Are You A “Pre-Millionaire”?

By Russell Riendeau, PhD and Jeannette Seibly

If you have no interest in becoming a millionaire, you can stop reading now. Continuing to read will make you uncomfortable. This is for business owners, executives, entrepreneurs and all people that want to influence change and secure a more vibrant financial life.

Have you been thinking about money lately? Do you talk about this topic with friends or family? How old are you? When were you planning to start preparing to become a millionaire? Do you have plans in place? Is your work and other life desires in alignment with who you are?

To qualify as a millionaire, means you have a net worth of at least a million dollars. Add up all the cash on hand, 401(K), Swiss bank accounts, mattress money, value of paid off cars, boats, planes, Harleys, big toys, equity in your home, resort property, cash value life insurance—the whole enchilada. Now, minus all your mortgages, car payments, credit card debit, school loans, loans to your brother-in-law, loans from your parents, bookies, timeshares at Disney, etc. If you are in the black by a million dollars—welcome to the Millionaires Club!

Every year, there are more millionaires being created than ever before. And not from inherited, “old money” or “East Coast Money” but money from smart work, patient investing, and pursuit of work that aligns with their real skills and goals in life. “Pursuit of a worthy goal,” Earl Nightingale once said, “was the most critical part of setting life goals.” You can dream or pursue a big goal, but if it’s not a worthy goal, if it doesn’t get you excited each day, the efforts required to support this financial objective will leave you exhausted.

Research shows:

  • Pre-millionaires are the kind of professionals that are aware of how to leverage money, how to protect themselves against excess debt for too long of a period of time. They learn and practice this art at age 19 and keep learning. (Remember, it’s never too late to get started, if the time is now!)
  • Pre-millionaires work smart, then hard. Simply working hard is not going to cut it today. We all know hard workers with no money in the bank. The smart ones hire coaches for themselves and don’t rely upon their employers to get ahead.
  • Pre-millionaires study and understand “delayed gratification” and why the pursuit of a goal carries simple and complex sacrifices that some people are not courageous or confident enough to stay true to. They have guts to do the right things now.
  • Pre-millionaires are fully aware of what kind of person they can and will become by devoting themselves to a worthy goal. These goals often include helping and supporting a worthy cause that is of service to others.
  • Pre-millionaires understand the time-value of money, compound averaging and disciplined savings. They understand it takes time for money to expand and for skills and patience to be learned. It can take 10, 20, 40 years to become a millionaire. It all depends on their work ethic, honesty with themselves, ability to be coach-able and the willingness to do it now.

What does a million of dollars of net worth create for you? A freedom to pursue other life interests, build a business, launch a special project, or simply become a beach bum – along with leverage, confidence and time to consider other life options. Money in the bank gives you choices that others don’t have. It takes courage to save money in a world that seduces you to spend, spend, and spend more than you have.

As you move forward in your career, in your business, in your on-going personal and professional development, here are a few things to constantly keep in mind if you want to accelerate yourself from Pre to Post-Millionaire status:

What’s your net worth today? Be honest with yourself and your analysis of your equity and savings to give you an accurate starting point.

  1. What day will you become a millionaire? Given your current income levels and your net worth, how many years will it take? Do the math now on your phone. Don’t despair if you’re over 45, you will simply need to accelerate the effort.
  2. What is your reason to become a millionaire? Do you have specific, worthy goals and motives to work smart and hard to achieve this status? Or, is it an inner desire and dream to live the “good life?”
  3. What will the money provide you? What will you do with the money? Are these in alignment with your inner values? If not, the conflict will win.
  4. What steps are required in your life starting now? Education? Self-awareness? Better job? Better vocabulary? Do you need to associate yourself with a different crowd of professionals you can learn from?
  5. Is your close circle of friends helping or hindering your goals of achieving wealth? Do they mock or ridicule you for setting high goals? Do they support you during failures as well as successes?
  6. Is your spouse or significant other in accord with your goals? If not, there will be trouble from day one.
  7. What skills will you need to acquire to earn the money you need to become a millionaire? What are the common traits you see in other wealthy people you know that you can emulate and transform to support you? Mimicking others will not get you ahead without clarity of who you are.
  8. What will you do if you don’t achieve your millionaire status in the time frame you set for yourself?
  9. What structures have you setup for yourself? Discipline is key. So is setting goals, saving money and learning how to be resourceful to get what you need and want.

To best utilize this article, write out your answers to every question in this piece. (Studies have shown that writing engages the brain, which engages the rest of you!) Make a copy and keep it where you will see it every day. If you do this, you will be in the top 1% of people who will commit to achieving their goals. Very likely, your first million dollars! Without a written goal and a good reason, you will be tempted and your energy will become scattered chasing shiny distractions that promise value, but don’t deliver on their promise.

About the authors:

Dr. Russ Riendeau is senior partner of East Wing Group, Inc. – a search firm specializing in management, marketing and sales executives. He’s a psychologist and author of 7 books on talent management and success in business. Dr. Riendeau has also taught at Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies and speaks nationally on peak performance. He can be reached at 847-381-0977 or

Jeannette Seibly has been an international business and executive coach for over 20 years, and is a published author. She has guided the creation of three millionaires. Are you the next one? She can be reached at to talk about what it will take for you to become a successful business owner, executive or entrepreneur.

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