My Meeting with a Millionaire

About a year ago, I was blessed with opportunity to sit in on a private meeting with a 2nd generation multimillionaire. At the meeting's conclusion, I left in awe of how vastly different this millionaire's thinking was from mine and, arguably, most people. Since that time I've made a concerted effort to learn more about personal finances, investing, and how to be a better steward of what God has so graciously given me.

As a part of this journey, I invested in the book The Millionaire Next Door. This very easy read busted the myths of what millionaires look like and gave additional insight into how they think. Though written in the late 90's, the statistics and myths cited in the book are still relevant today. If you're seriously interested in making your financial dreams a reality, this is certainly one of a few books that I recommend.

I've learned that it's one thing to say that you want to be a millionaire, but another thing to actually walk it out. Achieving any goal, particularly financial goals, is not just a matter of getting lucky, but one of strategy. As I listened in that office and read the aforementioned book, strategy is exactly what I received. Here are five things that I learned from a millionaire:

  1. Millionaires solve problems. Unless you've won the lottery or gotten a pretty large inheritance, you've got to put in some work to make money. Money just doesn't grow on trees. If that were the case, everyone would be wealthy. To understand a millionaire's mindset is essentially understanding business and the economy. Businesses exist for the sole purpose of meeting a need and solving a problem. Those that thrive do so because they meet these needs effectively and efficiently. Millionaires think the same way. They take every opportunity to solve a problem and meet a need. So what world problem is waiting for you to solve? What God idea do you need to develop? Note: All millionaires are not entrepreneurs, but those that are understand this concept. 
  2. Millionaires invest. It's great to save, but saving alone won't make you rich. If you haven't heard the phrase before, I'll share it with you: it takes money to make money. Seed produces after its own kind. So when you plant money, it reproduces in the form of money. Though their investment portfolio may be diverse, millionaires will not invest in something that they are not familiar with. Case and point, billionaire Warren Buffet. Or, in the case of Dave Ramsey, they invest in "good growth stock mutual funds."
  3. Millionaires have little to no debt. Ever wonder why many athletes and celebrities go bankrupt? Their debts far exceeded their assets. Don't let the black cards fool you, true wealthy people rarely use debt (credit) and certainly aren't buried in it. If you've ever taken a finance class, then you're familiar with what I call the "aloe" equation. Assets - Liabilities = Owner's Equity. In layman's terms, your cash and cash equivalents minus your debt is your net worth. In order to be wealthy, you must have a very positive net worth. 
  4. Millionaires don't waste money. I learned a new phrase while watching a financial education video once. The person being interviewed said that folks in her area were "all flash and no cash." What an accurate way to describe those trying to portray an image of wealth, but not really having it. For the record, that's most of America. From both the meeting and from reading the book, I learned that your typical, non-celebrity millionaires aren't flashy at all. In fact, you wouldn't be able to spot them out in a crowd. They're the people who buy blue jeans from your local Walmart and drive a used Ford. Most aren't wasting their money on buying brand new cars that depreciate in value after you drive off the lot or purchasing designer jeans that cost $300. After all, not wasting money is what got them to where they are.
  5. Millionaires give. Whether its for tax purposes, religious beliefs, or just because they have more money than what they know what to do with it, millionaires tend to be givers. I'd venture to say that many-- whether Christian or not-- know the law of reciprocity: "Give and it shall be given to you" (Luke 6:38). You might recall Oprah's infamous car giveaway, or maybe you were a recipient of the Bill and Melinda Gate's highly sought after Gate's Millennium scholarship. Regardless of how they give, they give.
You know, that same millionaire that I sat in on said this: "Money doesn't come. Money waits in a place called obedience." I didn't understand it then, but a year later and it finally makes perfect sense to me. All of the above traits are things that are found in the Bible. So, If we're obedient to these biblical principles, we have wealth at our fingertips.

God already gives us the power to gain wealth-- it's stated in His word in Deuteronomy 8:18. Furthermore, we are created in His image, which means we have the ability to create and, therefore, solve problems (Consider the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9). Jesus talks about investing in the Parable of Talents in Matthew 25: 14-30, where talent is a monetary unit. We're instructed to pay off debts and owe no man anything but love in Romans 13:8. We are taught to be wise about spending money in Luke 14:28. Lastly, and most importantly, we are encouraged to give to God in the form of tithes (Malachi 3:10) and to others (Luke 6:38). So if anyone should be wealthy and flourishing, it should be the Bible reading believer! Yet, so many of us don't grasp it...

After reading this, your lack of knowledge is no longer an excuse. I've given you a peak into a meeting with a multimillionaire along with many other valuable resources that will guide you into following these principles. No get rich quick scheme. No mention of an inheritance. No mention of a six figure salary. All things that you-- in your current situation-- can do. So, who of you will use it?



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