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Eighteen (Short) Reasons Most People Aren’t Millionaires

by | Aug 1, 2022 | Financial Freedom, Money

Soon we’ll all be millionaires.

No joke. With inflation out of control the value of our money is being distorted, and price discovery is harder than ever.

That’s just the new world we live in, where some people think their house went up massively, and others understand world leaders want us to play their game and think we’re getting rich. Not really. What money buys matters more than the dollar figure.

Everyone has the opportunity to be a millionaire.

Here are a few short reasons I crowdsourced from the internet as to why most don’t achieve it. (I love a good ol’ fashion debate where people attack ideas, not people.)

Thinking birthplace matters

There are millionaires from all walks of life.

Blaming a birthplace for your poverty is an excuse. Most of you reading this are better than that. We all know exceptions to the rules.

My friend in Nigeria grew up in a poor village. Gangs would steal his money as he walked out of the bank. He persisted. Now he runs a fast-growing media agency. There’s always a way.

Believing wealth equals luck

After reading every one of the responses to ‘why people aren’t millionaires,’ one reply from Emil stuck out.

Luck. 90% become rich by random luck. Luck to be born in the right country. In the right family. With the right people. They found the right mentor. The right job. The right university. They were at the right moment at the right time. They did the right things.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Millionaires are rarely lucky. Just ask a trust fund baby. They inherit daddy’s millions and within a few years they normally burn the entire fortune.

When you don’t have to work for money, you don’t appreciate it. So the natural behavior is to spend big and act like ya just don’t care.

If there was a psychological translation for millionaire it’d be this: mindset.

What you think shapes reality.

If financial wealth is rigged or a game of luck, then you’ll never win. The fat cats will continue to move your cheese while you endlessly run on their hamster wheels, the definition of insanity.

The more abundant your thinking, the luckier you get.

For example, I believe there are infinite planets we can mine and occupy. So I don’t fall for all the fear-mongering. To think we’re the only species in the galaxy and earth is the only planet we’ll ever occupy is a scarcity mindset.

“If everyone is a millionaire, no one is”

Humans are 200,000 year old competitive apes. We will always play adult games and have measurements for success whether you like it or not.

Money is a database that measures the value of human input. Some will outperform, some won’t and get defeated by their psychology.

The enemy of ego

Ego can build wealth or destroy it.

When you act like a big shot it invites people to test the limits of your bank account. I wouldn’t recommend it. Some smart bugger can always find a way to sue you and take the lot.

Morgan Housel said it best in his book “The Psychology of Money”:

Saving money is the gap between your ego and your income, and wealth is what you don’t see. So wealth is created by suppressing what you could buy today in order to have more stuff and more options in the future.

Increase humility to increase wealth. Close the ego gap.

Blaming parents

My friend Dakota grew up with two parents who were crack addicts.

His mother overdosed a few nights after he saw her for the final time while walking home from a music festival. She looked lifeless, like a Zombie. Yet he took all the bad things his parents did and turned them into positives.

You can reject your parents. You can reject their beliefs.

Being obsessed with education

A few people wrongly said that a lack of university education is why people don’t become millionaires.

Too much education is procrastination.

What matters more than passive education, following the exam rules, and memorization — is execution.

Execution starts with experimentation. And that’s impossible to do unless you’re willing to take some risks and see what happens.

Harvard ain’t gonna make you a millionaire. That’s a marketing dream.

Worrying about silly $4 lattes

A frappuccino ain’t gonna bankrupt you.

Don’t fall for the Dave Ramsey lie. Coffee equals networking, and networking with the right people can change your life and provide access to opportunities you could only dream of.

Tiny expenses are a distraction.

You can obsess over expenses and become a tight ass, or figure out how to make more money or start an online side hustle.

Photo by Ritupon Baishya on Unsplash

Taking the drug of VC money

It’s no Victoria’s Secret that starting a business is one of the fastest ways to millionaire status — investing in assets and salaries is a distant second.

In an early startup back in my 20s, we fell for the drug of outside investment. The venture capital vultures would march into our offices.

They were worse than a bad 9–5 boss who plays golf on the weekend and brags about firing people or ‘mortgage motivation.’

In my 30s I’ve learned to bootstrap businesses to keep my autonomy. There’s no point being a millionaire if you have adult babies in VC suits telling you what to do, when often they have no idea how your business works.

Less debt, more letting customers fund growth.

The addictive desire for instant gratification

This one came up a lot too.

I call it TikTok brain. Too many of us (me included) have let the online platforms mess with our natural dopamine reward system.

We want gratification within 15 seconds of watching a video or we’re swiping to the next one.

In my grandpa’s day you had to wait ages to get the dopamine reward of achieving a financial goal. People saved up for houses. They rode a bicycle until they could one day afford a car.

They lived within their means — not on the drug of buy now, pay later.

Millionaires typically get rich slow. So if you want ‘fast’ then the universe will naturally work against you.

“Pessimists sound smart. Optimists make money.”

(Nat Friedman)

There are plenty of so-called clever people that can give you thousands of reasons why becoming a millionaire is impossible. They sound smart. They can quote studies. They have letters after their name.

But thinking you have all the answers causes you to have a closed mind. Making money requires you to find opportunities, and you can’t find opportunities if you focus on pessimism that blinds you from them.

Open minds make more money regardless of IQ.

A lack of financial education

Too much math, not enough finance.

Part of the wealth game is understanding how real estate, stocks, bonds, crypto, gold, etc work so you can use them to make money grow. There’s no need to be a genius and qualify for a job on Wall Street.

All that’s needed is an understanding of the basics. They can be learned by reading popular finance books for the next year.

Without financial education the lies of inflation steal from your wallet.

Can’t stand having $0 in savings

I’m broke. I have less money in my bank account than 99% of people. Why? My money is invested to make it grow and reduce the impact of bad government and central bank policies.

Low cash reserves and plenty of investments create millionaires.

Don’t understand cash is king

Wait, what?

Yep, the global economy comes in seasons. Right now it’s winter and freaking freezing. When you have cash in a recession it lets you buy great businesses on discount. That’s how the path to becoming a millionaire can be made shorter.

Not a priority

This is good and bad. If you focus on money too much there comes a point where it’s bad for you. Why?

Because when you focus too much in one area of life another area suffers. That’s why billionaires are often mentally ill. They overcompensated in one area and are broke everywhere else.

Where focus goes money flows. Just know when it’s enough.

Not prepared to go broke

There’s a risk you can lose all your money. But millionaires know they can always make it back again, because skills and experience are what build wealth in the first place. They can’t get taken away.

Getting sucked into the American culture of consumption

Buy dumb stuff you don’t need. Upgrade for the sake of upgrading. Buy cheap stuff that breaks instead of quality items that last a long time.

Consumerism can direct your income into your pocket or someone else’s. Marketers’ jobs are to psychologically make us think we have problems that don’t exist or even matter.

Unless you can reject excessive consumerism, your wallet will drain faster than an income can fill it back up again.

Bad at math

The lottery and Las Vegas are a scam.

But unless you do the math it might be tempting to play a game where the house always wins, and you lose. It pays to know basic math and calculate returns yourself.

A lack of habits

Millionaires have goals. They turn them into habits. Habits form systems. Systems create financial automation.

The dumbest habit I ever created was to program my banking app to send a percentage of every deposit into my investment account without my intervention. I set the auto-debit back in 2011. It’s still going. That’s called automated wealth creation.

Closing Thought

Why people don’t become millionaires is a fascinating question. One reply I saw said it’s odd that you can determine someone’s mindset based on how they interpret the question — therefore, predicting their financial future.

Program your mind to see endless opportunities and you’ll never have to worry about money again.


This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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