Getting rich and becoming a millionaire is a taboo topic. Saying it can be done by the age of 30 seems like a fantasy.
It shouldn’t be taboo and it is possible. At the age of 21, I got out of college, broke and in debt, and by the time I was 30, I was a millionaire.
Here are the 10 steps that will guarantee you will become a millionaire by 30.
1. Follow the money. In today’s economic environment you cannot save your way to millionaire status. The first step is to focus on increasing your income in increments and repeating that. My income was $3,000 a month and nine years later it was $20,000 a month. Start following the money and it will force you to control revenue and see opportunities.
2. Don’t show off -- show up! I didn’t buy my first luxury watch or car until my businesses and investments were producing multiple secure flows of income. I was still driving a Toyota Camry when I had become a millionaire. Be known for your work ethic, not the trinkets that you buy.
3. Save to invest, don’t save to save. The only reason to save money is to invest it. Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts. Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency. This will force you to continue to follow step one (increase income). To this day, at least twice a year, I am broke because I always invest my surpluses into ventures I cannot access.
4. Avoid debt that doesn’t pay you. Make it a rule that you never use debt that won’t make you money. I borrowed money for a car only because I knew it could increase my income. Rich people use debt to leverage investments and grow cash flows. Poor people use debt to buy things that make rich people richer.
5. Treat money like a jealous lover. Millions wish for financial freedom, but only those that make it a priority have millions. To get rich and stay rich you will have to make it a priority. Money is like a jealous lover. Ignore it and it will ignore you, or worse, it will leave you for someone who makes it a priority.
6. Money doesn’t sleep. Money doesn’t know about clocks, schedules or holidays, and you shouldn’t either. Money loves people that have a great work ethic. When I was 26 years old, I was in retail and the store I worked at closed at 7 p.m. Most times you could find me there at 11 p.m. making an extra sale. Never try to be the smartest or luckiest person -- just make sure you outwork everyone.
7. Poor makes no sense. I have been poor, and it sucks. I have had just enough and that sucks almost as bad. Eliminate any and all ideas that being poor is somehow OK. Bill Gates has said, "If you’re born poor, it’s not your mistake. But if you die poor, it is your mistake."
8. Get a millionaire mentor. Most of us were brought up middle class or poor and then hold ourselves to the limits and ideas of that group. I have been studying millionaires to duplicate what they did. Get your own personal millionaire mentor and study them. Most rich people are extremely generous with their knowledge and their resources.
9. Get your money to do the heavy lifting. Investing is the Holy Grail in becoming a millionaire and you should make more money off your investments than your work. If you don’t have surplus money you won’t make investments. The second company I started required a $50,000 investment. That company has paid me back that $50,000 every month for the last 10 years. My third investment was in real estate, where I started with $350,000, a large part of my net worth at the time. I still own that property today and it continues to provide me with income. Investing is the only reason to do the other steps, and your money must work for you and do your heavy lifting.
10. Shoot for $10 million, not $1 million. The single biggest financial mistake I’ve made was not thinking big enough. I encourage you to go for more than a million. There is no shortage of money on this planet, only a shortage of people thinking big enough.
Apply these 10 steps and they will make you rich. Steer clear of people that suggest your financial dreams are born of greed. Avoid get-rich-quick schemes, be ethical, never give up, and once you make it, be willing to help others get there too.
This post originally appeared at Entrepreneur. Copyright 2014.
Grant Cardone is an international sales expert, New York Times best-selling author, and radio show host of The Cardone Zone. He has founded three companies: Cardone Enterprises, Cardone Real Estate Holdings, and theCardone Group. He has shared his sales and business expertise as a motivational speaker and author of five books: Sell to Survive; The Closers Survival Guide; If You're Not First, You're Last; The 10X Rule; and Sell or Be Sold.