Last week, I wrote about how to become a millionaire by 35 and I featured an interview with Frugal Trader, the man behind the popular blog Million Dollar Journey.  He’s a real person on a quest to becoming a millionaire in his 30’s.  If you did not read this article, you have to because his thoughts are golden. He did not inherit millions, he is not doing it by winning the lottery or heading to the casino.  Instead he is doing it the simple, old fashioned way.

This article was very popular and you will see from the comments, Million Dollar Journey is a very credible and well respected personal finance blog in Canada.  As a result, I was a little surprised when I got am email from a reader who said “I don’t want to hear about people who want to do it.  Anyone can say they are going to do it. I want to learn from people who have already done it.”  Despite the sharp tone of his email, there is some merit in his comment.  I thought I would respond to his email through this post.

After being in the financial industry for the past 20 years, I have met a lot of millionaires in my career and being the sponge that I am, I have learned from so many of them.  And as a result, I have preached what I have learned but I have also practised what I preach and as a result, I have reached some great financial success myself.

What was the key to my financial success?

Being the father of 4 boys, I think a lot about what to teach them to help them find more financial success in life.  One thing I tell my boys all the time  is it’s all about working hard and trying your best.

Everything I have in life today came from working hard.  It’s very common to hear people preach the merits of working SMARTER and not HARDER.  As much as I can appreciate the merits of that message when it comes to time management and productivity, I think we have put too much emphasis on that message and it’s created an excuse to be lazy.   I always tell people that building wealth is simple, not easy and if you want to build it faster, you have to work harder at it.  I believe in this day and age if you are serious about getting ahead and if you want to get serious about accumulating wealth at any age, you have to work SMARTER and HARDER.  That’s what my dad taught me and what I will continue to teach my kids.

You see, I can appreciate Frugal Trader’s practical strategies for financial success:

  • make more than you spend,
  • make good use of your cash,
  • know your financial situation,
  • set goals and take baby steps.

As much as these are prudent strategies and great advice, I’m willing to bet you knew this information already.  Knowledge is one thing but taking it the next step and putting ideas to work is really the key.  Implementing ideas is where working smarter and harder comes into play.

The key to success lies in your belief, your commitment, your actions, your effort, your discipline, etc!  That’s the stuff that’s hard.

So what’s the main reason people can't or won't become millionaires?

I think wealth is achievable for anyone and everyone and while circumstances may play a role in attaining wealth, most people can do it by developing good financial habits.  Maybe the problem is they don’t want it bad enough or they are not willing to work hard enough.  Maybe they can’t stay disciplined or they are not committed to changing their financial habits.  Maybe the problem is that simple.

Any other millionaires want to weigh in and share their thoughts?  What does it really take to become a millionaire?

About Jim Yih

Jim Yih is a Fee Only Advisor, Best Selling Author, and Financial Speaker on wealth, retirement and personal finance. Currently, Jim specializes in putting Financial Education programs into the workplace.

For more information you can follow him on Twitter @JimYih or visit his website, Retire Happy.