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My Honest Advice to Someone Who Wants to Retire Filthy Rich

How do millionaires become millionaires and retain their wealth? In this article, you'll learn the strategies and habits of successful, self-made millionaires. Learn how to avoid the comparison trap, diversify your investments, generate multiple income streams, and live within your means. Explore actionable insights and mindset shifts to help you achieve financial freedom and retire filthy rich. Keep reading to uncover my honest advice on building lasting wealth.

Written by
Ravi Sharma
Published on
June 14, 2024
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How do millionaires actually become millionaires and then keep all of their wealth?

How are they able to continue growing their wealth so they can achieve a life of financial freedom?

In this article, I  want to focus on:

  • What most smart and rich people around the world are actually doing; and
  • How we can apply this to what we can do today.

If you are interested in what my thoughts are, keep reading…

The Comparison Trap

Personal finances are important because what we want to do is: Take care of what will become our biggest stress in life, which is financial stress.

Although no one wants to admit it,

Money DOESN'T buy you happiness.

But it DOES buy you CHOICE.

So instead of just telling you:

  • What I'm doing; and 
  • How I'm planning my retirement and building my financial wealth.

 I  want to focus on:

  • What most millionaires around the world are actually doing; and
  • How some of those things are applicable to what we can do today.

The issue that we have in society right now is that: We compare our day 1 to someone's day 100.

Let’s take you and I, for example:

I've been investing in real estate for almost 11 years. But if you've just found out about me, you’ll say:

Oh well, I want to build a multi-million dollar portfolio like Ravi has.”

“But I can't, because he's already so far ahead. How am I going to start? It's just too difficult!”

You often lose the motivation to even start now.

Believe it or not, when I started 11 years ago, I also had similar people around me. When I looked at them I was saying: “Oh my God! There’s no way I could ever get to that point.”

We always underestimate what we can achieve in the long term and drastically overestimate what we can achieve in the short term.

Take, for example: You go out there and build your physique. You say: “Look, I want to get to a position where I've got 15% body fat.”

But you started with 30% body fat.

Then you say: “Okay, well, I want to get to this point within 6 months. What I'm going to do is X, Y, and Z.”

The catch is: Most people won't achieve it in 6 months.

However, if you stick to that and you consistently do it, you’ll probably get there in 12 to 18 months. 

But because we fail in the short term and think that we can achieve so much more, you end up not sticking to it consistently, and you never get to 15%.

That’s the same way it works with real estate or investing in general. Once you go out there and have a couple of wins, you think it should be a lot faster and often lose the motivation to keep going or even worse—you go and make a couple of mistakes. You miss out on the opportunity to have done exceptionally well, but instead, you often find yourself leaving that industry altogether and that makes a lot of sense when you purchase the wrong real estate investment, you are stuck with a dud property and then get burnt by it because you probably had either:

  • A really bad tenant story; or 
  • A developer who sold you something that they told you was in a growth corridor, and now it's not even growing.

So you go: “Property is not for me. Let me look for something else.”

Now, let's look at this study that was conducted in 2024 and explore:

  • What it says about millionaires; and 
  • How we can learn from this to actually implement in our lives.

Learning from Millionaires

Most of today's millionaires were not born into their wealth. A study published by Wealth X found that: 68% of those with a net worth of 30 million or more made it themselves.

Millionaires weren’t born into their wealth

Further, a second study by Fidelity Investments found that: 88% of all millionaires are self-made 

Meaning, they did not inherit that wealth.

Study by Fidelity Investmets

But there is this big misconception that most people think is true.

Most people say: “Oh, they’re so rich, it’s probably because of their parents.”

However, in this study, it was found that most millionaires don't actually get their wealth from their parents. 

I'll tell you why: Even if they did receive it from their parents (and I'm generalising here), a large portion of people who get given that money or inherit large sums of money, ACTUALLY LOSE IT.

Why? Simple! It’s because:

  • They don't have the right mindset;
  • They don't have the right habits; and
  • They often will go and do dumb things.

Meanwhile, self-made millionaires are people who:

  • Can go through that tough period;
  • Build their skills up; and
  • Maybe grow a business or invest as well.

Additionally, for self-made millionaires, coming into wealth isn't a simple process. Many of them worked hard to achieve financial success and then used their knowledge and savviness to put their new wealth in the right places.

Coming into wealth isn’t always a simple process

So what do some of these self-made millionaires have in common?

What lessons can you learn for your own investment strategy?

What does self-made millionaires have in common

A study from Fidelity showed that: When considering their financial future, 30% of millionaires surveyed said: They “were concerned with preserving their wealth.” 

30% of millionaires were concerned about preserving their wealth

Meanwhile, 20% said: They “were focused on growing their fortune.”

This forms the basis of some basic strategies if you're hoping to join the millionaire ranks.

20% of millionaires focused on growing their fortune

Also, today’s millionaires are multi-dimensional.

To really understand them, you need to look not only at their outlook but also at their path to wealth and their financial goals for the future.

20% of millionaires focused on growing their fortune

So here are a couple of suggestions based on what millionaires recommend for building wealth today:

Strategies for Building Wealth 

Number 1: Invest in Different Places and Avenues

You can go out there and say: “Okay, I only know property. I'm going to go down that path, and that's all I'll ever invest in.”

Now, the issue with that, despite my pure love for property, is that: At some point, the banks may say “NO” to you.

You may not have been in the market long enough for the equity to have grown in that property, and the barriers to entry when buying a property are really high.

So, if you can get in, you definitely want to get in.

With high interest rates, you can compound growth over time, benefiting from capital gain appreciation.

Now, when you can't do property, you might say: “Well, I can only invest in property. I'm not going to look at anything else.”

That is where the issues are created. 

Why? Because you only think you have one tool or one vehicle to get you to financial freedom.

So what I always say is: “Pick two to three different asset classes that you can focus on.”

Not because you should focus on all three, it’s just that you're going to have your main pillar. So for me, if I'm using this in context, my main pillar is property.

But when I'm not on property, I can focus on a couple of other things.

Now, outside of my business, which I operate, I can focus on investment classes like:

  • Cryptocurrency
  • Collectibles

Now, how much do those couple of things form a big part of my net worth?

Not much…It is really primarily the property side.

If property is not working for me, I’m going back into the business, which then brings money back into the property. So they sort of work hand in hand together. The crypto, as well as the collectibles, are a smaller part of my wealth. 

However, if you don't have a business, then what you're looking at doing is saying: “Okay, I can't invest in property right now. Can I get into ETFs? Can I get into shares? Can I go and invest in something else?”

That is how you need to approach this. You can't just go and say: “I've only got one vehicle that's going to get me to financial freedom, and I'm only focusing on that one thing.”

I see and speak to so many people that are in that mindset.

They say: “Well, look, Ravi, I can't buy property for another 2 years and so that means I'm just going to save my money.”

Well, if I'm saving my money, is there a purpose for it?

Do I have an emergency fund already?

Do I need extra funds to just sit there?

Can I use that money somewhere else that's going to generate me a better return?

Number 2: Having Multiple Streams of Income

The next lesson is having multiple streams of income.

You’ve probably seen YouTube scattered with these videos saying:

Hey, these are my incomes!”

“These are my income streams.”

“I've got like 25 income streams.”

I've even made videos on my YouTube channel about what my income streams are.

But what I have found over time is—it’s not just about diversifying those income streams.

It is actually being conservative and saying: “What out of these income streams is bringing me the most income?”

Then double down your focus on that area.

That's been a really big lesson for me as part of my journey when I’ve thought: “Okay, I need to diversify. I need to be everywhere.” Over the last 3 to 5 years, I've really started getting that scope of focus in check. This has allowed me to actually go, double, and triple my net worth in a short amount of time.

Now, having multiple streams of income is very important. It means you're not solely relying on one income source to get you to the end goal. Again, going back to the first point: You don't just need one vehicle to get you to financial freedom.

When one vehicle is not working, you can go to the other vehicle.

When the latter is not working, you go to the other one.

By the time the other two aren't working, you are back to your main pillar vehicle anyway.

It's a similar thing with your income.

Let’s say you're earning an income right now from your full-time job. 

If you lose that job right now, it is going to cause a bit of stress. The first thing you're thinking about is: “Do I lose the house?”

Just that thought should be enough motivation for you to:

- Go out there and start building a set of skills.

That’s going to allow you to either:

  • Go and create a side hustle;
  • Create a business that you can ultimately do full-time; or
  • Go and double down at your job right now and say:

Okay, I need to become so important to this company that they can't get rid of me. I'm not just a number. I'm an actual person here, and if I'm not in an organisation that thinks that way, then I shouldn't be here at all.

Now, apart from your active income, there is also passive income.

Passive income is probably what's going to get you to financial freedom. But active income is going to allow you to stay in the game for longer.

I use this often when I'm talking about property. When I say: “Capital gain is the goal,” the rental income is what keeps you in the game, and capital growth gets you out of the game. 

That may make no sense at all, but let me just cover that off. 

If you're going out there and saying: “Well, my borrowing capacity limits how many properties I can buy,” what I want to focus on is: A property that gives you both capital growth and cash flow.

The cash flow allows the bank to be happy and enables me to hold more properties, so you go: “Okay, one property is only going to cost me 200 bucks a week. That means I could probably hold five of these.”

Now, if you go for something that's just purely capital growth and you say: “Okay, well I don't care about the cash flow,” what happens if that one property is costing you $1,500 a week? 

It means that: If something goes wrong with the tenant that's living there, you are going to lose the house and that's one investment property you have.

In this case, in year 1, you might be in a position where you're negative $1,000 across five properties. But then, year 2 comes around and you're probably $500 out of pocket because all of the rental growth comes with it.

Now, over time those properties will have either:

  • The debts reduce; or 
  • The rents will increase 

And that's going to allow you to earn a passive income from that portfolio.

You might have three properties. 

You might have 10 properties. 

Real estate is a really good way to earn that passive income. You know obviously, it comes with the capital gains which has no tax associated with it. But the rental income does.

So apart from property, what else do I have? Well, you've got things like:

  • ETFs; and 
  • Shares, 

Where they pay you a dividend.

These are passive incomes.

It is going to be substantially less than what the property looks like because there are leverage gains. However, you can use some sort of leverage when it comes to ETFs and buying shares. But again, I don't advocate for any of that stuff.

In fact, I don't actually own any ETFs and shares because: I think there are other vehicles that can get me to my goal a lot faster.

Now, it's quite easy for me to say: “Well, okay, I'm not a financial adviser, you should probably go speak to a financial advisor.”

My thing is that you should probably go and get yourself educated around:

  • How these things work;
  • How these tools work; and 
  • What is right for you.

Because someone else can go and tell you: 

Well, look, yes you should invest 20% into property.”

You should invest 80% into mutual funds.”

Or whatever else and you might not actually like those things. 

To tell you honestly, I was invested in shares pre-2020 but then I thought: “I don't really like this.”

I tried my hand at it but I would rather go back into property and focus on my business. That is where the choice comes in from your end. If you like something, chances are, you're going to go out of your way to learn about it and engage yourself in that content.

Since you're reading this, there might be a chance that you really like property. That naturally means that property should be your pillar and then everything else sort of sits on the side with it. 

Number 3: Reduce your expenses and live within your means

Another lesson is reducing your expenses or living within your means.

A couple of years ago,when I thought about this and we were sitting at home during lockdowns everywhere, I was thinking: “Oh, you know, it's so interesting to really observe and “people watch”. You saw people's Instagram stories and things like that."

After a while, it just sort of changed. People started going out there and saying: “Okay, I’ve got this new car and I've got this and that.”

But, when you actually met them in person, they seemed really depressed. If whatever's going on in your mind isn't positive, then chances are: whatever you buy or do outside of that is also going to be really negative.

The big lesson here is: Focus on yourself and your mindset rather than trying to impress someone across the street. Because chances are: they've got their own insecurities. They really have no bearing on:

  • What you think; and
  • How you should be thinking for the rest of the day.

In my case, I've been told many times, especially on social media—-some people just love to rant and give out negative comments. Those people are so negative in their own lives that they're now trying to spread it.

Why? Simple. Misery loves company.

So when you're in that environment, you want to get away from that environment and focus on positivity.

And that positivity in your own mind is YOU, being authentic, and true to yourself.

It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. Live in your own lane. There are so many people out there, online, sharing their stories and these creators or people out there sharing their stories have so much more money than I do.

But I'm so happy with where I'm at. 

I'm happy growing the company. 

I'm happy with the people around me and that's all that I can ask for now.

Number 4: Focus on Growing Wealth

The final lesson that was shared amongst these millionaires was to: focus on growing wealth. A lot of people out there have that negative or conservative mindset which is around: 

  • How do I save more money?”

But the millionaires or the real wealthy people are focusing on:

  • How do I make more money?”

So, if something you can do generates you an extra dollar of income, the conservative mindset kicks in saying: “Why am I working for the extra dollar when I'm going to get taxed 45?”

Meanwhile, the millionaire is thinking:  

Well if I can make a dollar, I still keep 55 cents that I didn't have before and that 55 cents might increase my borrowing capacity. It might give me more choices around my lifestyle and that ultimately creates a positive flywheel to then earn more income.”

Now, if you bring all of these lessons together, you can start formulating your own investing plan. This focuses more on changing your mindset and shifting your perspective, rather than taking practical steps.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. 

I'll catch you in the next one!

Thanks guys!

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