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10 Ways How (Not) To Become a Millionaire & How To Avoid Them

Cover photo for 10 Ways How (Not) To Become a Millionaire

It’s not about money. Mindset is all that matters.

When I was younger, I told my best friend my first $100 online was unforgettable. And we all wondered how one million would be. So we challenged each other to become millionaires.

And even if now, five years later, we haven’t even reached 10% of the goal, we are convinced one day we will. If not for the greediness of becoming rich, we at least want to see what it feels like to become a millionaire.

Unfortunately, we might not cheer this moment together because he is about to start a new life across the globe. But I want this promise to be the link that never breaks. And although I don’t know how to reach the goal, I made enough mistakes to understand how not to.

So here is my list of 10 ways how not to become a millionaire and how to avoid them.

How (Not) To Become a Millionaire

There are many ways to make tons of money nowadays. But not everybody can do it. Although we are all using the same methods, some find success, and others keep failing.

Failure is a necessary step toward success. It is its beginning. However, if you keep collecting failures, you will give up for good. And to avoid that, you must build productive habits and a strong mindset.

You only have one way to become wealthy. And it all starts with getting results and not giving up. So here are 10 quotes that relate to 10 ways how not to become a millionaire.

1 — Not knowing how to manage money.

My philosophy is that if I have any money, I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.

‒ Richard Branson

I used to spend too much on useless products I didn’t need. And without tracking my expenses, I couldn’t know how much have I spent or if I could afford the life I was living. So at the end of the month, I was full of products and services but broke.

But things changed after I found a stable income. And in the past two years, I started budgeting and managing my money with the 50–30–20 rule. So nowadays:

  • I use half of my earnings for necessary expenses such as shopping, house maintenance, bills, and taxes.
  • limit pleasurable activities like going out with friends and buying new clothes or even unnecessary products to 20%. But I can use them as I wish, which gives me a sense of complete freedom.
  • And the remaining 30% are all investments I put in emergency funds or stocks.

With this organization, I created budgets for my monthly income, so I don’t have any money shrinkage. But for a more in-depth review of the 50–30–20 rule, you can read my article on how to grow money in three steps.


Not budgeting - Infographic for 10 Ways how not to become a millionaire
Not budgeting.

Nothing makes you lose more money than not knowing how to manage them. So budgeting your monthly income is the easiest way to grow your wealth and build good money habits.

Pick a rule like 50–30–20, and stick to it. And then split those macro capitals into highly dedicated micro-budgets.

For example, I use a $20 budget for monthly services like Spotify and Netflix. And a higher $200 budget for going out with friends.

You can budget everything from your social and private life. And by doing so, you learn how to manage your money while clearing useless expenses.

2 — Not being consistent or having poor habits.

Become a millionaire not for the million dollars, but for what it will make of you to achieve it.

‒ Jim Rohn

Being inconsistent and having poor habits may seem like two separate problems. But they are part of the same circular issue.

You have poor habits because you are inconsistent. And inconsistency is the result of faulty routines.

But how do they relate to money?

Jim Rohn suggests becoming a millionaire because of what it will make of you. That’s because most successful people follow routines that improve their lives and make them better and happier.

On the other hand, many studies proved that being sad makes you spend more. So poor habits and inconsistency will make you lose a ton of money.

Here is an example.

The first thing I did when my last relationship ended was buying a new game that could distract me from thinking about my situation. But I loathed and abandoned it after two or three days. And I never got back my money, nor my girlfriend.

Yet, when I tried meditation, my savings rapidly improved. I don’t know if it was because of meditation or my improved mindset. But meditating gave me the structure I was missing. And it helped me organize other parts of my life too.


Not being consistent - Infographic for 10 Ways how not to become a millionaire
Not being consistent.

You will always spend more when you have poor habits or skip the routines that boost your life and happiness.

To fill the emptiness in your soul, you will buy as many products as possible. But since nothing can fill that void, you will keep spending until your situation improves.

Yet, waiting for the sadness to go away is inconvenient. It doesn’t depend on you and could take months or even years. So find a way to build better habits and improve your consistency. It will benefit your life but also your finances.

3 — Not being prepared for failures or escaping them.

Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.

‒ Coco Chanel

We often invest our money in passions and hobbies we would like to accomplish. But then, at the first setback, we crumble.

Sometimes, the failure is so harsh to accept that we stop hoping. So all the money we invested until then is lost forever.

I often threw money at my passions carelessly. I would have loved to become a great musician when I was younger. So I bought a guitar, and then a piano, and hundreds of accessories I thought could make me better. Yet I failed, and I gave up. And nowadays, all that invested money is covered in dust.

But if you learn to prepare for failures and keep going even when the future looks bare, you will never lose money by investing in your hobbies. Even if they don’t directly improve your wealth, each passion has many potentials. And you can never know when which skill you may need in life.


Not being prepared for failures 
Not being prepared for failures.

Your passions will always forge your path if you choose them freely. So don’t ever give up on them.

Maybe singing seems irrelevant now if nobody notices you. And you may think it will never make you wealthier. But the network you build today with your passion could reward you in the future.

So don’t try to escape your failures because you can’t anticipate them.

4 — Not being an optimist.

The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

‒ Mark Zuckerberg

Optimists and pessimists have always described the same thing from opposite perspectives. And even if nobody knows how to become a millionaire besides millionaires, optimists have more opportunities because of their life vision.

If you are an optimist:

  • You follow healthier money and life practices because you believe in growth.
  • For the same reason, you will be more likely to apply for promotions and earn more money and social status.
  • Thanks to your positivity, you deal better with stressful situations. So you can manage highly intensive tasks that would crush your peers.
  • Also, you believe in a better future. So you are more willing to invest your money and risk more to achieve more.

On the contrary, if you are a pessimist:

  • You don’t believe in growth. So you will blame others for your conditions and never advance in life.
  • You will try to protect your wealth at all costs. Therefore, without guaranteed returns, you won’t risk your money.
  • Because of your negativity, you are more stressed than others. And when other stress sources occur, you try to escape them. So you will hardly apply for any promotions, even if they are profitable.


Not being an optimist - Infographic for 10 Ways how not to become a millionaire
Not being an optimist.

Optimism brings many more advantages to your finances than pessimism. And I am not the only one who believes it.

You can read The Financial Upside of Being an Optimist for a more in-depth analysis by Michelle Gielan. But in the meanwhile, try to become more confident and stop believing the world hates you.

5 — Not seeking delayed gratification.

If you want to change the fruits, you must first change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible. 

— T. Harv Eker

Building a million takes a lot of time, granted you haven’t won the lottery. In that case, lucky you. But for all the others, the fastest way to build a wealthy life is also the slowest.

Instant rewards mean nothing. On the contrary, they ruin your success possibilities.

Perhaps you will win a million tomorrow. But do you have the required skills to survive with it for the next five years? Or will you squander everything without ever building anything meaningful?

We all seek instant rewards. But delayed gratification is the best way to ensure wealth because you will not become a millionaire without learning to manage your finances first. And to change the visible, your money, you must change the invisible first, your mindset.


Not seeking delayed gratification 
Not seeking delayed gratification.

If you are greedy and seek instant rewards, you will fall for bidding, trading, and other short-term returns.

Even if you find something that works, it usually pairs with high-level risks that are not worth your stress. And although there are ways to make a lot of money in a short period, they all require years of work first.

So learn to wait for the results and keep working with a specific goal because you won’t achieve anything with greediness. But consistent work and dedication can build financial independence.

6 — Not balancing your expenses worries.

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.

 — Jonathan Swift

Balance is everything. And it can make the difference between success and failure.

Too much stress over your expenses will make you too conservative. So even when something might help you save money in the future, you will tend to renounce it for a comfortable present.

On the contrary, you will buy things you don’t need if you don’t track your expenses. You may invest in services and products you won’t use. And you will never save anything for the future.

Last year, I saved $10k by worrying a little more about my expenses. And with the proper plan and techniques, you can do it too.


Not balacing your expense worries - Infographic for 10 Ways how not to become a millionaire
Not balancing your expenses worries.

Balancing your expenses is not that hard. But it requires clarity.

You can save most of your expenses by tracking a threshold that divides the necessary from the unnecessary. But nobody can do it for you. Only you can know your needs and what kind of life you can afford.

7 — Not picking practice over theory.

As you start your journey, […] throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own. 

— Michael Dell

I spent most of my university years trying to learn as many things as possible with little or no practice. I used to take hundreds of classes because I was curious. And I wanted to know how to do everything.

I bought many courses on Udemy and Coursera to deepen my knowledge. But I hardly practiced. So years later, I can only do the three things I had to practice the most:

  • I know how to write because of my passion.
  • Programming is my job, so I practice it often.
  • And I know how to make 2D/3D graphics because of my studies.

But I don’t know how to play the guitar anymore, I am rusty at making video games, and I forgot how to set my camera to take good photos. And all because of lack of practice.

If you obsess over learning without ever practicing, you will freeze in a never-ending theory cycle. Your mind will wander with curiosity over many concepts, but your body won’t be able to master any of them. And the problem will affect your finances.

Investing in your studies is essential. But you must practice the skills you are learning and make them profitable. Otherwise, your investments will always go negative.


Not picking practice over theory 
Not picking practice over theory.

Learning new skills is essential. But practicing what you have learned is much better. And there are at least five reasons why practice is still the best way to memorize new concepts:

  • It helps you give structure to what you have learned in theory.
  • It makes you internalize the lessons.
  • It requires and forces you to become disciplined.
  • Research shows that practice changes the brain giving it structure and enhanced plasticity.
  • It makes you realize what you learned and what you still need to review.

So stop spending your money on online courses and plan your education better:

  • Follow the whole class first so you can know what it offers.
  • Then, resume one concept at a time and practice it.

8 — Not believing in yourself.

I believe people have to follow their dreams. I did.

‒ Larry Ellison

Being a pessimist is one of the 10 ways you will not become a millionaire. But optimism alone is not enough. You also need a great deal of self-love and belief.

Nowadays, most people complain about the role of luck in everything that doesn’t go their way. So if they fail at anything, it is only a matter of bad luck. While if they succeeded, it was good luck instead.

Yet the more power you give to luck, the less you will have to change things yourself. So if you keep losing control over your life, you will have none. And you will live a life with no purpose, commitments, or goals.


Not believing in yourself - Infographic for 10 Ways how not to become a millionaire
Not believing in yourself.

Every millionaire has a purpose that drives their actions. And once they set a goal, they will direct all their resources in one direction until they succeed or fail.

Fortunately, everyone has that power. But if you keep giving it up, your goals will blur out. Your driving power will vanish. And instead of using money to improve your life, you will end up chasing them.

So stop giving your power to external factors like luck or destiny and take responsibility. Believe in yourself and your goals because they will always teach you something, whether they succeed or fail.

9 — Not taking responsibility.

We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.

‒ Earl Nightingale

As anticipated, not taking responsibility is one of the 10 factors that will not make you become a millionaire.

Successful people take responsibility for their failures and honor their successes. And you can’t choose to ignore the first and only consider the second. Half responsibility doesn’t exist — you take the risk or don’t.


Not taking responsibility
Not taking responsibility.

When you take responsibility, you empower your goals with a stronger drive than simple greed. Your objectives become your life because you embody them. And everyone will know whether you are taking them seriously or fooling around.

Responsibility forces you to take things seriously even when you are weak and tired and would like to sleep instead of working on your goals. But you gave your word to everyone, so you need to keep fighting. And that’s how you can reach your goals and improve your wealth.

10 — Not living out of your head.

I had no dreams of such economic success. You should have fun and not be so weighed down by expectations.

‒ Sergey Brin

We spend an incredible amount of time in our heads. It made us evolve, succeed, and become one of the most intelligent animals on the planet.

Yet being trapped into thinking and problem-solving took away our instincts and pleasures. And we stopped living experiences, for example. Instead, we think about traveling and experiencing the world for months. And then, when we are there, we take photos to watch later. But by doing so, we never relax. We never take time to restore. And all the accumulated stress makes us commit errors we could have prevented otherwise.


Not living out of your head - Infographic for 10 Ways how not to become a millionaire
Not living out of your head.

If you spend too much time in your head, the stress you experience will become too much to handle. And even the simplest tasks will be painful. So stop living in your head and explore the outside world.

When you decide to take a break, take it for real.

Don’t make it an excuse to keep thinking, reasoning, and elaborating. Put your brain on standby and enjoy your life for once. Your mental health will benefit from it — and your pockets too.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps I will never see my friend again now that he is leaving. And I might never win the challenge we had so much fun building.

I may never become a millionaire. But even if I fail, at least this challenge will force me to become better at using my money and growing my wealth.

Perhaps, we will meet again someday after a life full of surprises, successes, and unexpected losses. And maybe none of us will have succeeded. But I know we would have challenged ourselves until the end without giving up. And that’s the mindset I want to meet him with again.

These 10 ways will keep you away from becoming a millionaire whatever you do. There might be more, but those are for sure worth mentioning. So avoid them at any cost.

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Cover photo for 10 Ways How (Not) to Become a Millionaire by Derek Owens on Unsplash.