Get rich by living like a billionaire

Most consumers who want to get rich have it all wrong. They often have a "fake it till you make it" attitude, and spend as if they were already rich. Fancy cars, expensive handbags, sparkling jewelry, and high-end apartments and condos are the name of the game.

But do you really think billionaires got where they are because they spent faster than they earned? Of course not. Forget about those who were born into luxury. They don't count. Consider instead the rich men and women who got their wealth all on their own. Those who started from scratch and built business empires that have brought them enormous wealth. How did they do it?

Many of them did it by living frugally. That's right... some billionaires have gotten to where they are partly by living lean. We're talking about men and women who shop at ordinary department stores, cut their own hair, and save on gas by biking to work.Probably one of the most notable frugal billionaires is Warren Buffett, who lives in a home that cost him $31,500 back in the 1950s. Another billionaire living relatively lean is Jim Walton, an heir to Sam Walton's Wal-Mart fortune.

That's not to say these billionaires don't have expensive toys. They do. But the key is moderation and not buying those indulgences before you can truly afford them.

So take some advice from those who are where you want to be -- living lean is a great practice that can add to your long-term fortune.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.
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