The first million is always the hardest

When did you make your first million? For some of you, you probably hit your goal much sooner than I did. For others, you may still be working towards that target. Of course, a million pesos nowadays, while it already puts you in the top percentile of the population, is not much really, given the purchasing power of the peso.

But it is an exciting milestone to reach. If you’re a fresh grad, or already having your mid-quarter crisis, it’s a thrilling yet reasonably attainable target. On other hand, if you’re having a mid-life crisis and your net worth is nowhere near the million mark, don’t lose hope.

The first million may be the hardest, but once you achieve that—and you continue the right attitude and habits that helped you do that, and then some—your next millions will come more easily.

While MoneySense is certainly not preoccupied solely on the earning part of the personal finance equation, we were admittedly looking forward to this issue. After all, doesn’t “Millionaires’ Secrets” get your heart beat running faster than, say, “Cut Your Taxes?”

Before you jump to page 42 for the cover story, let me just debunk a few myths:

Myth #1: You need to earn a million to be a millionaire. We define “millionaire” in the context of net worth, not income. I’m sure you would agree that you can earn a million pesos a year, yet have nothing or little to show for it, except maybe sleek clothes and fancy cars. On the other hand, you may be earning half of that but your assets outweigh your liabilities by a million bucks. You know what they say: it’s not how much earn, it’s how much you keep. So it is definitely possible to be a millionaire without a seven-figure income. But as I like to quickly add, of course earning a million or so doesn’t hurt at all.  The seven millionaires we profiled make millions and are worth millions.

Myth #2: The only way to get rich is [fill in the blank]. I am always wary when someone says or writes that the only or best way to become a millionaire is through real estate, or network marketing, or becoming a doctor, or going up the corporate ladder. There is no one best way. That’s the reason why we decided to feature seven different kinds of multi-millionaires. They became rich in their own way. And one way is not necessarily better than another. I understand the inherent tax advantages of having a business, the use of leverage in real estate, or the power of networks in multi-level marketing. But not everyone is fit to be an entrepreneur, real estate investor, or networker. In the same manner, not everyone will succeed in the corporate life, the practice of a specialized profession, or for that matter show business. Those who become rich are those who pursue the path that is right for them: they love what they do, are good at what they do, and do what earns them a lot of moolah.

Myth #3: All it takes is hard work. One clear instruction I gave the writers tasked to interview these millionaires is to make sure they don’t get a generic “secret” like “hard work.” Hard work? A lot of people work their butts of day and day out for decades and they’re not millionaires. I don’t mean to belittle hard work, because these millionaires certainly worked hard for their money. But hard work is not enough. These millionaires have certain common denominators, which we summarized in the introduction to the cover story. Definitely attitude played a major part, but certain skills and techniques hastened their progress. 

Will these secrets turn you into a millionaire? I believe that if you apply and follow them persistently, they will. It might take some of you faster, others longer. No one said it was easy.

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