This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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What do rich people do differently? Can anyone become rich if they start thinking as rich people do?
According to T. Harv Eker, the author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, rich people have a specific attitude towards money and they manage their finances in a particular way. The more you think like a rich person, the more you’ll improve your money mindset that will, in turn, help you improve your state of finances.
In this article, we’ll explore how developing a rich mindset leads to wealth and some strategies to help you adopt and cultivate a wealthy attitude that ensures your financial success.
Why You Need a Rich Mindset
No matter how hard you work to accumulate money, or how many financial books you read or seminars that you attend, your finances cannot improve unless you improve your mindset. This is because your mindset will always find ways to sabotage the way you handle your money if the amount rises above your financial setpoint.
Fortunately, there is a way to increase your financial setpoint. Eker believes that you can consciously reprogram your money mindset to improve your finances by replacing your unproductive thoughts and beliefs about money with the productive thoughts and beliefs that rich people have.
Rich People Have a Positive Attitude and Effectively Manage Their Money
Eker argues that rich people always have a positive attitude towards their finances. They hold themselves accountable for the state of their finances and they take full responsibility for the impact of their thoughts and decisions. They understand that their positive thoughts lead them to take actions that produce successful results.
(Shortform note: While many people characterize a positive attitude according to multiple factors, such as how well you treat other people or how ethical you are, Eker focuses solely on the productive thoughts required to build and maintain wealth—not general personality traits or ethical behavior. This arguably makes his definition a little limited.)
Rich Mindset 1: Develop Discipline and Take Responsibility for Your Finances
Eker claims that rich people know that positive thoughts lead to positive actions. These positive actions lead to success and wealth. Consequently, they always focus on finding and creating solutions so that they can meet their financial goals. Eker proposes two ways to develop discipline and take responsibility for your finances:
- Stop yourself from thinking or speaking about money in a negative way.
- Make a daily habit of reflecting on one thing that went well and one thing that didn’t. Think about what part you played in creating each of the situations and how you can improve your attitude and behavior. For example, if you had an argument about money with your partner, instead of casting blame, try to think about your role—what did you say or do to fuel the disagreement, and what can you learn from this?
Rich Mindset 2: Appreciate What You Want and Associate With Wealthy People
According to Eker, rich people feel inspired by the success of others—they take every opportunity to learn and take advice from people who are more successful than they are. Eker suggests three ways to develop the second rich mindset:
1) Feel appreciation whenever you see signs of success, such as a beautiful car or an expensive home.
2) Make a point of celebrating your good fortune when you receive money, gifts, or compliments, and make a list of ten things you’re grateful for every day.
3) Avoid identifying with negative people or watching useless television programs that perpetuate negativity. Instead, find ways to associate with rich people so that you can observe how they behave and habituate yourself to the feeling of wealth. You can do this by joining a high-end club or visiting expensive restaurants.
Rich Mindset 3: Stop Making Excuses and Confront Your Fears
Eker argues that rich people take measurable steps towards what they want. They always focus on the end result of what they want to achieve, and they expect to succeed despite their doubts and fears. They plan ahead and create strategies to overcome their fears or potential problems—their confidence grows with each step they take to move forward. Eker suggests two ways to develop this positive mindset:
- Think about your greatest worries or concerns regarding money and plan the specific actions you’d take to overcome or limit their impact if they came true.
- Seek ways to move past your fears. For example, if there’s a project you want to start or a business field you want to get involved in, just start working for or with someone in that field and learn whatever skills you need to move forward.
Rich Mindset 4: Aim High
According to Eker, rich people set a clear intention to create massive wealth—they align their thoughts and behaviors with this intention and their commitment leads them to take actions that create wealth. This clarity of intention allows them to focus wholeheartedly on what they want and they willingly make any necessary sacrifices to achieve their goal. Their motivation to create wealth overrides their doubts and fears and makes them more resilient to setbacks.
(Shortform note: Research supports Eker’s claim that setting intentions increases your likelihood of achieving your financial goals. This is because intentions force you to focus on who you want to be, and they increase your self-discipline when you’re faced with conflicting choices about how to spend your time or your money. For example, if you set a clear intention to invest a specific amount of money into a savings account, you’ll know the right way to act when faced with a decision between saving and wasting your money on something frivolous.)
Eker proposes two ways to clarify your intention to create wealth:
1) Write down the specific benefits you’ll receive from creating more wealth in your life.
2) Write down an ambitious financial goal that reflects the rich life you want and place it somewhere you will see it multiple times a day. Aim high but make sure this goal is achievable within a realistic time frame.
Rich Mindset 5: Promote Your Value
Eker claims that rich people understand that salaries or hourly wages limit their income (your income is tied directly to the number of hours you work). Therefore, they aim to get paid for the value they provide and the results they produce. They do this by opting for commission, profit sharing, or investing in their company’s stock options.
Because their income is tied directly to the results they produce, rich people make every effort to promote themselves and the value that they have to offer—being overlooked or ignored means they don’t receive an income. Therefore, they make sure that they reach and benefit as many people as possible to maximize their profits: The more people they reach, the more income they receive.
(Shortform note: Eker’s claim that self-promotion is necessary to acquire wealth implies that extroverted people are more likely to feel comfortable with this process than introverted people. If the thought of indulging in verbal self-promotion makes your palms sweat, don’t feel pressured to adopt a more confident persona just to get ahead. Instead, consider how you can communicate your professional skills and value to just one or two people at a time. With practice, you’ll not only develop the confidence to talk about your expertise and accomplishments to bigger groups, but you’ll also receive the recognition you deserve.)
Eker proposes four ways to effectively advertise your value:
1) Suggest to your employer that they pay you based on both your individual results and the results of your company. This way, you’ll feel motivated to work harder so that you can earn more than your salary and profit from the results you produce.
(Shortform note: How can commissions or profit-sharing pay more than a salary? When you work for an employer, you only get paid a fraction of the value that you generate—this value may be many multiples of your hourly wage or salary. For example, you earn $20 an hour and work 40 hours a week—your salary is $800 a week. But the work you do generates sales for your employer totaling $5,000 a week. If you were paid a 25% commission, you would receive $1,250 a week ($450 more each week). Unlike a standard salary, the more sales you generate, the more income you receive so it’s in your best interest to produce results and promote your value.)
2) Think about the product or service you offer and rate it from 1-10 based on how much value you believe it offers. If your score is less than 10, think about ways you can increase the value of what you’re offering. Alternatively, start offering something you can fully believe in.
(Shortform note: Eker doesn’t offer advice on how to assess the value you offer or come up with new ideas. The authors of Business Model Generation argue that your product or service is more likely to be perceived as valuable if it aligns with the specific needs of your customers and differentiates itself from existing solutions.)
3) Consider starting your own business (for instance, as an entrepreneur, coach, or consultant) based on your natural gifts and talents—how could you add more value to the world and get paid for your results as well as your time?
(Shortform note: Eker doesn’t explain how to start a business based on your interests and talents. There are a few practical steps you can take to start earning money from your natural gifts: First, identify what you’re good at and enjoy doing. Next, identify profitable opportunities in high-growth areas that you’re interested in. Finally, explore ways that you can use your talents to add value to these areas. For example, if you’re good at organizing and you enjoy looking at healthy recipes, there are multiple businesses you can create from this combination, such as a meal-planning service for people who want to lose weight or are on special diets.)
4) Think about how many people you impact with your current work. Now come up with at least three different strategies so that you can provide value to and impact ten times the number of people. Learn as much as you can about marketing and sales so that you can successfully promote your value.
(Shortform note: How can you promote your value and reach more people? Eker doesn’t elaborate on this, but the authors of Positioning suggest over-simplifying the value you intend to offer so that your customers can immediately understand the benefits they’ll receive. For example, if you offer a professional cleaning service, focus on a simple benefit your customers get from using your service—they get to come home and relax knowing that all of the chores have been taken care of.)
Rich Mindset 6: Think Long-Term, Leverage Your Money, and Build Your Net Worth
Eker argues that rich people plan for their long-term wealth by growing all of their financial assets (their net worth): They think of the money they earn as seeds that they can plant in order to grow more money for their future wealth. The more money they grow, the less they have to work to pay for their lifestyle. Rich people work to receive an income but they also leverage their money in a way that makes it grow for them in the long term.
(Shortform note: Financial experts agree with Eker’s claim that the route to wealth is to leverage your money through investments that create long-term growth. While this is sage advice, it doesn’t address the fact that many people must work multiple jobs or rely on credit cards just to cover basic living expenses such as groceries and utilities. They don’t have the resources to live comfortably now let alone spare money to invest toward their future comfort.)
Eker proposes five ways to leverage your money and build your net worth:
1) Learn about investments: Read financial books or journals and then begin investing your money. Consider hiring a financial planner to manage your investments for you.
(Shortform note: Eker doesn’t offer practical advice on how to choose and set up investments or create passive income. Many finance books, including I Will Teach You to Be Rich, The Automatic Millionaire, and The Millionaire Next Door, explain how investments work and discuss the benefits of leveraging your money in ways that make it grow. These books also offer detailed strategies to help you set up and manage your investments to create ongoing income in the form of compound interest. The authors of these books, in contrast to Eker, say that you shouldn’t need to hire a financial planner once you understand how to balance your investments.)
2) Switch your focus from earning money through hard work to earning money from passive income. Write down three ways you can create income without working. Research and then act on these strategies.
(Shortform note: While Eker doesn’t elaborate on how to create passive income, there are many ways you can create passive income streams such as selling digital products, renting out property, or investing your money in an account that applies compound interest.)
3) Write down your current net worth—add up the value of everything you own such as your cash, current business, investments, and real estate. Then subtract what you owe such as your mortgage payments or other debts. Next, write down your ideal net worth—the total value of all of your assets. What amount will allow you to achieve financial freedom (that is, you won’t need to work to live comfortably)? Track your net worth every 90 days—this will motivate you to keep moving toward your net worth goal.
4) Develop the habit of directing your money towards different savings and investment accounts regardless of what you earn. This act will reprogram your money mindset into believing that you can effectively handle more money and will increase both your confidence and your financial setpoint. Divide your income and deposit into the following categories:
- 50% to cover your essential living expenses (rent, utilities, food)
- 10% into an investment account (stocks, passive income businesses, real estate)
- 10% into a savings account to cover large or emergency expenses (unexpected repairs or medical costs)
- 10% into a self-improvement account (mentoring, coaching, books, and seminars)
- 10% into a rewards account (use this guilt-free money to indulge yourself and feel rich)
- 10% into a charitable account (donations to causes you care about)
- Deposit your loose change into a jar every day
5) To increase your net worth, focus on increasing your working income and your passive income. Next, decrease your current expenses so that you can contribute more money towards your savings and investment accounts.
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Here's what you'll find in our full Secrets of the Millionaire Mind summary:
- The difference between the way rich people and poor people think and feel about money
- How to improve your finances by taking conscious control of your thoughts
- Why you may be holding yourself back from becoming wealthy