Wall Street WARZONE

The “Warzoners” Club: 10 Rules for a New Life — You Don’t Need a Million to Live Happy & Retire Well

by Paul B Farrell, JD, PhD
| | 6/5/2010

You can succeed, even become a millionaire, anyone can. America has always been a great land of many opportunities, in bear and bull markets. But it’s not about money. Never is. As Ralph Warner put it in Get A Life—You Don’t Need A Million To Retire Well: “Instead of focusing almost exclusively on our finances, we should be thinking about the things that truly make a difference in our later years; our health, spiritual life, relationships with family and friends, and having a plate full of interesting things to do.” Here’s the big secret: It’s all in your head, your attitude, your state of mind.

If you want to be a success today, feel like a million bucks today, maybe even retire a millionaire tomorrow, you will. But most important, you will enjoy “the journey,” regardless of how much you have at the end of the road. Remember, you control your mind, and it all starts in there. A few decades in business convinced me of this one simple truth: Success has little to do with all of Wall Street’s ol’ wealth-building tools, in fact, they are one of your biggest enemies. Bottom line: You can forget all the relentless hype and propaganda about asset allocation, stock picking, savings plans, budgeting, and so on. All of it. Yes, that’s strange advice, contradicts everything you’ve ever heard from every financial adviser, planner, pundit, broker and other expert who tells you to focus on building a nestegg. But if you’re not in the right state of mind, none of that stuff matters anyway. None of it. Instead, you must focus on your goals.

Becoming a millionaire is “all in your head!”

Seriously, I’ve read all the books: The Millionaire Mind, Instant Millionaire, Automatic Millionaire, Millionaire Next Door, One Minute Millionaire, and many more. Even wrote three: The Millionaire Code, The Zen Millionaire and The Millionaire Meditation. And for several years I worked on Wall Street with Morgan Stanley on mega-million deals. But I keep coming back to this one simple fact: Becoming a millionaire really is all in your head! Period. No excuses. Ask any millionaire! Here’s what they’ll tell you. Here are the 10 top tips I’ve picked up from some great leaders who have inspired me over the decades, tips that helped me in bull and bear markets, simple tips that will help you become one of next America millionaires … in spirit and in fact.

1. Getting “rich” isn’t about the money
Peter Lynch says if you spend 15 minutes a year studying the economy, that’s 10 minutes too much. And legendary management guru Peter Drucker once said: “Anybody who tells you that he understands the American economy ought to be sent to teach modern dance.” When money guru Ric Edelman researched 5,000 millionaires for Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth, he discovered that millionaires spend an average of about six minutes a day on personal finance. Why? They got better things to do. Career. Family. Get a life!

2. Accentuate the positive
Most of us have read books classics like Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. That message was summarized by a Special Forces instructor, a veteran of 26 years, in Fast Company magazine: “If you have a guy with all the survival training in the world who has a negative attitude and a guy who doesn’t have a clue but has a positive attitude, I guarantee you that the guy with a positive attitude is coming out of the woods alive. Simple as that.”

3. Think different
Clint Eastwood says: “Anytime anybody tells me that the trend is such and such, I do the opposite.” Go inside The Millionaire Mind with author George Stanley: “They think differently from the crowd … It pays to be different.” That’s how you build wealth—your wealth, your way: Don’t fit in, go your way!

4. Stop doing what you hate
Too many people live in quiet desperation, waiting for retirement, grumbling, tolerating their jobs, doing something they hate doing. Marcus Buckingham put the solution in very simply terms in The One Thing You Need to Know: “Figure out what you don’t like doing, then stop doing it!”

5. Do what you love
You’ve heard all the pep talks and cheers: Follow your bliss, or your dreams; do what you love, money will follow. So never forget Stanley’s bottom line: “If you are creative enough to select the ideal vocation, you can win, win big-time. The really brilliant millionaires are those who selected a vocation that they love.” And that’s not some new age wishful thinking, that’s the hard facts about real millionaires.

6. Find ‘the real you!’
Working in career that doesn’t fit right is exhausting and stressful. You’re less efficient, less productive, and you under-perform. Get in sync with the real you and start operating on all cylinders. Get help from a career counselor. Read books on personality types. In The Millionaire Code I identify 16 basic types to help people focus on their dreams. Buckingham’s Now Discover Your Strengths is another example. Find the real you, go for it, and never turn back!

7. Invest in “You, Inc.”
Tired of working for Corporate America? Become an entrepreneur. Create your own business. Read Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad series. Browse through EBay for Dummies. Open a deli. Live your dreams. Just do it, now! Most millionaires work for themselves, live below their means, pay less taxes, build equity in themselves, and have more fun.

8. Live with passion
Believe in something. Listen to the still small voice inside you. What is it? Love, family, jazz, art, golf, writing, fishing, inventing? Whatever it is, that’s you. And it’s priceless. My mentor Joseph Campbell said: “If you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss, money or not. If you follow money, you may lose it, and you will have nothing.” Listen to your passion and run with it.

9. Live in the moment
A good friend is in his sixties. When I mention retirement planning, he laughs. He talks about his next vacation. His new jet-skis. He’s survived divorces, bankruptcy, foreclosure, health problems. He has a successful business, nice house, lots of debt. Yes, he’s at risk. I couldn’t do it, but he’s happy. We all have friends like him. You can only push so far. Then you let go, love them. But learn their secret! We all live in the moment, that’s his, live yours.

10. Make a difference!
Most of us focus on our little world and our future. Millionaires dream of making the world a better place, with visions of a better tomorrow for everyone. They love helping people, and they get rich doing it. Churchill put it succinctly: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” I’ll know you have such a dream. Discover the real meaning of life by going beyond yourself, and make a difference.

Remember, success, happiness and being a millionaire … it’s all in your head. If you have the right attitude, if you know it deep inside, if are doing what you love, if you believe you can a millionaire, and live it today—then you’re already there. The money will catch up. Go for it! Now, today!

2 Responses to The “Warzoners” Club: 10 Rules for a New Life — You Don’t Need a Million to Live Happy & Retire Well
  • bostonaustin says:

    Wow, another great article. I am going to read those two books you mentioned. The Millionaire Code and Buckingham’s Now Discover Your Strengths. I just discovered your site and am REALLY enjoying your articles. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring thoughts!

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  • Paul Farrell says:

    Larry, If you read The Millionaire Code, read the hardback edition. The publisher left some of my best stuff out of the book in the paperback edition: A lot of my favorite profiles of men like Gandhi, Spielberg, Jefferson, Edison, Buffett, Drucker and other examples of the 16 Jungian personalities and their career paths are not in the paperback. Also, read about ALL 16 types, that’ll get you thinking outside-the-box about your life’s mission. Paul

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