item that all have in common is staying in good health, both in eating and exercise. Without good health, any business is pretty much a moot point.
The differences in the typical emerging millionaires. Emerging millionaires are those whose businesses are poised to net over a million dollars this year. There are differences that stand out when you look closely at each. Their goals are not all the same. Most do not base their goals on making a certain amount of money, though of course there are some who do. Many have a goal to eventually make a difference in the world in a positive way. Meanwhile they set up objectives or steps toward that goal and that is where they focus. Objectives are sometimes called short-term goals. These might include increasing the output of manufacturing, moving into more markets, diversifying, bringing in a partner, obtaining more capital, going international or changing the marketing plans, costs, or direction of the business. Some entrepreneurs are offered large amounts of money to sell just when they get over a million dollars in assets. That happens when an investor sees an opportunity. He sees a young person who would love to have a million dollars and a business that would profit him much more in the long run. Knowing when, or if, you should sell a whole business requires the guidance of someone with experience. It might be what will set you up to go into another business, or it might be the end of a good run. Either way, it is a compliment and worth examining.
Each individual has ownership in all goals and all steps toward attaining those goals, though each entrepreneur will see those goals in different lights. A person's family values, willingness to work hard, focus, and give up other things in order to make a business work all effect the plans and goals and strategies. For some, the need to have a life outside of the job will determine many goals. Some business owners set up a board or managers to run the day-to-day business, but this is done carefully, and with much oversight. Once you let your decisions be made by others, you lose some of the energy of the work. However, if your goal is to free up your time, you will value the choices to give others more leeway in that decision making. It also depends upon where you are in your life. For now you may want to run the show, but later in your life you decide to focus on a family and are glad to move some of the management to a trusted few. Some personalities need more control, others have more ability to trust others. Today's millionaire is more often in charge of the day-to-day business.
There are those who will only consider manufacturing done in the United States, but others who see a more global market and are glad to move their production to another country. The ideas, thoughts, and goals of millionaires are as varied as political opinions. Ultimately, it is up to the business owner to make the decisions that drive the business in a specific direction. Depending upon the experiences of the individual, the ideas or concepts used as the impetus to start a real business are as different as stars in the sky. Most millionaires started with something that came naturally to them and did not seek out something to make, just for the sake of making money. Most were doing something in a small way and it was going so well they just went with it. With the Internet and growing education in technology, it seems all things are possible today.
Summary: Becoming a millionaire is no longer a far-off dream. It is a real possibility for many in today's world, because of the devaluation of the dollar, technology, and need for creativity in our current economic state. In the 1950s, most millionaires inherited their money from large estates, or earned it through the oil business. Today's millionaire is an entrepreneur who sees a need, has a passion for meeting that need, and is creative about supplying a product for that need, eventually developing a plan and a strategy that will take their work to a business level and further expansion. It is more within the reach of anyone than ever before, and there are more and more millionaires every year.
Millionaires have different goals, work in different ways, and span the arena of marketing and industry. The average millionaire is younger than ever, must have a good work ethic, and continue to learn. Most see the growth of the business as their focus, not simply making lots of money. All seem to require knowledge in technology for use across political boundaries, social media, and markets of the world. These individuals must be open to change, observant, and listening to their mentors. No one has ever said it was easy to become a millionaire, but everyone admits it is very possible.
Example: Gabriel worked in the military as a mechanic and loved the work. What he found most satisfying was piecing together equipment from junk parts and the remains of other vehicles that had been involved in battle. When Gabriel came home he missed the work. He went to the junk yard and began to collect old parts of cars that had been thrown away and worked on any friend's old car that was in need. Word got around, and eventually Gabriel decided to make his hobby into a business. He started where he was already working, in the garage of the car owner. He studied costs of other businesses and what they charged, priced new and used parts online so he knew which suppliers had the best deals, and decided to branch out into individualizing rides for customers that wanted that. Eventually he was able to pay rent on a small building and hired a friend who had worked with him before. He gave special rates to veterans and set up a foundation to take old cars from anyone who would contribute them, fix them up and offer them to vets for free. He had to hire a financial manager to set up a charitable foundation, because he began to get donations of money. The financial manager helped Gabriel make a plan for future growth, should he choose to expand on what he was doing, and helped him find another veteran who could mentor him along the way.
Consider this: To become a millionaire in today's world requires you to stop in your tracks, become narrowly focused on what you want to do, do it with every ounce of energy, and then push yourself further. You have as much opportunity as anyone else. It doesn't matter if you are poor, homeless, not as smart as some, or you have little education. What you do have is opportunity. You have the opportunity to work hard, overcome obstacles, get up early, work late, change how you spend your time, your mental effort, your lazy ways, and start focusing on something, anything, and plan, learn, observe, and listen. None of that costs money. Free knowledge abounds online and in libraries. You can run, walk, hike for free. You can get up early and stop eating junk food. It is a lifestyle you will be creating. It is one your children will inherit and one that will build your life into what it takes to make a million dollars. Every self-made millionaire started out where you are -- or worse. No excuses. Shut off the television and go out the door, turn on the computer, think and plan. Your first step is there waiting for you. Take it.