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I’m not a millionaire—yet.
If you aren’t a millionaire yet either, the first lesson you can learn from millionaires is to emphasize the “yet” every time you think about money and investing. Start thinking like a millionaire (without spending like one), and you’ve already taken the first step to get there.
But as useful as mindset changes are, they don’t offer direct advice for your actions and behavior. Millionaires don’t just think differently from the average person; they also wield their money differently.
While none of these ideas will make you a millionaire overnight, they can open your eyes to options you didn’t know you had. Shoot me a message when you cross over into the two-comma club!
1. Rent a Ferrari for a Few Days
High-end sports cars and luxury cars don’t exactly have a great reputation for reliability. Or, for that matter, for being a good investment. Beyond costing an arm and a leg, they’re expensive to maintain, have a limited pool of buyers on the secondary market, and tend to lose value quickly.
Plus, how often would you actually drive a Lamborghini? You can’t drive your kids (plural) to school in it. You can’t take it on a road trip. All it’s good for is occasionally driving into a party or fundraising gala to cause a bit of conversation. And even then, you take a leap of faith by handing over the keys to a valet (as anyone who’s ever watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off can attest).
The wise among the wealthy don’t buy bad investments like high-end sports cars. Instead, for the rare occasion that calls for making an entrance, they rent them. You can rent anything from Fiats to Ferraris on Turo, “the Airbnb for cars.” You can also rent exotic cars from MPH Club, or even from mainstream car rental agencies like Hertz and Enterprise.
That way, you blow a thousand dollars once, instead of $20,000 every time the engine needs repairing. Along similar lines, you can also rent high-end formalwear and jewelry to avoid spending thousands on something you’ll only wear once or twice.
2. Split the Bill for Private Jets
Flying economy on commercial flights feels like riding in a cattle car. Business and first-class flying are better, but the ultrawealthy prefer private and semi-private jets.
But did you know that you don’t need to charter an entire jet? You can book single seats in fact, through services like JSX and Aero. Other services charge a membership fee, which gives you access to (relatively) affordable private flights. Some, such as Surf Air, even offer unlimited flying each month.
Among the other perks, you can show up just 20 minutes before the flight takes off. Expect a fast and friendly security experience and no passive-aggressive airline agents forcing you to pay an extra fee because your bag is one pound over the weight limit.
3. Fly for Free (Even First Class)
You may have heard of travel hacking, where you use credit card points to score free flights.
What many people don’t know is that flying first- or business class doesn’t cost nearly as many more points as it does dollars. An airline might charge four or five times the fare for a business class ticket as an economy ticket on the same flight, but the difference in points often costs only double.
But how do you rack up all the points needed to afford these free flights? Don’t you need to spend tens of thousands?
Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Many travel hackers take advantage of enormous signup bonuses, routinely opening new travel rewards cards for bonus points. Read up on the current best offers and reward cards at The Points Guy.
Entrepreneurs and real estate investors can often put their business expenses on their reward credit cards too. Not only do they get to write off the business expenses, but they also score free travel from them.
Marketing and advertising costs ideally pay for themselves. If you earn $1.10 for every dollar you spend on Google Ads or direct mail campaigns, how much should you spend on them? Answer: as much as possible. Your business could spend tens of thousands monthly on advertising, generating even more in revenue, and you can pocket all the points.
4. Eat and Drink for Free at VIP Airport Lounges
My family and I spend most of the year overseas and fly virtually every month. But we don’t sit at the gate waiting, munching on overpriced food court fare.
We relax in VIP lounges, enjoying free food and drinks, plenty of space, and abundant electrical outlets for topping off our devices.
And no, we don’t pay the hefty entrance fees each time. We have membership in Priority Pass, granting us unlimited access to airport lounges all over the world. Best of all, we don’t pay a dime for it.
One of our travel rewards cards, the Capital One Venture X card, provides us with free membership as a perk. Sure, the card costs $395 per year, but it also comes with an annual $300 travel credit, 10,000 anniversary points each year, reimbursement for the Global Entry application fee, great travel reward multipliers, and of course, Priority Pass membership.
5. Stay for Free While Traveling
The wealthy don’t pay each other for things—they exchange favors.
For instance, many wealthy people own vacation homes, which they may or may not monetize as short-term rentals. But they don’t typically charge their friends to stay there.
Don’t have millionaire friends with homes in Maui or Malta? Look up other ways to stay for free, such as home exchange or housesitting platforms. You can offer up your home for guests on platforms like HomeExchange.com or Love Home Swap, and in return, you can stay at their homes when they’re not using them.
Alternatively, housesit or petsit for homeowners on Trusted Housesitters, Nomador, or MindMyHouse. You get a free place to stay—often an upscale condo or house—in exchange for feeding a pet or just picking up the mail.
6. Have Experts Manage Your Money
I know more about investing than the average person. But I still use an advisor to manage much of my stock portfolio.
They handle tricks like tax loss harvesting and frequent portfolio rebalancing for me, so I don’t have to worry about it. They maintain the ideal asset allocation based on my age, risk tolerance, and financial goals.
Best of all, I don’t even have to pay for this service. Charles Schwab offers their robo-advisor service for free.
Many millionaires want more custom diversification and investing advice, however. You could pay a huge AUM (assets-under-management) fee to an advisor each year, or you could pay $30/month to Schwab for it.
For the cost of a lunch out or two each month, you never have to worry about investment decisions again.
7. Buy Back Time
Millionaires know that their most valuable asset is their time. You can always earn more money, but you can’t earn more time on this planet (aside from living healthier to extend your life expectancy).
Your time is precious, so don’t waste it on low-value tasks you hate. I hate doing dishes, so we pay our daughter’s nanny to do them.
The less time you waste on low-skill work, the more you can spend on high-value work that could earn you more money. Because I don’t have to clean my apartment or do dishes, I can afford to spend my Saturday morning at a coffee shop enjoying a cappuccino and writing this article. I can enjoy quality time with my daughter this afternoon because I don’t need to scrub the bathroom.
Which low-skill tasks can you pay someone else to do for you? Housework? Managing your email inbox? Waiting on the phone for customer service agents?
Consider hiring a virtual assistant or domestic services to help take tasks off your plate. And stay thoughtful about what you outsource—my father could afford to pay someone to cut his (large) lawn, but he finds it meditative, so he does it himself.
8. Invest in Art, Wine, and More
You don’t have to be rich to buy famous artwork. Or at least, to invest in it.
Crowdfunding services like Masterworks let you buy shares of investment-grade art. Does it perform as well as stocks or real estate? I don’t know, but it certainly adds another layer of diversification to your portfolio.
For that matter, you can invest in shares of vineyards that produce wine through companies like WineFunding.com. Which raises the broader point that you don’t need much money to invest in large real estate projects.
9. Invest in Fractional Shares of Properties
Captain Obvious here: real estate is expensive. Even if you finance 80% of an investment property, it still costs tens of thousands (or more) to come up with a down payment and cover closing costs.
If you buy properties directly, that is. But remember, the wealthy buy back their time by paying others to take on tedious work for them—work such as finding good deals on properties, financing them, hassing with contractors and permits and home inspectors and tenants, and even property managers.
Instead, they often buy fractional shares in properties and let someone else mess around with the headaches. That could mean buying shares in REITs, or real estate crowdfunding investments, or larger apartment buildings through syndications. You can even buy shares in single-family rental properties through Arrived, Lofty, or Ark7 (read our full Arrived review for more details).
Besides being completely passive investments, these let you spread small amounts across many properties. For example, you can invest in Fundrise or Groundfloor with as little as $10 or buy shares of rental properties on Arrived for $100 apiece. That makes it far easier to diversify your real estate portfolio.
10. Ditch Life Insurance and Disability Insurance
If you had $10 million, would you need life insurance or disability insurance?
People buy these policies in case the family’s breadwinner suddenly stops bringing home the bacon (to mix a few food and money metaphors there). Both policies prevent the family from ending up on the street.
But with enough money, your family doesn’t face poverty if you stop working. In fact, with enough money, you reach financial independence, and working becomes optional.
How does that help you, though, if you’re not financially independent? Because you can create the same effect with a high enough savings rate. My family isn’t financially independent, but we have a savings rate of around 65%. We live entirely on my wife’s income and save and invest all of mine. If either my wife or I suddenly stopped generating income, the family would survive financially.
It also helps that a savings rate that high helps you grow your net worth quickly. Our family’s net worth has quadrupled in the last four years, and our nest egg has grown enough that it has taken on a life of its own with compounding returns. Again, that in itself protects us from the risk of one partner losing income.
The upside: we don’t have to buy life insurance or disability insurance, saving us even more money and helping us boost our savings rate even more.
Robert Kiyosaki famously said that the middle class works for money, but the rich put their money to work for them. You can do the same by buying diverse assets.
Become a millionaire real estate investor, or through whatever means appeal to you, and more options open up to you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start investing or living more like a millionaire today by mirroring the best behaviors and habits of the wealthy.