Becoming a millionaire is the aspiration of many Americans — and surely, the younger one can achieve this dream, the better. There’s a lot of great advice out there about how to get rich, but there’s also a lot of cliched rhetoric floating around that can do more harm than good — or at least, be totally unhelpful.
In an article for CNBC, Steve Adcock zeroed in on the advice that did work for him in his pursuit of wealth — and explains how he implemented it into his life.
Here’s a look at Adcock’s best tips, with the added insight of Ohan Kayikchyan, CFP, founder of Ohan The Money Doctor. Spoiler alert: he agrees with most of what Adcock says!
Ignore ‘Follow Your Passion’ Advice
“Our passions, which tend to be more on the creative side, can’t always pay the bills — our strengths do,” Adcock wrote.
Kayikchyan points out that there are many examples and stories of people who follow their passion and get paid — especially during and since the pandemic. But this approach doesn’t always pan out.
“I agree with Steve that building a career around what one is good at is, in many cases, the easier and shorter path to success when it comes to earning money,” Kayikchyan said.
Learn From Millionaires
If you want to be rich, you should surround yourself with rich people. That’s essentially the logic Adcock is promoting.
“Throughout my career, I worked with many wealthy people,” Adcock wrote. “Instead of being jealous of them, I took notes.”
This advice rings true to Kayikchyan, who had the following to say in response: “As Tony Robbins says, ‘Success leaves clues.’ Adcock talks about Brian, who seems to be a hardworking individual, always the first person in the office, volunteering for more responsibilities and never getting involved in office politics. He worked hard to earn, invest and spend consciously. Many millionaires drive simple cars, similar to Brian, who is a millionaire but owns a Casio watch. While I myself am a believer in hard work, I have also learned that working smart, not just hard, is more beneficial in achieving your income, investment and overall financial goals.”
Lose the Losers
Cutting losers from your life doesn’t exactly sound like revolutionary advice. But think about it: How many deadbeats are in your circle? Maybe more than you’re willing to admit.
“If you only hang out with people who like to drink at bars and spend money, you will most likely follow those same money-draining habits,” Adcock wrote.
What you should be doing is spending your time with people who are successful and do the things you should be doing to make money.
“Once again, there is a quote, and this time it is from Tony Robbins’ mentor, motivational speaker Jim Rohn, who famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with,” Kayikchyan said. “Always challenge yourself to be around people who are more successful than you are or those who are in a place where you want to be one day. These people have already achieved what you desire and know the path to success, and many of them are so generous that they will show you the shortcuts. And in case you find yourself as the smartest person in the room, it is time to change or upgrade the room.”
Exploit Your 9-to-5 Job
Adcock describes “exploiting” his 9-5 job — which basically means milking it for all its worth, financially and benefits-wise.
“I invested in my employer-sponsored 401(k) and got the company match of 4%, which was free money that my employer contributed on my behalf,” Adcock wrote.
Kayikchyan loves how Steve took advantage of everything his employer offered as benefits.
“I am all about that free money, aka, the employer match, as nowhere else will you get a 100% return on your money easily and without any risk,” Kayikchyan said. “Of course, if one has a high-deductible health insurance plan, they absolutely must explore HSA options. As mentioned in the article, after 65, unused money can be withdrawn for pretty much any purpose. Again, work smart, not hard.”
Switch Companies Often, If Necessary
Adcock switched companies five times in 14 years. Smart move? Maybe for this guy, but not necessarily for everyone else.
“When it comes to changing employers exclusively to boost your salary, keep in mind that building work relationships and adapting to a new workplace takes time, along with tons of training and effort,” Kayikchyan said.
Adcock says that he automated everything from paying his bills to saving for his retirement. A very savvy move!
“Using technology to benefit and buy back your time? Absolutely, all day, every day,” Kayikchyan said. “Firstly, it is easy; secondly, you are not constantly thinking or debating how much you should save and invest every month. Automation makes money handling smoother and less time-consuming. I wholeheartedly agree with this approach.”
Ignore the Haters
The sad truth: Not everyone wants you to be successful on your terms.
“People will criticize you for spending money differently,” Adcock wrote. “You might lose friends if you decline those weekly happy hours at your local bar. It’s not always easy, but ignoring hate is integral to building wealth.”
This is an important approach not only for your financial well-being, but for all other aspects of your life.
“I don’t even want to type the word ‘hate’; that’s how much I despise haters,” Kayikchyan said. “Ignoring them is one way to deal with such situations; another approach to overcome haters is to think, who cares about them? They are not the ones paying your bills or helping you accomplish your financial goals.”
Ignore the Joneses
Keeping up with neighbors, friends and relatives can be a toxic loop. Adcock made a point of resisting this temptation.
“When it comes to materialistic stuff, we tend to compare ourselves with someone who has more than we do, and that is the opposite of being grateful for everything you have at this current moment,” Kayikchyan said. “Many people will wish and desire what you have already accomplished. While Adcock was able to ignore the Joneses, another common practice is to be grateful for everything you have achieved.”
Prioritize Open Communication
Adcock recognizes that communication is key to financial health and the accumulation of wealth — especially in a marriage, which is not just a union of people, but a union of money, too.
“Too often, spouses have different ideas regarding spending habits, goals and dreams,” Adcock wrote. “If left unchecked, these differences may cause arguments and other problems in the relationship that keep you from achieving your financial goals.”
Kayikchyan champions open communication, saying, “Partners can grow together, and it takes effort from each of them. Having money dates and discussing financial goals is a common practice among many couples. And if you don’t share your financial matters, then what else are you not sharing in the relationship?”
Prioritize Your Health
Not taking care of yourself can wreak havoc not only on your mind and body, but also on your bank account as it increases the chances of needing long-term care.
“Good health makes you happier and more productive, and it also reduces the chances of unexpected medical expenses,” Adcock said.
Kayikchyan heartedly agrees.
“Health is real wealth, and having the right fitness along with a healthy lifestyle is a guaranteed path to happiness and increased productivity,” he said. “It sets off a chain reaction that positively impacts every area of your life.”
Avoid Credit Card Debt
Adcock would make any financial expert proud, because he avoided credit card debt while building his wealth.
“You can use credit cards if you are paying off the entire balance every month to avoid unnecessary high-interest charges,” Kayikchyan said. “Planning ahead for big purchases or emergencies is one way to avoid relying on credit card spending. If you cannot afford something without a credit card, it means you cannot afford it. The best approach is to save in advance for large purchases or use the credit card to take advantage of the rewards it offers and then pay it off in full.”
Always Say Yes
We often hear about the importance of saying “no,” but saying “yes” is equally meaningful.
“My mind told me to say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ but I accepted anyway,” Adcock said. “I asked many questions, found mentors and gained the experience I needed to level-up my entire career from that point forward.”
The powerful philosophy here is that as long as you are willing to learn and grow, you will benefit from most any career opportunity.
“A quote by Napoleon Hill, ‘The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does,’ says it all,” Kayikchyan said.
Stop Going To the Bar
This one pairs well with the idea of ditching losers.
“Keep your alcohol and expensive latte spending in check,” Adcock said. “It’s OK to go out occasionally, but if it becomes a habit, you’re reducing the quality of your future self by spending more money than you should.”
It’s definitely better to spend your money on something more worthwhile than a bar tab.
“It is popular in U.S. culture to socialize over alcohol,” Kayikchyan said. “However, it is an expensive lifestyle and, health-wise and wealth-wise, not beneficial at all. By saving and investing that money, as Adcock did, you will not only benefit financially, but, most importantly, your health will be at a better level.”
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