It All Depends on When You Start

Millionaires make money

90% of the World's Millionaires Do This to Create Wealth

Share Article via Email Getty Images Unless you were born into a rich family, building wealth can be very hard — depending on the path you choose. Many people look at multi-millionaires and desperately want to know: What's their secret? How did they get there? What does it take?

What traits do millionaires have in common?

Those are the things I wanted to know back inwhen I began my "Rich Habits" study, in which I spent five years interviewing and researching the daily activities, habits and traits of wealthy individuals.

During my research, I found there are four predominant paths toward accumulating wealth.

Dana Anspach Updated June 08, Think you can't become a millionaire? You might be surprised at the various ways you can get there. But before you get too excited, if you think becoming a millionaire means fancy cars, a lavish house, and an upscale lifestyle, think again. However, a million dollars in the bank is well worth aspiring to, and it may be more achievable than you think. Here are eight ways to become a millionaire.

The "Savers-Investors" path is the easiest, while the other three millionaires make money much more risk. Not only is it the easiest way to build wealth, but if you start earlyit almost always guarantees a lot of money.

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They also had four things in common: They typically had a middle-class income many reached a six-figure salary early in their career, and if they didn't, they lived very frugally. They had a low cost of living and preferred to save, rather than spend lavishly.

Setting Yourself Up by Buying Your First Home

They started investing their savings early in life and continued to do so prudently for many years. No matter what their day job was, this group made saving and investing part of their routine; they were constantly thinking about smart ways to grow their wealth. The Savers-Investors path isn't for everyone.

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It requires enormous financial discipline and long-term commitment. The Dreamers path This is perhaps the hardest path to building wealth because it requires the pursuit of a dream, such as starting a business, becoming a successful actor, musician or author.

They're frugal.

All of them told me that pursuing their dreams was one of the most rewarding things they had done in their lives. They loved what they did for a living, and their passion showed up in their bank accounts.

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Those who want to take this path, however, must be willing to work long hours and able to handle financial stress. The Dreamers in my study millionaires make money more than 61 hours per week before finally achieving their dreams. Weekends and vacations were almost non-existent.

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Trying to make ends meet was not easy. At first, getting a steady paycheck was "nearly impossible," one Dreamer said. It was even harder for those who had families to support. To finance their dreams, some decided to put off buying a home, while others dipped into their retirement savings.

If you're risk-averse, this path may not be for you.

How To Become a Millionaire by 25

The Company Climbers path Climbers are individuals who work for a big company and devote all of their energy into climbing the corporate ladder until they land a senior executive position. In most cases, their wealth came from either stock compensation or a partnership share of profits.

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To be a Climber, you must have strong relationship-building skills. Networking and making lasting connections with powerful people in your industry is essential. Like Dreamers, however, Climbers also have long work hours.

The Pros and Cons of a Live-and-Rent Approach

The ones I interviewed all arrived at the office early and left late. Many were required to travel frequently and even had to sacrifice a lot of their vacation time. Profitability is a huge factor in determining a Climber's success.

If their company struggles financially, their time and investment there might not be rewarded to the extent they had expected.

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Virtuosos are among the best at what they do in their profession. They are paid a high premium for their knowledge and expertise, which sets them apart from the competition. Some worked in the medical field, while others worked in law. A handful either worked for large, publicly-held corporations, or they were small business owners with highly profitable enterprises.

A few simple steps can make all the difference

Of course, Virtuosos aren't necessarily born with natural millionaires make money. They must spend many years continuously studying and learning. Formal education, such as advanced degrees, is usually a requirement. This means investing an enormous amount of money and time before seeing any payoff at all.

The Best Ways to Become a Millionaire

Not everyone has the ability to devote significant hours every day practicing their skill or the financial resources to pursue advanced degrees. Like this story? Don't miss:.