Want to become a millionaire? Here's how to do it

Close-up of bundles of money

What do you picture when you hear the word "millionaire?"

Perhaps a well-groomed senior, lounging in a bathrobe, sipping champagne and overlooking acres of achievement from the portico of a mansion? You think you can never be a millionaire. But what if you can?

Becoming one is simpler than you think. You might well be rich already. If you make $20,000 in net income every year, you're among the top 3.65 percent richest people in the world, according to Globalrichlist.com.

Simple tasks on the road to riches are not always easy, but they can be effective:

* Work smarter and harder than your competition.

Identify your competition. What differentiators can you bring to your workplace or market?

First, work smarter. There's no sense in selling ice cream on your front lawn in the dead of winter. Instead, set up a booth at the park in the sizzling summertime. Commonsense changes can greatly improve your effectiveness.

And we've all seen colleagues who work harder than anyone. Aren't they the ones promoted? Don't they often become the office linchpins?

* Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Did you get suckered into two companies that went nowhere? Did you sink $8,000 into an online business venture, only to lose it all? These are just a couple of several investment mistakes I made.

Mistakes are difficult to swallow. The best way forward: Admit we fumbled. Are you willing to admit your mistakes?

Some people beat themselves up after a goof, paralyzing their thinking from future decisions that might produce success. As IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad said, "Only those who are asleep make no mistakes."

Fess up and move on. Millionaires don't give up because of a few silly mistakes.

* Build something new that you'd love. You can read book after book about what your customers will love. By the time you deliver the innovation, customers will likely be bored with the idea.

Millionaires understand that some of the best ideas come out of passion for making the world a better place.

* Learn to budget. How much do you drop on eating out, clothing, gadgets and other unnecessary delights? Write down the amount.

Budgeting helps ensure that you spend less than you make. The only way to do that? Track everything. Get assistance with record-keeping if you need it.

* Start investing. Millionaires often become -- and stay -- rich because they invest. The good news? Investing is pretty simple to start.

Once you start, don't jump ship. The stock market has ups and downs. Ride the wave long term.

* Don't believe the discouraging people. Your belief affects your actions and your actions affect your outcomes. When you listen to discouraging people, they drag you down so you don't surpass them.

* Save for a rainy day. Medical emergencies can last years. Trees go through roofs. Jobs evaporate.

Without an emergency fund of liquid cash in a savings account you're likely to either go into debt or borrow from family members.

Keep about three to six months' expenses in your fund. For really bad times, I recommend eight.

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