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3 money tips from self-made millionaires

A woman looking at a money charts with computer monitors displaying stock charts.
Learning how money can work for you is key to long-term wealth. (Source: Getty) (Antonio_Diaz via Getty Images)

Ever wished you could peek inside the brain of a self-made millionaire? Well, I’m here to share some of the goss.

A few years ago, I started a financial education platform to help people take control of their finances. I worked with financial professionals to create our Mastering Money program. Today, hundreds of people have saved and invested tens of thousands of dollars through the program.


In addition to working with experienced financial professionals, I’ve also interviewed a number of self-made millionaires to understand how they achieved their financial success.

Here are 3 powerful insights I learned which can help you fast-track your financial success.

1. It’s not just about ‘working hard’, you also need to work on the right things

It can be frustrating when financially successful people talk about how hard they work because lots of people work hard, right? Not all of them end up rich.

So, what gives?

Well, the hard pill to swallow is this: money doesn’t care if you work hard.

Now, to be clear, I’m not saying that ‘hard work’ isn’t important. What I am saying is that there’s a deeply flawed idea going around that you just need to work hard to get ahead financially.

So, if you aren’t where you want to be financially, you probably need to work harder, right?

It doesn’t really work that way.

A worker pushes a trolley in a factory warehouse.
Having a job is just one piece of the wealth puzzle. (Source: Getty) (Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd via Getty Images)

Becoming financially successful is a specific skill on its own. I mean, just because you know how to eat food doesn’t mean you know how to cook it. They’re different skills.

So, having a job and earning money is a different capability to actually knowing how to successfully manage that money and use it to build wealth.

You can spend your whole life working hard to earn money, but if you don’t know how to save and invest it, you will never achieve sustainable, long-term financial success.

If you want to be financially successful, you have to ‘work hard’ on the things that actually create financial success. And earning money is just one part of that equation.

2. Care more about being wealthy than looking fancy

I remember interviewing one self-made millionaire some time back.

He said that when he started making big money, he didn’t really change his lifestyle.

He didn’t start buying expensive cars or holidays, even though he could easily afford it. He continued to live in an ordinary apartment and drive a normal car.

For a long time, he just put that money back into investments and businesses.

Here’s the lesson a lot of people miss: in the beginning, you need to care more about being wealthy in the long-term, than looking fancy in the short-term.

Most people want to live a fancy life now. But if you can flip the script, if you can care more about the things that build real wealth - such as learning how to earn, save and invest - your future-self will inevitably be able to buy nicer things, with more ease and less stress.

A couple sip champagne while sitting in a limousine.
Long-term wealth is more important than looking fancy now. (Source: Getty) (Tom Merton via Getty Images)

I’ve seen so many of our students turn their finances around once they truly understand the importance of building wealth.

For example, Sara came to us with almost no savings - despite years of working. She was living paycheque to paycheque. Yet, in just over two years since doing our program, Sara built her net worth to over $80,000 and today she’s a confident saver and investor.

What changed the game for her? Once Sara really understood how wealth was created and what that could mean for her future, her priorities started to change.

Things she used to spend money on didn’t seem as attractive, compared to the opportunity to build wealth and freedom long term.

You behave in alignment with what you care about. So, if you care more about looking fancy, your behaviour will reflect that. If you care more about being wealthy, your behaviour reflects that.

3. Be willing to break from the herd

Take a minute to look around at the 10 people you interact with the most.

What kind of financial behaviours do they have? Do they prioritise financial health? Are they saving and investing regularly? Are they people you can go to for financial advice?

If the answer is a solid “no”, you have to look outside your current circle for the support and resources to achieve your financial goals.

None of the self-made millionaires I’ve talked to were surrounded by people who could chart out a clear path to ‘financial success’ for them. Most of them came from very humble beginnings.

They had to take it upon themselves to find the people, resources and support systems that would help them achieve their financial goals.

And that can be really uncomfortable.

When no one around you knows what investing is and you want to start investing, or everyone around you is spending and you’re not, it can feel scary and confronting to take that path alone.

So yes, the road to financial success might require you to step outside your comfort zone, but aren’t your dreams worth a little discomfort?

Paridhi Jain is the founder of SkilledSmart, an independent financial education platform helping adults learn to save and invest their money. For more money tips, you can get a free e-book on “5 Money Mistakes Costing You Thousands” via their website, and follow them on Instagram.

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