Note: This article originally appeared in Emily’s Inc.com column, Own It.
While it’s probably obvious, I’ll just say it: billionaires are different than the rest of us. And, no, I’m not talking about their lavish lifestyles or, often, larger-than-life personalities. I’m talking about their relationship to investing, earning and money, in general.
The way billionaires spend, save, and think about money is a big piece of their wealth. The good news? These approaches aren’t just reserved for this upper, upper echelon. No matter where you are financially-speaking, you can easily take a page from the billionaire playbook, earning more, saving more and generating more wealth now. Will this get you to billionaire status? Maybe. But in the meantime, you’ll make smarter, more strategic financial decisions that increase your personal wealth–always a plus.
Billionaires know there’s always more
Most people have a limited–and limiting–view of money. Whether in business or in life, there never seems to be enough. We’re concerned about competition, we’re worried about our income streams drying up. The end result? We make decisions out of fear and financial preservation. While that approach might keep the average person treading financial water for years or even decades, it won’t produce wealth.
Billionaires know they can always make more money–and they aren’t alone. All of us have the capacity to make more money if we want to or need to. Think about it. You could get a new job. You could change career paths. You could sell old clothes on eBay, have a tag sale, pick up a part time job or monetize a hobby, even.
Take Sarah Davis, for instance. A few years ago, she listed old Doc Martens and Gap overalls on eBay and made a quick $240. Now her company, Fashionphile, buys and sells luxury bags and accessories, and is generating millions each year–sometimes per month. Davis wasn’t wealthy when she started her side hustle, and while she may not have hit billionaire status yet, she definitely has the mentality of one–and that has quite an impact.
But most people don’t have this mindset. If you think your paycheck is the be all, end all, it probably will be.
They understand where value really comes from
You’ve heard it over and over: money doesn’t buy happiness. But at the same time, many of us are taught that money equals value. We think the greater the price tag, the more it’s worth. The more someone makes, the more value they provide. Right?
Take it from one of the richest men in the world, Amway founder Richard DeVos, who has undergone two heart bypass surgeries in his lifetime. “Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none,” says DeVos.
So, maybe the cliche is true. Money can buy a lot, but there are some things it can’t. Often, it’s the things that fill our lives with meaning and perspective. The billionaire mindset separates money and value. This naturally de-emphasizes the role of wealth in their day-to-day, freeing them up to pursue what makes them happy, and to strive for achievements that don’t come with a price tag.
They live below their means
Billionaires recognize they have a lot right now. They also see that they can’t predict the future and need to have a solid plan in place for whatever life throws at them. Many intentionally delay gratification and live well below their means. Warren Buffett, of course, is the classic example. Notoriously frugal, Buffett has pulled the same salary for 25-plus years–just $100,000 per year. In 2006, he got married in his daughter’s backyard, versus hosting some lavish, multi-million dollar spectacle. And, probably most notably, he still lives in Omaha, in the same house he bought in 1958.
Billionaires think big picture
Steve Jobs said, “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good,” he said, “then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
It’s easy to get stuck in the routine of looking ahead to your next project, the next week, or even just your next paycheck. Those are all important to your short-term success, but if that is your primary focus, you’ll have a pretty limited mindset. If you focus on earning enough to get your bills paid and make ends meet, that’s all you’ll ever earn. If you’re only thinking far enough ahead to accommodate your current team, how will you plan for growth? If you up the ante though–and, with it, your own expectations, you’ll be that much closer to achieving them.
Call it thinking big, manifesting, or outright dreaming. Whatever you call it, there’s no denying, our minds are powerful. You may not be a billionaire yet, but you can adopt the mindset of one and focus on the big picture and the big things, and you may just find that you achieve more than you ever imagined.