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One Trait About Becoming a Millionaire That No One Has Ever Told You

Aside from money, what do most self-made millionaires have in common? What is the one characteristic you must possess in order to escape the rat race and join the millionaire club? They’re not sitting on their asses watching TV to become wealthy. What are they doing differently?

A million dollars is not what it used to be

For starters, the value of money has decreased due to inflation, but it can still perform miracles. A million dollars is no longer worth what it once was, but if properly managed, it can last a lifetime. While some retirement experts claim that you need at least $3 million to retire, many people in the FI community require much less without sacrificing their quality of life.

Besides, when you realize what truly makes you happy and start spending wisely, your excessive wants begin to fade away. You might even discover that you can retire earlier with a smaller pot of gold.

Everyone wants to be a millionaire

It seems like everyone these days wants to be a millionaire. Consider how many people rush to get lottery tickets on the weekends.

If winning the lottery is your idea of becoming a millionaire, you’re going to need some divine intervention! The odds of winning the lottery with a single ticket are one in 175 million.

close up photo of lottery ticket
Photo by Waldemar Brandt on

Imagine if these people had a different mindset and instead of playing the lottery, they saved more for their retirement. Did you know that one-third of Americans have no retirement savings?

The one trait you need to become a millionaire

I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those lottery ticket purchasers are also among those who haven’t saved anything for retirement. People who live below the poverty line aren’t the only ones who can’t save for retirement. Look around, ask your friends and family, and observe their actions.

How much money have they set aside for retirement?

Do you believe they can do better?

You don’t have to be a millionaire to retire comfortably. But if you want to retire early, you must adopt one trait shared by self-made millionaires: the ability to produce. To become a millionaire or achieve financial independence, you must change your mindset from consumer to producer.

What exactly do the two terms mean?

What is the distinction between the two?

The difference between a producer and a consumer is simple. The producer creates a product or provides a service. The consumer uses a product or service. The producer provides for the consumer and generates revenue as a result.

As a producer, you may not be involved in the day-to-day operations or management of a company that manufactures a product, but as an investor, you may fund them.

man grinding wooden frame with sandpaper
Photo by Ono Kosuki on

Self-made millionaires, for example, made their fortunes by producing far more than they consumed. So there is a direct relationship between producing more than you consume and accumulating wealth.

Consider money as a tool for investing

But how do we make the transition from consumers to producers?

Is it necessary to stop consuming if it is harmful?

Sure, we need to buy certain products and services to survive, but we must shift the balance to produce more than we consume. To begin shifting our mindset, we must consider money as an investment tool rather than a shopping mechanism.

How Consumers Use Money

The diagram below depicts the path taken by a consumer who earns a living through work.

The role of a consumer

It’s no accident that economists refer to us as consumers. Any word that begins with con is bad for you: con artist, concussion, constipation, congress, and so on.

There was a time when residents of the United States were referred to as citizens, but with the rise of mass consumerism and the industrial revolution, the term consumer became more popular.

Let me illustrate how certain behaviors can be influenced: You could have the most beautiful nose in the world, but if you’re bullied into believing the opposite, you’ll grow up believing you have an ugly nose. If everyone tells you that you’re a consumer, you’ll play that role and consume.

We’ve been conditioned to consume on a daily basis, and companies will pay top dollar to gain access to our minds and, ultimately, our wallets. Almost every activity promoted on the internet revolves around spending our money.

Consumers and how they view money

Many people consider their paychecks to be a tool for spending money. Every week, they may repeat the cycle of earning an income, spending it all, and then repeating the process.

They may view a bonus or a promotion as an opportunity to purchase a larger ticket item or to improve their lifestyle. Saving is often regarded as a tedious task that comes last on their priority list.

When you spend your entire paycheck, the government and corporations automatically consume your life energy. As long as you keep working to buy more stuff, you’ll have to keep showing up at work and paying more payroll taxes. It’s a vicious cycle that will continue until you can no longer work.

How Producers Use Money

Start adding more value to your life by becoming a producer. The diagram below depicts the path taken by a producer who earns their first income from a job.

Producers see money as a tool for investing, creating something of value, or reclaiming their time. Many people live within their means, buying only what they need in order to invest the rest of their money. They work once for their money, and then it works for them indefinitely. As a result, they can become financially independent and have all the time in the world if they so desire.

How Can You Make The Shift From a Consumer to a Producer?

You can also become a producer if you open your eyes to the opportunities available and change certain behaviors:

  • Rather than using social media to post endless selfies and keep up with the latest gossip, why not create a fan page to promote a business or a side hustle? Create content that will earn you money.
  • Rather than paying interest on those credit cards, why not make some sacrifices to pay them off and have the financial institutions pay you interest as you invest your hard-earned money?
  • Instead of looking for ways to entertain yourself on the weekends, why not start your own entertainment company? My family member, while on her way to college, started a children’s party entertainment company as a side hustle. She found herself suddenly hiring others and paying them $50 per hour.
  • Instead of teaching the same lesson to your family or friends, why not make it available to the entire world by becoming a teacher on an online site like SkillShare? There is no teaching experience required, and their average teacher earns $3,500 per year, according to their website.
  • Why not run for political office instead of complaining about politicians and betting on the next guy? Otherwise, spending your time on things over which you have no control is a complete waste of time.
  • Instead of outsourcing everything in your life, why not reintroduce chores, learn new skills, and possibly turn them into a side hustle? My friend started a credit repair business out of necessity. He discovered some mistakes on his credit report, corrected them, and before you knew it, he was assisting others in doing the same.He now runs a successful credit repair and lending business that provides for his entire family.
  • Rather than purchasing a big house and paying interest to the bank, why not purchase a duplex? Live in one and rent the other side. Use the income to pay for the mortgage.
  • Instead of wondering how to spend the money you just earned, consider how to invest it.

Change your money habits

When you start changing your money habits, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. When you get paid, look at where your money is going and make a budget. What bad habits are keeping you in the consumer cycle?

Final thoughts

I wasn’t always good with money. So many dollars went out the window! I was caught up in the consumer cycle until I realized it wasn’t bringing me true happiness. I learned and replaced bad habits with awesome new ones. Now that I consider myself to be free of bad habits, I see things in a completely different light.

We add value to the world as producers by becoming less wasteful. We gain new skills along the way, become less reliant on the system, and generate less waste and more value by cooking our own food, repairing our own devices, and installing things ourselves.

It’s a healthier way of life, one that will one day free us from our day jobs–no more working for the man! Producing more than what you consume is a skill that you can learn. To get started, all you need is determination and a positive attitude.

Do you consider yourself to be a producer or a consumer? What behavioral changes have you made to improve your ability to save and invest money to become a millionaire?


After dedicating 13 years of his career to Vanguard, José retired from the corporate world at the young age of 44. During his tenure at Vanguard, he expertly coordinated the production of both electronic and print educational materials for 401(k) participants. Now, he relishes in his early retirement, cherishing time spent with his family, indulging in his favorite hobbies, seeking out new experiences, and savoring meals in the comfort of his own backyard.

View all posts by José →
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6 years ago

This IS the best article ever! Thank you.

Bladimir Mercedes
8 years ago

My new favorite article on this site. Time tested wisdom here, hard to calculate the true value of this content but I will start with priceless. Thanks for taking the time to share true wisdom with all of us who can use it. Keep it coming!!!

8 years ago

I guess it must be the favorite of many since it’s already the most viewed article of all time. I’m glad you find good use of it. Thanks for reading!

8 years ago

so refreshing to see your thoughts about consumerism. thanks for adding value by helping us see how we can do even better!!

8 years ago
Reply to  LM

Of course my friend! We can always do better and never let the guard down when it comes to consumerism. Bad habits never extinguish, they can only be replaced with good ones.

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