My wife and I became millionaires in our mid-30s. We didn’t start a business. We didn’t get an inheritance. We didn’t win the lottery.
One of the most common questions is, what would we do differently if we had to do it all over again? Not a lot.
But we do know the exact blueprint for building wealth quickly. If I were starting all over and my primary goal was to become a millionaire by 35, here’s exactly what I would do.
1: Go to college.
College degrees are often criticized because of their cost. They are expensive, but if you do it right, they still provide a ton of value. Most millionaires have a college degree. Match strengths with the highest-paying career field and go after it. No liberal arts B.S.
2: Switch companies every four years.
This is easy money. Studies show those who switch jobs regularly make more money throughout their lifetimes compared with those who stay put at the same employer.
3: Marry right.
There’s no reward for marrying early. But, there’s a HUGE punishment for marrying wrong. Don’t be in a hurry. When you find the perfect companion who supports your goals, there’s nothing that you can’t accomplish.
4: Say “yes” to everything.
In over your head? Who cares. Figure it out. Every opportunity you get, explore it. Say yes to everything, then double down on what works the best and ditch those opportunities that didn’t work out. Even if you fail, you’re smarter than you were before.
5: Cut the dead weight.
If they’re not in to win, they’re out. Those whom you hang around the most have a big impact on your success in life. It’s okay to have drinking buddies and sports groups, but also have a group of people who focus on building wealth, starting businesses, and becoming successful.
6: Heavily use credit cards (and pay them off every month).
Hello, travel points, cash-back rewards, and an 800 credit score. Just be 100% sure to pay off those credit cards every month without fail. Credit card debt is a one-way street to being poor, and that’s not what this is about. We want the opposite, so pay off your plastics!
7: Start AT LEAST three businesses.
The wealthiest people own their own companies. If one fails, start another. Then another. Why? Most small businesses fail. So, let’s use the law of numbers to increase the chances of owning a business that takes off and generates substantial revenue.
8: Ignore haters.
When you don’t act like a normal person, normal people will criticize you. That’s okay. It means you’re doing it right. And remember that you’ll never get hate from those more successful than you. Only less. It’s always best to ignore the hate.
9: Invest at least 25% of your income.
If your expenses are too high, cut them so you can invest. Investing has made millions of people millionaires. It’s how rich people make more money in their sleep, not by working long hours in a gray office space. Invest as much as you can.
10: Show up every day.
Showing up is half the battle. Be the first one in the office. Stop taking sick days because you want to go shopping. That won’t get you rich. You might be surprised at the impact of just being in the office each and every day. Believe me, it works.
11: Shut off the news.
The news is built to make you afraid, and scared people 100% have compromised emotional intelligence. Instead of watching highly paid news anchors tell you the sky is falling, turn it off and focus on your and your family’s needs. It’s time well spent.
12: Automate everything.
Financial automation is the key to building wealth over time. And this means everything: 401(k)s, brokerage accounts, bill pay. Everything should be on auto-pilot so you never have to consider paying bills, saving, and investing. Set it once and forget it.
13: Index and chill.
ZERO day trading. Invest 5% max in individual stocks and put the rest in index funds and ETFs. There’s a reason why index funds *outperform* most other assets. Passive investing has been shown to be more successful than active. The less you do, the more you make in the market.
14: Stop keeping up with the Joneses.
The Joneses are broke. Their BMW doesn’t mean you need a BMW. After all, Mr. and Mrs. Jones don’t pay your bills. You do. Make the best decisions for you and your family and never base your buying decisions on what your neighbor, friend, or coworker just bought.
15: Learn from millionaires.
Make friends with them. Ask them questions. Millionaires are the best teachers because they’ve accomplished what you want to accomplish. If you want to build muscle, learn from bodybuilders. If you want to be a millionaire, learn from millionaires.
16: Don’t be lazy.
Put in the work to be better. Average is how you stay poor. Get up early in the morning and start attacking your goals. And this includes the weekend. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish if you’re up and at it before anyone else crawls out of bed.
17: Stop being easily offended.
If it’s easy to offend you, you’ll never get rich. It’s because people spend too much time being offended and not enough time focusing on their goals and dreams. While it’s true that some people will upset us, our reaction is entirely within our control. Make it count.