- Part of becoming a millionaire and achieving financial freedom involves having the right mentality.
- Millionaire and best-selling author Phillip J. Müller said the key is conscious consumption.
- You have to stop thinking that rich people are like the ones on TV and to start saving.
The only thing holding you back from being a millionaire is your own idea of what it means to be one, according to millionaire and best-selling author Phillip J. Müller.
In his book Geldrichtig, Müller explains that anyone can be a millionaire if they learn to think like a rich person.
Movies and “get rich quick” stories have led people to believe that the rich do nothing but spend money and that all of their success is due to luck or fame.
The reality, according to Müller, is different.
Becoming a real millionaire means adopting a conscious consumer mentality: thinking about whether you really want what you’re going to buy and, if you need it, whether there’s a cheaper alternative.
Saving, avoiding debt, controlling impulses — these are just some of the steps you need to take to acquire this mindset.
Müller gave GQ Germany his tips to become rich.
1. Saving is essential
Müller recommended getting into the habit of saving right away and applying it at all times.
“It’s about thinking about whether you want to spend that money today on your fifth pair of sneakers because you suddenly feel like you really need them, when in reality you’ll only use them once,” he said.
It’s a toss-up between short-term gratification and long-term contentment.
At first, you’ll probably have trouble understanding that you can save at all times. For example, Müller is against eating out entirely.
“Many people don’t realize how much money they can save if they choose to bring food and drinks from home to the office,” he said.
Müller explained that a coffee in a bar can cost you a few dollars while making your own at home will only cost you a few cents.
This is the kind of mentality that you need to gradually adopt.
There are many more tricks that you can use to save money in your day-to-day life. For example, it may be a good idea to review things like your Spotify or Netflix subscriptions.
2. Avoid any kind of debt
Take everything you’ve been told about saving and apply absolutely the opposite to debt. Don’t buy anything you can’t afford. It’s a simple rule that will also help you avoid whims.
“You want a smartphone, but you don’t have the money to buy it? Then don’t buy it,” explained Müller.
A lot of debt occurs when people become addicted to the fleeting pleasure that you get from making a purchase.
“Leave a note in your wallet that says — do I really need that? With time, you’ll start asking yourself that question, and then you won’t need the note anymore,” Müller said.
3. If you do have debt, don’t bury your head in the sand
Before looking for a quick fix to pay off debt, it’s important to take stock of the situation.
Otherwise, you may make the mistake of creating new debts to pay off old ones.
Müller said that you should write down all the debts that you have. Then think of an amount that you would be able to pay each month and calculate, based on this figure, how many months it would take you to pay the debt off.
Müller recommended using half of your money to pay debts and saving the other half.
Many would advise paying debt off before starting to save, but Müller disagrees.
“It’s about thinking like a wealthy person,” he said.
“Your wealth, however much it is, grows through saving,” he added.
4. Actively contact creditors
Müller advised being proactive and contacting your creditors before they contact you.
“This will set you apart from most debtors,” explains Müller.
If you can’t pay, it’s better to communicate this openly rather than waiting for them to call you to ask for explanations for non-payments.
He explained that if you disclose your financial situation honestly, the other party will usually make you a counteroffer, such as extending the payment period or waiving your interest.
This advice is even more important if the debt you owe is to someone you know.
“If you owe someone something, that will have negative effects in your life. Money isn’t just a medium of exchange; it’s an energy that flows.”
5. Avoid fake status symbols
When you think of a millionaire, you’re sure to picture them driving an expensive car and flaunting a watch that looks more valuable than your house.
These status symbols have nothing to do with the millionaire mentality.
The path to financial freedom is about consciously consuming, not spending big.
“Do you really need to spend two or three months’ salary to go on vacation somewhere far away, when you could rest so much better somewhere close to home?” Müller said.
6. Exercise self-control and be aware of temptation
Temptation looks different to each individual.
If you can’t control yourself during the sales, just don’t stroll past all the shops!
If online shopping is your vice, you could use apps to temporarily block your access to online stores.
Look for alternatives to the impulsive solutions that temptation offers you. If your cell phone isn’t working, see if you can have it repaired before buying a new one. Or maybe see if someone you know can let you buy or borrow an old one.
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