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The “unimpressive” types

Ramsey says right off the bat that those who look like they have money more often than not actually have it. The authentically wealthy often don’t wear name-brand clothes, drive flashy cars, or post Instagram photo dumps of their latest beach vacation. They are frequently understated, he suggests, unassuming and maybe even a bit unimpressive.

Outward displays of wealth likely wouldn’t factor into Ramsey’s wealth measurement. Ramsey concedes the wealth of those even in that first layer is likely “vastly understated.”

“People that achieve that layer of wealth, that $1 to $10 million dollars, the way they did it is, they didn’t do it for you. They’re not mad at you, but they don’t care what you think. They were not living their life to impress others.”

To sum it up: There’s a good chance that if you look like you have it, you don’t have it.

So, how do you get it? First, consider the big picture of what you want in life and what your goals are. Then, get small.

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Think big

Ramsey says secret millionaires live the life they want. When you live life for you and not for others, you make vastly different financial decisions.

He notes that once you get far above that first layer and into the $100 million to $200 million range, people do make what others would consider flashy purchases. Ramsey himself admits to buying his wife a $5,000 purse, though he says no one really should be making those kinds of buys. But at that level, it’s all about perspective: $5,000, he says, is like “you buying a biscuit.”

Ramsey’s experience with financial frugality has given him the eyes to spot the secret millionaire, to know that the guy who walked by him in the cleaning aisle in jeans and a button-up is living with millions: “I can spot ‘em now.”

Diversification and delayed gratification

One thing Ramsey points out about these successful people is their penchant for delayed gratification. Secret millionaires focus on a sustainable future, working patiently toward their goals while maintaining a low profile. They tend to avoid short-sighted quick wins or get-rich-fast schemes.

Berkshire billionaire Warren Buffett is known for his frugal habits and his ability to resist splurge purchases and make investing decisions based on long-term outcomes is a cornerstone of his success.

Long-term wealth also likely depends on portfolio diversity, including finding ways to spread investments across tax-advantaged 401(k) accounts, Roth IRAs and real estate.

Start small

Ramsey advocates living below your means as it’s one of the surest ways to secure your finances and invest for the future.

Here are some easy ways to make your money go further or build a nest egg over time, regardless of where you might fall on Ramsey’s wealth scale.

  • Microinvesting: There are investing apps that can help introduce savers to the markets by using roundups or microinvesting strategies to build wealth a little bit at a time. These apps can automatically round up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the spare change. Over time, these small amounts accumulate and leverage the power of compound interest.

  • Automated savings: Set up an automatic transfer to your savings account or emergency fund each month. Even a modest amount like $20 can lead to substantial savings over time.

  • High-yield savings accounts: Plenty of online banks are offering savings accounts with 4.5% – or higher – APYs, producing significantly more earnings than standard accounts.

  • Cut unused subscriptions: Review and eliminate unnecessary streaming or other subscriptions that lead to unseen drains on your monthly resources. Consider reallocating those funds into paying down high-interest debt that could be eating away at your monthly budget.

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Chris Clark Freelance Contributor

Chris Clark is freelance contributor with MoneyWise, based in Kansas City, Mo. He has written for numerous publications and spent 18 years as a reporter and editor with The Associated Press.

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