Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, authors of “The Millionaire Next Door”, studied extensively how millionaires acquired their wealth. They conducted their study over a 20-year period, during which they interviewed over 500 millionaires.

In their survey they discovered that most people with high incomes fail to accumulate any lasting wealth because they spend more than they earn. This is in sharp contrast to the millionaires they interviewed.

Most millionaires actually have a frugal mindset. Their studies also revealed that 80% of America’s millionaires are first-generation rich. This is completely contrary to the perception that many of us hold---that most millionaires inherited their money or are “trust fund babies”.

Their studies revealed that millionaires have these 7 common characteristics:

1. They live well below their means. Millionaires make great effort to save money and not to constantly spend. They’re willing to pay for quality, but not to maintain a certain image. In the words of the authors, “millionaires are frugal, frugal, frugal.”

2. They allocate their time, energy and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth and increasing their net worth. They spend time planning for their future and creating a solid financial plan.

There is a strong correlation between time spent planning and considering personal finance, and the actual presence of wealth.

People who are under-accumulators of wealth spend more time worrying about financial issues than taking proactive steps to change their spending behaviors and creating a solid financial plan. The authors’ research reveals that the more time a person spends buying things that look good, the more likely they are to spend less time on personal finance.

Millionaires were able to answer yes to the following questions:

1. Does your household operate on an annual budget?

2. Do you know how much your family spends each year on food, clothing, and shelter?

3. Do you have a clearly defined set of daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and long-term goals?

4. Do you spend a lot of time planning your financial future?

3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status. Millionaires are actually very thrifty and aren’t concerned with appearances. They usually don’t drive fancy cars. Instead, they drive basic domestic models, and keep them for years.

4. Their parents did not provide outstanding financial support. The majority of millionaires did not receive significant financial support from their parents. Eighty percent of millionaires are first generation rich and acquired their own wealth.

5. Their children are economically self-sufficient. The authors’ research indicates that the more financial support adult children receive from their parents, the fewer dollars they accumulate on their own, while those who are given fewer dollars accumulate more on their own.

The authors feel strongly that giving money to adult children damages their ability to succeed.

6. They excel in targeting market opportunities. The majority of millionaires are either self-employed or run their own businesses. The authors feel that one of the best ways to make money is to sell products or services to those who already have money.

7. They chose the right occupation. “Self-employed people are four times more likely to be millionaires than those who work for others.” There is no magic list of businesses from which wealth is derived — people can be successful with any type of business. In fact, most millionaire business owners make their money in “dull-normal” industries. They build cabinets. They sell shoes. They’re dentists. They own bowling alleys.

Author's Bio: 

Leslie Cunningham specializes in working with women entrepreneurs who experience fear and self-doubt in their ability to consistently make more money in their business. The end result that women achieve through following Leslie's advice and expertise is that they are able to permanently get off the emotional financial roller coaster ride and break into six-figures and beyond.