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Not Skimping on Lattes

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Think the wealthy are all smart, friendly, spendthrift, spoiled and privileged? You might be surprised by the real forces behind their success.

Here's secret #3:

"But I didn't get rich by skimping on lattes."

So how do you join the millionaires club? You could buy stocks or real estate, play the slots in Vegas or take the most common path: running your own business. That's how half of all millionaires made their money, according to the AmEx-Harrison survey. About a third had a professional practice or worked in the corporate world, and only 3% inherited their wealth.

Regardless of how they build their nest eggs, virtually all millionaires "make judicious use of debt," says Russ Alan Prince, a co-author of "The Middle-Class Millionaire."

They'll take out loans to build their business, avoid high-interest credit card debt and leverage their home equity to finance purchases if their cash flow doesn't cut it. Nor is their wealth tied up in their homes. Home equity represents just 11% of millionaires' total assets, according to TNS.

"People who are serious about building wealth always want to have a mortgage," says Jim Bell, the president of Bell Investment Advisors. His home is probably worth $1.5 million, he adds, but he owes $900,000 on it. "I'm in no hurry to pay it off," he says. "It's one of the few tax deductions I get."

Source: Smart Money


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