How you can achieve a high net worth

So you want to be a high net worth individual? "High net worth individual" is the newest, arguably more discreet, definitely wordier term for millionaire. If you have financial assets worth more than $1 million, consider yourself in the high net worth club.

If you're not quite in the high net worth club yet, you may be surprised by what it takes to get there. To achieve high net worth, you don't have to be born rich, win the lottery or sell your soul on reality TV. An overwhelming number of high net worth individuals have one surprisingly simple thing in common: They live way below their means. Basically, the secret to achieving a high net worth is more common sense than it is secret -- you have to make more than you spend and invest the difference.

That often means living in a smaller house, driving an older car and living a more frugal life than you would expect from a high net worth individual. So don't equate high net worth with buying bling, keeping up with the Joneses or displaying status symbols.

High net worth is a family affair -- if the spouse of a high net worth individual is a big spender, it's hard to maintain a high net worth. And kids of high net worth individuals are often taught to be just as frugal, not to mention independent. High net worth parents don't toss money at their kids -- they teach their kids how to succeed without handouts and also save more of their high net worth for themselves.

And banish those thoughts of lounging with other high net worth individuals. Hard work is a key to achieving a high net worth. You need to consider managing your money your full-time job and make building a high net worth your mission statement.

That means spending much more time than the average person on making financial plans, budgeting and setting and meeting high net worth goals. High net worth individuals know exactly where every dollar is and where it's going.

Also, high net worth individuals have a knack for spotting opportunities and an instinct to act on them. To achieve high net worth, you have to be able to overcome fears of risk or failure, and to act quickly on prime market opportunities to build your net worth. (Conversely, high net worth individuals are more willing to admit when they're wrong and cut their losses before real damage is done.)

However, don't assume high net worth individuals are all full-time investors or entrepreneurs. Many people with high net worth are employees who love what they're doing and are diligent and innovative within their jobs. If you can find a career that pays well, live below your means and invest wisely, you can absolutely achieve high net worth. It's not so much about how much you make as how you can turn what you make into that high net worth you seek.
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