11 ways money actually can buy happiness


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People love to say “money can’t buy happiness.”

But is that actually true? Or is it simply a narrative repeated so often we’ve come to believe it?

Some go further and misquote the Bible, claiming that “money is the root of all evil.” Consider instead an alternative narrative, that poverty is actually the true root of all evil. After all, poverty is correlated with shorter life expectancies, poorer health, and in fact lower reported happiness levels (more on that shortly).

I’d personally go a step further, and contend that the root of poverty is financial illiteracy. A solvable problem if ever there was one.

Money can buy happiness, or at least open more doors for achieving happiness. Which plays out in the research behind happiness and money, and why most people aren’t very happy regardless of how much they earn.

Why the Average Person Says “Money Can’t Buy Happiness”

Most people aren’t happy because they spend their money on the wrong things.

In fact, they shouldn’t be buying so many “things” at all.

When you first entered the real world, you probably didn’t make much money. You told yourself fairy tales like “If I just made $10,000 more, I’d be able to do ______, and my life would be better.”

Then you got promotions, and you did start earning more money. You put that extra money toward status symbols: a bigger home, a flashier car, trendier clothes, more meals out at fancier restaurants. Worse, you justified these higher expenses by telling yourself they were basic necessities: you need a roof over your head, you need a way to get around, you need clothes.

When you first bought them, you felt a surge of short-term happiness. Then it became the new normal, and your happiness returned to baseline levels.

This phenomenon is well documented in psychology, and it has a name: hedonic adaptation. And that human tendency to keep spending nearly every penny you earn, even as you earn more disposable income? That has a name too: lifestyle creep.

It’s no wonder that when you ask people to define “rich,” they inevitably respond with a number about twice as high as their current income. (Never mind that wealth is measured by net worth, not income, but that’s another story.)

This is the very definition of the rat race: you work to earn more money, then when you do earn more money, you find ways to spend all of that too. But this racing happens on the hedonic treadmill, and you don’t actually go anywhere. You aren’t building wealth, because your savings rate stays the same even as your income rises.

If you want your money to actually buy you happiness, you need to step off the hedonic treadmill, stop keeping up with the Joneses, and start putting your money to better use.

The Research: Money Does Buy Happiness

You may already be familiar with a famous 2010 study by Princeton researchers Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, which found a clear correlation between income and happiness, but only up to around $75,000 per year. Their conclusion: below a certain income level, not having enough money causes real problems and stress, which make you unhappy. Surprise, surprise — poverty makes you miserable. (See? Poverty is the root of all evil!)

But more recent research actually refutes this famous study. A 2021 study out of University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School found that the correlation between money and happiness doesn’t plateau at $75,000/year. It keeps rising, with mo’ money meaning mo’ happiness, not mo’ problems.

Even among millionaires, more money creates measurably higher happiness. Researchers Grant E. Donnelly and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School found that decamillionaires (those with more than $10 million) are happier than those with $1-2 million. (They also found that self-made millionaires are happier than vapid heiresses, surprising no one.)

So, can you buy happiness with money? Absolutely. It’s just that the average person is doing it wrong.

How Money Can Buy Happiness

There’s a line I love from Robert Kiyosaki. To paraphrase: “Over the course of my life, I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich, and I’ve been happy and I’ve been unhappy. And I can tell you firsthand that being unhappy and rich is far better than being unhappy and poor.”

That’s why Kiyosaki earns the big bucks: because he puts it so irrefutably.

But how, specifically, can we use our money to buy more happiness?

Try these 11 ways to buy true happiness and earn the best dividends of all from your money.

1. Move Somewhere Better for Your Kids to Grow Up

I grew up in a safe middle-class neighborhood, where my parents just told me to be back by dark.

While my own daughter isn’t old enough to run around by herself, we live in a neighborhood where I’d feel comfortable with her doing so. It’s a walkable neighborhood with plenty of local amenities. In fact, we don’t even own a car!

With more money comes the freedom not just to live in a bigger McMansion. It also comes with the freedom to design a better life, for both you and your children. (Psst: Lifestyle design is a recurring theme among ways to buy happiness.)


2. Buy Security for Your Family

Money lets you buy safety and security for your family, beyond simply living in a great neighborhood.

Use your money to buy excellent health insurance for your family. If you’ve reached financial independence and quit your high-octane job with all its benefits, try these options for health insurance for early retirees.

If you’re still dependent on your job to cover your living expenses, buying security might mean life insurance or long-term disability insurance. Although one of my favorite hidden benefits of the FIRE lifestyle is that you often don’t need these insurance policies, because you live on a fraction of your income and build your net worth and passive income so quickly.

3. Switch to Your Dream Career

Far too many people work long hours doing work they “can live with” or worse, actively dislike. In fact, 85% of people don’t like their jobs, according to a 2019 Gallup poll.

Even among middle- and high earners, many feel stressed out and work more than 40 hours each week. Why do they keep doing it? Because after years of lifestyle creep with every raise, their living expenses demand that high-salary job. You probably know this phenomenon as the golden handcuff.

Instead, imagine an alternative path. Imagine designing your ideal life, doing work you find fulfilling and meaningful, living in the perfect city or town for you. The opposite of the rat race is called lifestyle design, and more money helps you achieve it faster.

That requires you to stop spending so much, so you can build wealth and passive income faster. Because the lower your living expenses, and the higher your passive income, the less you rely on your day job to generate income.

Which in turn means you can quit your high-stress day job and go do work that you find meaningful — even if it doesn’t pay as well.

4. Volunteer

That work could even involve volunteering for a cause you feel passionate about.

Once you reach financial independence, you can cover your living expenses with passive income alone. Which means you no longer have to work for a paycheck at all if you prefer, and you can volunteer full-time.

Of course, no one says you have to quit your job to volunteer. But having more money means less dependence on working full-time, which frees up more of your time to volunteer as you see fit.

5. Travel

My family and I have lived overseas for six years now, and we love it.

Our daughter Millie even has two passports! She’s a dual citizen, having been born in Brazil to American parents.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, we visited around ten countries each year, on average. We typically spend around two months of the year in the US, and the rest of the year abroad.

And we’ve had some incredible experiences. Experiences like beach camping in Oman and watching bioluminescent algae spark with light as the waves crashed on the beach. Or exploring the ancient cave city of Uplistsikhe in the Republic of Georgia. Or spending a month living in historic Prague, or a month in the medieval caruggi district in Genoa in a former palace.

These are all life experiences we could never have had without money. Spend your money on experiences that broaden your horizons, rather than on material items that offer only a quick bump in happiness.

6. Treat Your Friends & Family

It makes me happy when I treat my parents or my siblings to dinner every once in a while. It makes me happy to occasionally pick up the bar tab when I’m out with friends.

Not often enough to rub it in anyone’s face, or so that people come to expect it. But it’s nice to be able to treat your loved ones sometimes, with no strings attached.

You can do that when you have money. And, for that matter, less dependence on your job means more freedom to spend time deepening your relationships with friends and family.

And no one says that it only makes you happier to spend money on friends and family. Randomly buy coffee for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop. Or put money toward the meal of the family sitting nearby at a restaurant, particularly if they look like they could use the boost.

For that matter, put your money to work for the people who need it the most.

7. Give Money to Charities & Nonprofits

Your time isn’t the only thing you can volunteer when you have more money.

Donate your money to charities and nonprofits that make the world a better place. Charities that align with your values. That do lasting good for the neediest people on our planet.

Perhaps surprisingly, a decade of research shows that your money actually pays greater happiness dividends when you give it to others than when you spend it on yourself.

Having more money is great — if you use it in the right ways.


8. Help Your Kids with Their College Costs

College is outrageously expensive. And even more so when you add the interest from student loans on top of tuition, room and board, books, and other student living expenses.

So? Use your money to help your kids with it. After all, what’s the point of building wealth if you can’t set up your children for success? You certainly can’t hold onto it after you kick the bucket.

Which doesn’t mean you should necessarily send your kids to an overpriced $60,000/year liberal arts college. Try these college tuition hacks to lower your kids’ education costs.

9. Spend More Time Being Active

Researchers at Yale and Oxford found an intriguing result in their 2020 study: as much as money boosts your happiness, exercise makes you even happier.

In their study of over 1.2 million Americans, those who exercise regularly felt mentally unwell an average of 35 days a year. Those who didn’t exercise regularly felt unwell — as measured by depression, stress, and emotional problems — an average of 53 days per year.

In fact, physically active people feel as good as inactive people who earn about $25,000 more per year.

Again, more passive income and less dependence on your job frees up more time to be physically active. I work out every day, plus take my daughter on a 45-minute walk. At 40, I still have a six pack, and use exercise as a critical way to manage stress.

Which says nothing of my longer expected lifespan, or the fact that I don’t feel guilty eating the occasional dessert.

An active life is a better life. And more passive income makes it easier to scale back your working hours and exercise more.

10. Master Something Meaningful & Challenging

Instead of fixating on goals, try pursuing mastery.

I like goals, but they come with an inherent risk. Too many of us frame a narrative around goals of “I’ll be happy when…” Then after they achieve that goal, they celebrate for a day — then set a new goal, and return to their baseline happiness level.

Try instead to build good habits, in the pursuit of mastering difficult but rewarding skills and tasks. Do you really need to run a marathon, or is it more important that you be an active, healthy person? I know plenty of ex-marathoners who hate running today, and don’t work out much anymore. They trained like a fiend for their marathon, were completely miserable for six months, ran their marathon, then promptly threw up and said “I’m never doing this again.”

I don’t run competitively anymore. But I’ve incorporated fitness and a daily workout not only into my routine, but into my identity.

Become a master musician, or painter, or writer, or cook, or whatever appeals to you personally. Aim for daily practice and improvement; pursue mastery, rather than arbitrary goals. Embrace challenges and push through the adversity that comes from them.

And yes, science backs this one up too. One study by researchers from the University of British Columbia and the Barcelona School of Management found that those who push through adversity live happier lives than others.

That practice of pushing through adversity also prepares you better for life’s tragedies and traumas as well. They hit all of us sooner or later, and the mental toughness from daily practice will help you recover your happiness faster when life throws you a curveball that hits you in the back.

11. Retire Early

When you reach financial independence, work becomes optional. You can retire early if you like.

I personally don’t plan to, because I find meaning in my work. I get to teach people about real estate investing, passive income, and financial independence! I get to teach and write about financial literacy! Which is my way of changing the world. I truly believe that financial illiteracy ranks among the worst causes of poverty, at least in wealthy countries like the United States.

Doing meaningful work brings happiness. But if you don’t know yet what work would give your life the most meaning, don’t give up on the notion of FIRE. Aim to retire early — even if you eventually change your mind after reaching financial independence, and discover the work that brings your life meaning.

Final Thoughts

Average people moan that money doesn’t buy happiness, and they can tick off all the reasons why money can’t buy happiness. They’re wrong.

The reason most people think money doesn’t buy happiness is that they use money incorrectly. They use it to buy things, status symbols like bigger houses and cars.

How can money buy happiness? By enabling you to sculpt your perfect life.

Money buys freedom, safety, and security for you and your family. Money can buy experiences that make you happy and help the world become a better place. And you can invest it to create passive income, which in turn severs your dependence on your high-stress job to survive.

If nothing else, build wealth for the pleasure of giving it away and spending it on other people. You’ll derive far more happiness from that than from buying the latest gadget or car.♦

How do you plan to buy happiness with money?

This article originally appeared on SparkRental.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


More from MediaFeed:

25 money secrets from millionaires


It’s common knowledge that millionaires handle their money differently than many, but what’s their secret? Does education have anything to do with it? Some say that you have to work hard, and others suggest saving every penny.


But which one is right for you?


In this article, I interviewed these 25 millionaires and asked them a very basic question: “As a millionaire, what is your number one money secret that could help others on their way to financial independence?”


And, to my surprise, the answers were all different! 25 different money secrets from 25 millionaires! Let’s dig in and find out what they know!


nathanaparise / istockphoto


1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.


:Ivan Nadaski / iStock


A lot of people want to be good at everything. Marc Andre from Vital Dollar says a better and more profitable approach is to focus on what you do best and continue to improve your strongest skills.


Being extremely good at one thing is likely to help you generate a lot more income than being pretty good at a lot of different things. Your weak areas really don’t matter all that much if you have transcendent skills in a particular area.


Think about a highly talented coder, a world-class athlete, a skilled musician, or a great salesperson. Their best skill is what matters and what makes them so valuable. It doesn’t matter if that’s the only talent they have.


Some skills are more valuable than others, so it also pays to do some research. If you’re not sure if a particular skill is worth honing, check to see what experts in the field are able to make.




Dr Jeremy Britton DFA SAFin DD, and CFO, BostonTrading.co says his money secret is “invest where you spend.” It’s a phrase he coined back in the early 2000s and featured heavily in his 2006 book, “Who’s Taking Your Money? (and how to get some of it back!).” Britton didn’t realize it was such a revolutionary concept until thousands of readers told him so.


Dr Britton adds, “I used the same telco for years with my mobile and office phones and had stock in them. When their service turned sour, I switched providers and switched to owning stock in the new company. The former company continued with bad service, their stock went down, and stock in the new company soared.”


#InvestWhereYouSpend saved both Britton and his clients from losing money in the 1999 ‘tech wreck’ as the majority of the new and hyperinflated companies were not making profits.


They prospered by investing in companies that had regular cash flow: suppliers of food, fuel, phone services, power, etc.


If you trust the bank with your savings, buy their stock. If you trust the energy company, grocery store, etc, buy their stock.


Britton adds, “Remember to sell the stock when you are no longer financially supporting them. When COVID19 hit, nobody was spending money on rental cars or airfares (sell Hertz and airline stock). Everyone was working from home (buy Zoom, Microsoft, and home office suppliers).”




1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.


:Ivan Nadaski / iStock


Think of getting out of debt and into financial freedom like deciding to finall get into shape:

  • Reduce excess spending
  • Tone up your credit score
  • Consume healthy habits
  • And then stay strong (by investing)

“Think of this project like you are BUILDING the MUSCLE of your FINANCIAL LIFE. And, by the way, another great benefit of being physically and financially fit leads to stress reduction”, says Cary Singleton, founder of MillionStories.com’s bite-sized entertainment and tools to start your financial fitness plan.


Just like you are the CEO of your physical body, you are the CEO of your financial life.


Don’t be afraid to ask for coaching. And perhaps you’ll want to pay a trainer who is a Certified Financial Planner. You can even build a team of friends and family members who motivate each other by breaking the taboo about talking about money.




Want to become a millionaire sooner than later? Michael Quan, Author of “The F.I.R.E. Planner,” explains how he saved upwards of 70% of his income and didn’t feel like he was sacrificing his livelihood.


First, Quan focused on saving and investing as early as he could. Quan started out investing just $20 per month into a brokerage account. And, this was an important first step to begin the momentum of saving and investing.


Next, here’s the secret of how Quan accelerated his savings rate.


“I anticipated my future raises before I earned them. Then every time I had a salary increase or bonus, I would take a portion of it (15%) and spend it on something nice to reward myself. The remaining 85% I would put away into savings and investments like ETFs. I made it easy for myself by automating the savings with free banking tools. And, I set up my investment contributions to be auto-deducted each pay period into my 401K”, adds Quan.


Related read: 19 Ways to Use Your Tax Refund to Build Wealth




“Margin is my single financial secret weapon. It has a bad reputation” says Michael Jacob, Co Founder of Filter King.


Jacob offers three pieces of advice related to using margin:

  • Use less than 25% margin; that is a safe amount to always avoid a ‘margin call’ if / when your securities drop in price.
  • Only use margin on assets that can appreciate (more stocks and real estate).
  • Make sure your broker is giving you a competitive rate on the debt. Interactive Brokers offers margin rates of around 2%.

Like all things margin must be used properly, when abused or misused it will lead to issues. However, when used properly it offers a land of prosperity.


Related read: How to Sell Covered Calls for Monthly Income


Pinkypills / istockphoto


“Don’t work for money, let money work for you, the biggest secret of them all”, says Harvey Raybould, owner of Freedom Via Property.


The earlier in life folks adopt this principle, the quicker they will become a millionaire. When we trade our time for money, our earning potential will always be limited to the physical number of hours we can work in a day.


“All millionaires and billionaires leverage other people’s time and build their own assets to give them limitless hours of earning capacity. They make money even when they’re sleeping”, adds Raybould.


Rayboulds’ three keys to becoming a millionaire are to build cash flowing assets, build a great team around you and build multiple streams of income. During his own journey to becoming a millionaire, Raybould had to make many sacrifices and went through hard times.


“I remember when friends of mine were out partying or going on amazing holidays and I couldn’t go because I didn’t have any money”, adds Raybould.


But gradually, during his 20s, things started to turn around. Rayboulds’ business started to make money, he bought his first property and became more financially literate. He stopped buying things he didn’t need, especially on credit and store cards and started saving and investing all his spare cash.


Fast forward to today, Raybould now has a multi-million-dollar property portfolio that is looked after by his team.


“I recently sold a business for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I have angel invested in nearly 30 companies, I have stocks and shares in pension funds and a cryptocurrency portfolio. Plus blogs I am building an income stream from and a real estate development business” says Raybould.


Indeed, there’s something to be said about having multiple sources of income.


Related read: 19 Blue Chip Stocks for Incredibly Reliable Dividends


GaudiLab // istockphoto


“When you are just starting out, focus on building your primary income stream”, says Ryan Maestro, Investment Strategist with WantFI.com.


Many people want success to happen quickly and start working on many different side hustle projects hoping that something will stick and the money will start rapidly flowing in, but that often distracts from the golden opportunity right in front of you with your career progression.


Side hustles can bring in extra money, but often your entire work effort is spread thin across too many projects leading to a mediocre result on everything. You want to get recognized early on in your career as a go-getter, so distractions from that image won’t help. Feel free to experiment with side hustles once you’ve tended to your primary source of income.


Secondly, “don’t succumb to lifestyle inflation spending everything you’ve earned. Utilize your retirement accounts and immediately start investing in S&P500 index funds or passive income streams where more money is made with money” adds Maestro.


Indeed, the more you invest, the higher the probability of becoming a millionaire sooner. Similarly, the longer you wait to invest, the much larger the monthly contributions are necessary to reach the millionaire goal. Start young and you won’t miss the lifestyle you never had.




Income diversification may sound like very old advice but, according to Ryan Scribner, “Diversifying my income helped me climb the top of the ladder faster and maintain that status.”


Scribner decided to build an online business in 2016. His first venture was a Youtube channel which now provides him a $30,000 monthly revenue. It was not an easy journey though. Like most business owners, they have their own share of struggles, but it can be worth it.


“As soon as I earned thousands of dollars from my Youtube channel, I began to look for other baskets to put my eggs in” adds Scribner.


His next venture was a blog called Investing Simple, which he built together with a business partner in 2018. “With the Youtube channel and blog earnings combined, they are bringing in $40,000 – $50,000 revenue in total!” says Scribner.


But Scribner didn’t stop there. He looks for other platforms to diversify his income. He’s invested in real estate, bitcoin, blue chip stocks and bonds and other trading platforms.


The biggest secret Steve Oliverez has learned is to stay focused on the big picture and things that are really going to move the needle.


“I’ve seen a lot of advice about cutting out spending on things like $5 coffee from Starbucks. Sure, overspending can get you into trouble, but that coffee isn’t preventing you from being wealthy. I’ve watched someone spend 4 hours just to save $10 on an oil change.” says Oliverez.


Instead of focusing on ways to save a dollar here and there, Oliverez refocused his energy where it would have the greatest impact. He spent time every week working on his resume and researching job opportunities.


Then, he put together all the reasons he should get a raise and asked for one, and ended up doubling his salary! Then, when it came time to buy a house, he researched and negotiated until he got a great deal and the best interest rate he could get on the mortgage.


“In the meantime, I started a side hustle that eventually let me leave my day job entirely. The net result was more money than I ever could have possibly cut from my budget”, adds Oliverez.


By focusing on the big picture items, Oliverez never had to give up the small luxuries like an evening out with friends or the occasional caramel macchiato.




“I’m always looking to alchemize my active income into passive income, specifically into reliable, high-return, tax-sheltered passive income sources,” says Dave Mason, an author.


Indeed, Mason’s primary income currently comes as the owner of an ecommerce business called Knobs.co. However, e-commerce can be volatile. it can go up and down with changing trends and Google algorithm updates.


Furthermore, Mason also earns income as a novelist through books such as “The Cash Machine” and through running courses that teach about goal setting and understanding financial fundamentals, but these income sources require tremendous time commitments.


Thus, he’s developed the practice of reinvesting the majority of his income from his business and writing. Indeed, the proceeds get invested into vehicles that will generate steady income without any close attention or effort.


“My two favorite passive income vehicles are real estate and the purchasing of small businesses. I like to invest as part of a larger, private equity ownership group, otherwise, I run the risk of winding up with another business to manage,” adds Mason.


Mason has also invested in a number of nursing homes. He is involved with a private equity group that buys failing nursing homes and uses its expertise and economies of scale to increase their profitability.


“I like these investments because they are both real estate and small businesses,” says Mason.


Indeed, the advantage of real estate is that it can generate tremendous tax advantages through depreciation. But since the homes are also small businesses, they can generate a greater return on investment than real estate alone.




Every six months or so, Chrissy Randall, a Wealth Coach with Reimagining Wealth Inc. sits down to realign her vision of wealth.


“I examine where I am currently and get clear on what I want to create moving forward.  This can be to increase my stock portfolio, invest in more real estate, or spend a month with my family in another country. Then I commit to taking at least one step towards this new vision every single day”, says Randall.


Randall says she wakes up every morning and asks herself, “What am I going to do today that will get me closer to the wealthy life that I want?”


This question opens up her brain for possibilities and forms a habit of creating wealth.


“I don’t let myself off the hook, I make sure I do something every single day. Sometimes I involve a friend that has the same wealth mindset and we keep each other accountable”, adds Randall.




“When my income jumped, I was suddenly surrounded with people who had ‘opportunities’ for me. Some were friends, and others were introduced to me. I understood it was good for me to ‘diversify’, so I listened to their advice”, says Ali Brown, founder of The Trust.


Within a year Brown says she was invested in high-priced real estate, a hot new restaurant that was opening in L.A., and a business venture in a category she was completely unfamiliar with. All went bust or became a mess within a few years. The good news is she smartened up, and from that point on, made a rule to never invest in anything she didn’t understand.


“Another fact I now understand is no one — no one — will ever care as much about your money as you. That includes even people who you put in charge of your money,” says Brown.


Indeed, you can be surrounded by the best accountants and financial team, but rule No. 1 is to look out for No. 1, and that’s you.




The phrase “I don’t know….” is a common limiting belief that Dean Graziosi, Success Coach had to overcome. “I didn’t go to college and I barely finished high school, I struggled with dyslexia and had teachers and friends tell me I wouldn’t amount to anything. But instead of using my lack of experience as an excuse and focusing on the doubt in my mind, I became innovative,” adds Graziosi.


Graziosi says he wasn’t always the smartest person in the room but always had enthusiasm. He says he wakes up every day and puts positive thoughts at the forefront of his mind. Be enthusiastic about your motivation, your innovation, and your ability to surprise the competition and from there success will come.


Graziosi says he also had teachers and friends telling him “You can’t do that.”


But he didn’t let it limit himself. Instead, Graziosi took that negative feedback and turned it into energy and the wind behind his sails.


“When I had negative thoughts going through my head, I asked myself ‘What is my Why’? I acknowledge the energy, I prove that the negative thoughts are wrong, and I harness the power of that thought to make what I really want to happen,” adds Graziosi.


Indeed, all that matters is to remember that your purpose is greater than any challenge you’re facing.


Related read: Best Jobs For Millennials Without A Degree


Jonathan Erasmus/istockphoto


By living overseas, I grew my net worth from $600,000 to $1,100,000+ in 6-years, all while in retirement,” says Marco Sison, Retirement Coach at Nomadic FIRE.


Outside of investing to take advantage of compound interest, Sison’s most impactful financial strategy was leveraging Geographic Arbitrage. By jumping on a plane to live overseas, he cut his monthly expenses by over 60%.


Previously, Sison lived in a medium-cost city in the US, where Sison says his modest lifestyle cost was ~$3,700 per month. Today, Sison lives in Split, Croatia, where his total expenses are ~$1,400.


“I save over $27,000 per year on lower healthcare, rent and other living expenses,” says Sison.


Could he be on to something?


Sison’s retired life abroad is not only cheaper but also better. For example, he rents a large two-bedroom furnished apartment that is a 15-minute walk from the beach in Split, Croatia. Sison’s rent, including utilities, is just $600 per month. A similar-sized apartment in a medium-cost city in the U.S. would cost $1,800, with no beach included.


“Not only are my expenses lower, but I can afford a fuller lifestyle. Last year, I lived in the Philippines, spending ~$1500 per month, including an active social life, an apartment in a trendy neighborhood, frequent dining out, and maid service- all luxuries I could not afford in the U.S.,” says Sison.




“I have been passionate about gemology since I was eight, and have been in the gem business for over 30 years. As an aesthete, I admire beauty and luxury. As a trained economist and 8-figure serial entrepreneur, I tend a well-rounded investment portfolio that prioritizes solid and steady yields,” says Dr. Thomas Schröck, CEO, The Natural Gem.


For Schröck, Gemstones such as sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, in particular, have shown significant promise over the past 30 years. Surely, it’s also an effect of two recent major economic crises.


While white diamonds have remained fairly stable, the value of natural, untreated gemstones has more than tripled since 1995. Rubies- since they are also the rarest of the three- have even grown by more than 8% annually.


“I have myself collected a plethora of gemstones throughout the years, first for pleasure, then for investment purposes– and they have since become a way of storing my wealth in something small, beautiful, and durable. All in all, you could say that it has been my love for gemstones that has gotten me to the level of success of where I am currently at,” adds Schröck.




“My top money secret to becoming a millionaire is to have backup streams of income streams”, says Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Blogger & Writer at Making Sense of Cents.


Diversifying your income streams is important because it allows you to not be too reliant on one source of income. For example, consider what would happen if you were to have a bad income month with your main source of income. Having a backup plan is always great for the mind.


It also makes reaching your money goal faster, as you’ll be earning income from multiple sources instead of just one.


“There are many sources of income that can be more passive than others so that you aren’t always working a ton of hours, such as rental real estate or building dividend income,“ adds Schroder-Gardner.


Related read: How to Ensure Financial Security




Johannes Larsson, CEO & Founder, Financer offers his top millionaire money secret: “Anything you do in life – don’t nitpick. Nitpicking is detrimental to your money, but also to your time and focus. The two most precious resources a millionaire has.”


“Financially, this comes down to focusing on making millions of dollars, not saving pennies. Wherever you put your time and focus, you will get results, so be aware of the results you really want. If you focus on saving pennies, then you will have pennies,” adds Larsson.


Many people are dollar-foolish and penny-wise. To be a millionaire, it’s important to reverse the mindset. Be dollar-wise and penny-foolish. If you want to go to a restaurant and pay $200, do it. That’s not what will stop you from becoming a millionaire.


“Instead, I focused my time and money on creating a business that solves significant problems. It was 2015 when I made the decision that made all my previous decisions irrelevant. I sacrificed a percentage of my revenue and gave it to my team members.


“I started paying them with a commission, as well as per task, and it was an essential step that I had to do to grow my business. And, I stopped focusing on saving pennies from my employees’ salaries and started focusing on the bigger picture. In return, our revenue grew from €0.4M to €1.7M, so I would say it was a good choice,” adds Larsson.


Ozge Emir/istockphoto


Charlie Chang, a real estate broker & YouTuber with over 350,000 subscribers suggests that for anyone who wants to build wealth is to start doing side hustles.


“People that want to take advantage of the tax code and be able to stop trading time for money, it’s essential to start making 1099 income,” adds Chang.


Indeed, 1099 income is treated differently than W2 income by the IRS. After college, Chang started doing things like tutoring, photography, videography, and modeling. While he doesn’t do those things today, they gave him valuable skills and contributed to his success in his current businesses.


“The way I look at it is, trading time for money results in a cap in a person’s income, and if you want to start scaling to 7 figures and beyond, there are very few W2 jobs that pay $500/hour or more,” says Chang.


Start doing side hustles, those will lead to real businesses that are scalable, and that is when big wealth can be achieved. Last, Chang reminds me that he always tells people to not be scared to fail! Indeed, he has started dozens of businesses and almost all of them have failed or fizzled out. Just start, don’t overanalyze, and good things will come from it.


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“One of the biggest drivers to building wealth for me was to marry smart,” says Jon Dulin, Founder of Side Hustling Money.


Dulin wanted to be with someone who shared many of the same values as himself, both financially and non-financially.


Financially, Dulin has always been a saver and investor and needed a spouse who not only was a saver but also had similar goals to himself. This included retiring early and living life on their own terms.


“By having a partner on the same journey with you, you not only get enjoy everything more, but you get there faster too in many cases,” adds Dulin.


This isn’t to say they agree on every aspect of money and don’t get into disagreements about spending money. They do. It’s part of life. But the key is they agree on the bigger picture, the long-term goals.


“If we didn’t there would be a lot of arguing and unhappiness,” says Dulin.


And this type of arguing can potentially turn into a divorce, which means you lose a good portion of what you both worked so hard for.


Of course, divorce can happen at any time and for many reasons. But finding someone on the same page as me when it came to the bigger things in life, has made my life that much better. And being happy helps Dulin to be motivated to reach his goals.


Related read: How to Start Investing Online in 2021 – A Complete Guide


Jacqueline Relke, founder of the JW Method offers a rather controversial millionaire money secret: Make access to your energy a privilege.


“When I say this a lot of people think this is in arrogance or ego — but it is actually the exact opposite. It is rooted in confidence and ambition,” says Relke.


Indeed, Relke learned early on in her career that energy is power. That the million-dollar value her energy holds was the key to her success.


“When I realized that being a millionaire didn’t start once I had the 000,000’s in my bank account — it was game over. I shattered the glass ceiling by deciding to be a millionaire in mindset, confidence and ambition — and the 000,000’s followed,” says Relke.




TJ Sayers, owner of Birmingham Homebuyers, LLC says his best tip for becoming a millionaire is to invest in residential real estate (single-family homes and multi-family apartment complexes).


“I began investing in single-family homes in 2015. Between 2015 and 2018 I had purchased 8 single-family homes and one 14 unit apartment complex. With the rising market over the last several years, those single-family homes I paid $60k for are now worth $120k each. The apartments have also increased in value substantially,” adds Sayers.


Now his net worth is well over $1 million.


While there are some challenges with investing in real estate, Sayers has ridden the market up to millionaire status. This is in addition to the rent he’s collected thus far.


“Real estate is a time-tested way to become a millionaire over time, and you do not have to have a ton of money to start out. In fact, when I first started out I had a negative net worth,” adds Sayers.


Indeed, finding deals in today’s market is tough, but it only takes a few good deals per year to really supercharge your net worth.


Related read: How to Buy a Rental Property




Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO of Chargebacks911 says, “I believe that passion and innovation are the twin pillars of financial success, and the former feeds the latter: Passion fuels innovation.


“When you truly, wholeheartedly love what you do — when you’re passionate about your industry, your job, and your profession — innovation is inevitable.  It becomes what you think about, dream about, talk about and read about.


“You love it so much, it would be unimaginable not to constantly daydream about how to make it even better!  It’s who you are, and your career is a labor of love.  In my own experience, innovation is actually an emergent property of passion.  One begets the other.”


So, if you want to be a rich, successful, multimillionaire businessperson, Eaton-Cardone advises you to choose a profession that aligns with your heartfelt passions.  Otherwise, you’ll be competing 24/7, 365-days-a-year against those who are genuinely passionate, and it just won’t be a fair fight.




Wealth isn’t generally created without planning.  Robert R. Johnson, PhD, CFA, CAIA, and Professor, Heider College of Business, Creighton University knew that when he started his career, he had to make wealth accumulation a priority and that meant financial planning was essential.


Johnson was fortunate to grow up in Omaha, Nebraska, and to have been exposed to Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett at an early age.


Mr. Buffett is often quoted as saying, “If you want to make saving a priority, take a look at how you budget. Do not save what is left after spending; instead, spend what is left after saving.”


Johnson realized that if he truly wanted to make savings a priority, it could not be a residual — what is left over.


“Savings has always been a line item on my budget,” adds Johnson.


Too many people fail to build wealth because they simply save what is left after expenses. In all areas of life, you accomplish what you prioritize.


“I prioritized savings and invested those savings in a diversified portfolio of stocks. The result is that I have been able to achieve financial freedom,” says Johnson.




“There are two types of millionaires – self-made or generational wealth. No matter which category they fall into they appreciate their financial security and wish to pass on that knowledge to their own children.


“How do they do that? By talking about it. Wealthy people understand that money conversations are no longer a taboo topic in the household. Where older generations grew up never talking about money, today’s parents understand that to give their child an advantage in the world, it is vitally important to help them develop their own financial literacy.


“This accomplishes two things.


“First, it improves the chances that their offspring will be aware of successful money habits right out of the gate after college graduation. That awareness improves their likelihood of making good money decisions early on. Clearly, making the right decisions early on can have tremendous future outcomes – think, the miracle of compound interest.


“Secondly, and more selfishly for these parents, providing the launch pad for their child’s future financial success eventually lessens the financial burden on these parents. If their children are not in need of The Bank of Mom/Dad, that gives the parents more of their own financial security in the future.


“As the saying goes, ‘You pay now…or you pay later…but you pay.’


Wealthy individuals know that it is better to pay now by taking the time to make their children money smart as opposed to not doing that, rolling the dice, and potentially needing to keep a child on the payroll throughout their adulthood as they constantly need to financially bail them out.”


– Thomas J. Henske, CFP, CTS, ChFC, CFS, CLU, CLTC, CES




Violette de Ayala, Founder & CEO of FemCity says her top money secret to becoming a millionaire and maintaining the status is to “continuously create additional forms of revenue that are in alignment to the work I already focus on that are also connected to making a big positive social impact.


“I am always seeking ways to add value and creating win-win scenarios that benefit others and add more money in my pocket. I am constantly looking for ways to add multiple streams of revenue that make a big positive social impact in benefiting others.”


“When I started FemCity and was able to sustain a strong revenue stream with our membership, I focused on adding a secondary stream of revenue through advertising.


“Once that component was strong, I scaled our membership model to grow exponentially, added group coaching, then private consultation, speaking, writing and recently added corporate leadership training.


“I have also revamped our membership model to create various levels based on the needs of the women we serve and created online courses from repurposed content,” says de Ayala.


Creating products and services that are priced for everyone is her constant intention and purpose making sure it’s always aligned to how it improves their lives and/or business. By making products and services accessible to many based on pricing, it assisted de Ayala’s company and revenue streams greatly as we entered into the pandemic.


“Even though I have lost revenue from most areas, I am still financially strong because I have so many streams of revenue that add value to the lives of others,” says de Ayala.


At times, she launched revenue streams that weren’t successful but always attempts them in “pilot mode” so she can opt-out easily if she sees the idea is not sustainable and nor scalable.


Reinvesting revenue into new and more diverse ways to create more income while staying focused on helping others has been a great way for de Ayala to achieve and maintain the millionaire status.


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There is no one secret to becoming a millionaire. Becoming a millionaire requires that one lives below their needs, and invests their money until such time they become financially independent.



Tzido/ istockphoto


Rich people spend less than they earn and invest the difference. Week after week, month after month.





Many millionaires see debt as a tool, and in fact, do use debt. Millionaires borrow to invest, buy real estate, and other assets that provide income, or have a good chance of appreciating. Furthermore, these loans often get negotiated with very low interest rates.



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Both millionaires and billionaires in the United States do indeed have credit scores.




Most millionaires get rich in one of two ways. Either investing over a long period of time, or its passed down through the generations. Very few win the lottery.




Rich people invest in all sorts of things. For example, aside from the usual stocks, bonds and ETFs, rich people also invest in private companies, limited partnerships and incoming producing assets.



Bet_Noire / istockphoto


Investing in quality stocks and ETFs over the long haul is a generally accepted method to become financially independent.


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