The Hidden Secrets of Millionaires

Written By Alexander Boulden

Updated February 13, 2024

“You control your destiny with your behavior. Personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge. As I learn to control my money, I’m really learning to control myself. That’s self-control.”

— Dave Ramsey


Dear Reader,

What does a millionaire look like to you?

When most people think of millionaires, they may picture expensive material possessions, like fancy cars, custom suits, and luxurious mansions. Or they may think of that six-figure salary, a brain surgeon, or a Wall Street businessman with the corner office.

Well, according to a new survey by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey and his company, everything you thought about millionaires is wrong.

Ramsey Solutions released The National Study of Millionaires this year, and the results may shock you…

The study analyzed over 10,000 U.S. millionaires to figure out what behaviors led to their financial success.

It really gives us a better understanding of personal finance and attitudes toward money.

It’s reportedly the most statistically significant research study of its kind.

The results are in, so buckle up…

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Habit No. 1: Invest in a 401(k).

According to the study, “Eight out of 10 millionaires invested in their company’s 401(k) plan. Not only that, but 3 out of 4 of those surveyed also invested outside of company plans.”

Those surveyed said that investing was the one simple key to their financial success. In fact, 75% of the millionaires in the survey said that consistent investing over a long period of time was the No. 1 factor to their success, not a get-rich-quick scheme or creating some tech startup.

The takeaway here is that investing takes time. As we’ve said ad nauseam here at Wealth Daily, timing the market isn’t important, it’s time in the market that matters. And if you want your money to work for you, you must be willing to sock it away in a retirement plan and let compound interest work its magic — that is, if you’re lucky enough to work for a company that provides one for you (many of us aren’t so lucky). If you don’t work for an employer with a 401(k), you can still invest in tax-deferred accounts like a simple IRA, traditional IRA, or Roth IRA.

The survey importantly notes, “The story about the young computer genius who developed an app that earned millions overnight is the exception, not the rule.” The fable about the tortoise and the hare rings true here… Slow and steady always wins the race.

Habit No. 2: Live on less than what you make.

According to the survey, “94% of the people studied said they live on less than they make, and nearly three-quarters of the millionaires have never carried a credit card balance in their lives!”

That’s because credit card debt — and any debt, for that matter — can cripple your ability to save and get ahead.

Keep in mind that this survey ended in 2018, before the COVID pandemic, so it will be interesting to see the next survey the firms conducts. Also, there are many strategies that individuals and businesses use to leverage debt to make money in the future. But the general rule of thumb remains true: Don’t overspend.

Habit No. 3: Make a budget.

Sometimes it’s the simplest strategies that work best, and I’m guilty of not sticking to a budget because it’s hard!

But millionaires are pros at this. And I think that’s the trick here. Treat money like a game and you need to go pro.

The survey indicates that “85% of participants… rely on a grocery list to some degree… These millionaires also said they spend $200 or less each month at restaurants. And 93% of millionaires use coupons all or some of the time when shopping…”

Some other highlights from the study that may surprise you…

The overwhelming majority (79%) of millionaires in the U.S. did not receive any inheritance at all from their parents or other family members…

Eight out of 10 millionaires come from families at or below middle-income level. Only 2% of millionaires surveyed said they came from an upper-income family…

Eighty-eight percent of millionaires graduated from college, compared to 38% of the general population. And over half (52%) of the millionaires in the study earned a master’s or doctoral degree, compared to 13% of the general population.

So there it is…

Sounds simple, but it’s mighty hard.

The survey also found that the career choices of millionaires isn’t what you think…

The top five careers for millionaires:

  1. Engineer
  2. Accountant
  3. Teacher
  4. Management
  5. Attorney

It seems that most millionaires in the U.S. aren’t flashy. They’re actually very methodical with their money decisions and stick to a game plan — pretty boring, if you ask me. But slow and steady does win the money race…

Now, there are definitely some glaring fallacies with this survey.

First, the sample was surveyed from November 2017 to January 2018. That’s before COVID, inflation, and the silent recession. The economic landscape looks much different than it did five years ago. It may not be possible for people to live debt-free today, especially with rising grocery prices, car prices, and housing costs.

Not to mention, when mortality stares you right in the face, you start to rethink life. A lot of people YOLO’d and are still YOLO-ing. That Porsche looks much more affordable after a run-in with doomsday.

And even though boring index investing worked for these millionaires after 40 years, sometimes you don’t have time to wait.

That’s when you need to follow investors with a track record of outsized success.

I’ve identified five traders that are absolutely crushing the market and have been for years.

I’m talking about gains like an average annual return of 797% over the last three years…

A return of 2,748%…

And even an unheard-of 11,193.5% return…

These returns are just a walk in the park for these "Super-Traders."

Learn how you can invest alongside them here.

Stay frosty,

Alexander Boulden
Editor, Wealth Daily

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After Alexander’s passion for economics and investing drew him to one of the largest financial publishers in the world, where he rubbed elbows with former Chicago Board Options Exchange floor traders, Wall Street hedge fund managers, and International Monetary Fund analysts, he decided to take up the pen and guide others through this new age of investing.

Alexander is the investment director of Insider Stakeout — a weekly investment advisory service dedicated to tracking the smartest money on the planet so that his readers can achieve life-altering, market-beating returns. He also serves at the managing editor for R.I.C.H. Report, a comprehensive service that uses the highest-quality investment research and strategies that guides its members in growing their wealth on top of preserving it.

Check out his editor’s page here.

Want to hear more from Alexander? Sign up to receive emails directly from him ranging from market commentaries to opportunities that he has his eye on. 

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