Home » If You Want What They Have, Do What They Do: 21 Traits of Millionaires

If You Want What They Have, Do What They Do: 21 Traits of Millionaires

I once read that in order to have what someone else has, you need to do what they’ve done. In other words, success in a certain area is often achievable by copying others who have already obtained success in a certain area. Ever since I read that, I’ve been spending some time on and off studying the traits of millionaires. Books such as The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy shared fascinating facts about the real lives of millionaires.

Before I read that book, I assumed that all millionaires were the equivalent of what we see in Hollywood gossip mags: Living lavish lives squandering their endless wealth on “stuff”. I assumed that either you “had it or your didn’t” when it came to money. The Millionaire Next Door showed me that real-life millionaires – the ones who made their money by consistently working hard over a long number of years – got their millionaire status by practicing living by a series of similar traits. And you know what? These traits are traits that anyone can adapt. You, me and the guy next door who you are certain will never amount to anything.

It’s all a matter of re-training your mind and learning to adapt these 21 traits of millionaires.

  1. Millionaires Think Big

Those who have reached millionaire status didn’t get there by expecting and doing the minimum in life. They don’t practice false humility and pretend to be glad and honored with a life of non-achievement. Instead, they envision a better future for themselves and their loved ones. Not just in the area of money, but in the area of life in general.

  1. They Go Against the Grain

Millionaires don’t give a hoot about fitting in. To the contrary, they understand that those who stand out from the crowd have to be willing to swim upstream. This means driving old cars when your neighbors are buying the latest/greatest or starting a business when everyone tells them that they should just be happy in the job that they hate.

  1. They Value their Time

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”– Abraham Lincoln

The rich don’t spend hours each day in front of the TV or browsing on Facebook. They understand that in order to have success, they need to use their time to take actions that will lead them toward that success.

  1. They Have a Positive Attitude

”Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.”– Brian Tracy

You won’t find a self-made millionaire lamenting about their situation or complaining about setbacks. Instead, they focus on what they already have achieved and how to turn setbacks into successes.

  1. They Don’t Care About Keeping Up

Millionaires don’t give a hoot about the Joneses or anyone else. They are content to drive modest cars, live in modest houses and wear non-name-brand clothing. They understand that the freedom that comes with not being tied to your job is well worth not spending money on things that aren’t in line with your goals and dreams.

Recommended Reading: Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want

  1. They Consistently Educate Themselves

Self-made millionaires are not interested in entertainment as much as they’re interested in education. According to Thomas, Corley, author of Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, 88% of millionaires spend at least thirty minutes a day reading non-fiction, self-improvement types of books. They thrive on acquiring knowledge, which is a trait largely lost on today’s entertainment-addicted, paycheck-to-paycheck living population.

  1. They Have Defined Plans

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible to the visible.” -Tony Robbins

The wealthy didn’t get wealthy by sitting around saying “Someday, I’m gonna…….” or “If only I made more money……” Instead, they make it a practice to make concrete plans for how to reach their goals and outline step-by-step ways to get there. They also include timelines with their plans and goals, as in “I’m going to save an extra $500 a month by doing A, B and C so that in five years I’ll have $30,000 plus interest in the bank.”


  1. They Hold Themselves Accountable

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”– Jim Rohn

Millionaires conduct regular self-checks of their actions and hold themselves accountable for sticking to the plans they’ve made to achieve their goals. They understand that accountability is key to reaching your goals

  1. They Take Good Care of Their Bodies

“The First Wealth is Health” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Corley also reports in his book that 76% of the rich exercise at least thirty minutes every day. They take care of themselves by exercising, eating a balanced diet with plenty of whole foods, drinking plenty of water and managing and controlling stress. When your body is functioning at optimum level, you have the energy you need to create and achieve your goals and dreams.

  1. They Believe in Building Teams

Many millionaires understand that success comes much faster by surrounding yourself with a good team. For instance, those who’ve earned wealth via real estate investing take care to develop a team that includes an experienced realtor, construction project manager and bank lender.

If you want to become rich, don’t rely solely on yourself and your own puffed up knowledge; instead understand that when you bring others along with you for the ride you’ve got a much better chance of reaching your goals.

  1. They Get Up Early

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”– Thomas Jefferson

The rich understand that hard work = success. They don’t waste time sleeping in every day – or even on weekends. Instead, they get up early, and get moving on doing what needs to be done to pursue their dreams.

  1. They Have Multiple Streams of Income

Because they understand the importance of diversification, millionaires rarely keep all of their financial eggs in one basket. When you develop multiple streams of income, you are still in the business of making money if one of those income sources drops off. We learned this lesson when my husband was laid off from his job.

  1. They Have Good Etiquette

Most millionaires practice proper etiquette. Why? Because when you expect more of yourself, you achieve more. Achieving millionaire status is just as much about mindset as it is about money. Behave now as you would if you were wealthy and sitting at a dinner table with a wealthy person you admire. Prepare yourself for the lifestyle of someone who practices excellence in all areas.

  1. They Are Generous

One of the ways that the millionaire ascertains that money is not their god is by being generous. They also use giving as a way to give back in thanks for all that they’ve learned and achieved along the way to wealth. Millionaires give not only of their money, but of their time, and their knowledge. They gladly share what they’ve learned in order to lift others up.

  1. They Are Not Fearful of Failure

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”– Winston Churchill

Many people never try to reach their dreams because they’re terrified of failing. Millionaires understand that in order to reach your dreams you must fail. Failure not only teaches you what doesn’t work as you work your plan, it helps you to get your creative juices flowing as you work to think of a solution to or way around the failure.

  1. They Choose Their Friends Carefully

Millionaires are careful to surround themselves with others who are successful. Studies have shown that whatever types of people you spend most of your time with, you’re more likely to become like those people. If you spend your days around those with no ambitions, no goals and a propensity to live in the moment instead of planning for the future and reaching for bigger things, you can expect that you’ll continue to have what you’ve always had and do what you’ve always done.

  1. They Usually Have Mentors

The wealthy understand the importance of learning from mentors. The book, The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant, is a powerful example of the profound impact a mentor can have on whether or not you succeed in life. It’s one of my go-to books for self-improvement, and it’s a super engaging read.

The reason mentors are so very important when it comes to attaining success is that surrounding yourself with mentors who have succeeded at what you want to do means you’ve got a nearly endless stream of education on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to achieving your goals. Mentors can help you avoid making the mistakes they made when they were on their paths to wealth and help you find a shorter route to success, avoiding some of the trial and error that they had to go through.

The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant: Twelve Keys to Successful Living

  1. They Take Responsibility for Their Actions

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”– Albert Ellis

LOVE that saying. Millionaires understand that as long as you spend your days blaming everyone else for your problems, you’ll continue to avoid taking the reins of your life and changing things up. The wealthy choose to take control of their own destiny and do what needs to be done for success, without wasting time putting the blame somewhere where it doesn’t belong.

  1. They Go the Extra Mile

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”– George Lorimer

When you hit the sack for the day, are you satisfied in knowing that you’ve had a productive day that was in line with your goals? The wealthy take little steps every single day that will help them to achieve success. They do what others aren’t willing to do, which is why they have what most people don’t.

“Success Means Doing the Best We Can With What We Have” -Zig Ziglar

Recommended Reading: Born to Win: Find Your Success Code

  1. They Practice Integrity

Most millionaires work hard to live a life of integrity, not just because they understand that what goes around comes around, but because it’s important to them to leave a positive mark on the world. The other powerful benefit to living a life of integrity is that when you have a reputation for being a person of integrity, people eagerly flock to give you their help, advice and time. I know of a popular blogger (who shall remain nameless) whose honest-to-goodness blogging goal is to impact people for the better. I don’t know that there is a selfish bone in his body. The financial independence that he has gained by blogging, in my humble opinion, is due in large part to the fact that his readers know that he truly has their best interests in mind over and above his own. In other words, he lives a life of integrity.

  1. They Practice Patience and Consistency

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.”– Robert Collier

Often times people look at millionaires and think that their wealth was handed to them via the lottery or an inheritance. They don’t have a clue about the day-in, day-out small but consistent efforts that the person made for days and years in order to grow their net worth. They haven’t seen the millionaire’s personal library, which is filled with non-fiction books instead of fiction entertainment reads.

They haven’t seen the coupon clipping and all of the other sacrifices that the person made each and every day in order to gain wealth. Instead, they assume that the millionaire has always lived a life of luxury, spending on fine dining and nice cars.

But that’s not usually the case for most millionaires. Most millionaires simply committed to patience and consistency as they worked their plan for accumulating a larger net worth. They set up an automatic savings and investment plan. They made daily choices to avoid spending on things that weren’t truly of value to them. They didn’t view their money with an “It’s only twenty bucks” mindset. Instead, they understood that if they gave each dollar a job for improving their financial situation, that they would soon have their money working for them instead of having to always work for money.

In conclusion, I pray that you choose today to stop making the mistakes that broke people make and believing the lies that broke people believe and change your broke mindset into a wealthy mindset by adapting the traits of millionaires. I have a feeling you’ll be glad you did.

Which of these twenty-one traits surprised you most? How many are you currently practicing, and how is it affecting your finances? 



  1. ESI Money says:

    Couldn’t agree more with following the path of people who have done what you want to do.

    Also love the MND. I read it when it first came out, applied the concepts to my life, and retired at 52 as a result. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      That’s amazing!!! Great work. We started late and are still reaping amazing results from the concepts in that awesome book. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. J. Money says:

    LOVE THIS NEW REDESIGN OF YOUR SITE!! Soooo much nicer on the eyes and easier to read. And I rarely say that about site redesigns lately as everyone seems to be getting fancier and fancier and forgetting about the most important part of all – the content 🙂

    This new design makes it shine so much more – well done.

    • Laurie says:

      Amen, Nicholas!! Trying to work toward millionaire status always reminds of the stories of the monkeys in the cage, reaching for the bananas at the top, and all of the other monkeys working furiously to pull the monkey with the aspirations down. 🙂

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