What makes a millionaire?

By Dr. Ken Elliott,
Dean, Belhaven – Jackson Lefleur

It’s not what you think.  Thomas J. Stanley has spent a career studying wealthy people and the personal characteristics and actions that make them successful. His book The Millionaire Mind (New York Times Best-Seller, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2001) is the culmination of his research through interviews and surveys of business people who have acquired the title of “millionaire.”  Some of his findings are not what you would expect.  Here are some of the highlights.

  1. Most wealthy people are not wealthy by being lucky. They generally work very hard and often long hours. Their understanding of luck is: “The harder you work the luckier you become.”  The point is not so much about “luck” but rather that “risk” is lessened through working hard and working smart.  Generally, the wealthy do not play the lottery but they do know their business and they do know the odds.
  2. The wealthy rely on good counselors. “. . . in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14). Stanley explains: “The wealthy are “never too proud to seek advice from skilled investment advisors, especially CPAs and tax attorneys.” (p. 152)
  3. The wealthy focus on their niche. This means that their main interest is in their own business and that is what they invest in. They work their particular area or niche better than others.
  4. They are also not deterred by criticism. They are firm believers in themselves.  Self-confidence is a real success factor and helps them overcome difficult obstacles.
  5. Their ability to reduce stress is founded in a strong religious faith. Stanley noted that the stronger the religious faith the stronger the self-confidence.  This is not what you would expect, but he nevertheless found it to be true.
  6. Generally, most of the wealthy also had strong marriages, especially those marriages that have a strong sense of partnership not only in life but also in the business.
  7. Also, they know what their vocation is. The live it, love it, and work it.  They know their business well enough that they do not necessarily go with the crowd but are able to plow a new path where others fail to go.

This book has many more interesting insights into the success of the millionaire.  It’s a quick read and well worth spending some time in it.

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