Finance Experts Share 10 Secrets of a Millionaire Mindset

    Forget get-rich-quick schemes and concentrate on building wealth slowly and steadily. Financial experts Ross Mac and Xavier Miller advise that being disciplined and deliberate is the best way to grow your money—and they know something about that.

    Wharton business school graduate Mac cut his financial teeth on Wall Street before leaving to launch his Maconomics program to help Black communities climb the financial ladder by demystifying economics through courses and even music videos. He was a featured money expert in the popular Netflix documentary Get Smart With Money.

    Miller realized he had a lot to learn about money when it took him less than 60 seconds to complete his will while serving in the Army (“It means you’ve got nothing”). Studying finance, real estate and investing, he went on to build a seven-figure business and present the top-rated Millionaire Mindset business podcast with co-host Deanna Kent.

    The two men teamed up at the 2023 WayMaker Men’s Summit in their Chicago hometown to share some of their wisdom. Here are some of the highlights:

    Decide to change 

    You won’t get rich until, like he did, you get tired of being broke, says Miller. Then you’ll be prepared to do whatever it takes—and that starts with getting a job. “I know that’s not the popular thing to say, but there are no overnight secrets.” Learn new skills and then look for side hustles, he recommends—find a space in the market that’s not too competitive or an area where you have some natural abilities you can develop.

    At the end of the day, everything starts with a budget.


    Make a budget 

    Budgeting is “the least sexy thing in the world,” but it’s the essential foundation, says Mac—you simply have to know what’s coming in and where it’s going. It doesn’t have to mean being miserly. “There’s nothing wrong with going to the club popping bottles,” he says—as long as you know it’s in your budget. “It’s a fine line,” he says. “You don’t have to spend $1,000 on some shoes. You can spend $100 on some nice shoes… if you want to try to dress nice, maybe you don’t need to dine out as much, you need to cook more, but at the end of the day, everything starts with a budget.” Adds Miller, “People think, ‘I just need more money,’ but you’re going to have the same problems if you don’t fix [your budget]… you’re still going to be living paycheck to paycheck.”

    Break it down 

    Manage your after-tax, take-home money with the 50-30-20 rule, advises Mac. Half of that total amount goes to your essentials—rent, mortgage, car loan, grocery bills, insurance, utilities, etc. “Things you need to survive.” The next 30% should go toward your wants: “If you want to hit your louds, you can.” The last 20% should be directed to saving, paying down debt and investing. You never know what can happen, so always plan for the worst. If you’re in survival mode, you are likely to make bad decisions, Mac observes—get into debt, take cash advances. Have three to six months’ worth of living expenses stashed away, adds Miller.

    RELATED: Black Wealth Matter

    Don’t just save 

    Many people say they don’t want to invest in the stock market because they don’t want to lose their money, but you’re actually losing money by not investing, says Mac. That’s because of inflation. “Every year, every good in this world costs a little more. On average, it’s 3%… if I have $100 a year, it’s going to be only worth $97 the next year. You’ve got to invest at a bare minimum to outpace inflation.”

    Get life insurance 

    If you’re a parent, you must plan how to care for your kids shuld something happen to you. “We all are going to pass away at some point, and I think it’s selfish not to think about [how] for three drinks in the club, you can leave your kids a million dollars,” says Mac. He tells of causing a stir in one of his videos when he said the easiest way to lower crime in Black communities would be for everybody to get life insurance. Because if, when people died, it was known they had a $500,000 life insurance policy, “wow, the powers that be are going to want to start putting preventative measures in place, not just talk about it. Now it’s real because it’s an actual monetary value to a Black man’s life.”

    Transfer money wisdom 

    Don’t just pass on money to your children—teach them how to manage it well. Mac quotes the saying, “From shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves within [three generations],” meaning that most billionaire families lose their wealth within that time span because those who inherit wealth don’t know how to handle it. “We could give them all the money in the world, but if they’ve got bad habits, and they don’t have the right info, they’re going to blow it.”

    Read the room 

    Recognize that the financial world has its own rules, and you need to play by them, says Mac. When he first arrived on Wall Street from the South Side of Chicago, he talked, walked and dressed differently from everyone else. “So, I would walk in the rooms a little too swagged out, which would come off as cocky.” He “learned how to play the game” because “when you’re in a field where perception is reality and someone else can determine your success, you’ve got to play the game.”

    Dress for success 

    If you’re in the building wealth stage, you need to treat your appearance as a competitive advantage. That doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune, but it does mean paying attention to how you present to others, says Miller. “When I tell people about the importance of dressing nice, they always say something like, ‘Well, this billionaire’s got joggers on.’ I’m like, ‘He’s a billionaire; you’re broke.’ You can’t afford to dress like that at that stage.”

    You might have to get played once or twice.


    Expect a hit 

    Not everyone in the financial world is to be trusted, and it takes experience to be able to recognize when someone is on the up and up. “You might have to get played once or twice,” says Miller, who admits it happened to him a couple of times in his early days, “but the key is you want to make sure it’s not at a big scale. It’s not at a huge scale where it really destroys you… It sucks, but I think you’ve got to go through it first to really see, ‘OK, now I know what it is.’”

    Keep it quiet 

    Most people go through three stages when they start making money, says Miller. First, they want everyone to know that they’re doing well, especially if they have come from hard times: “Everybody’s got to know I have the bag now.” But, after a while, you don’t really care if people know. And the final stage is when you actually don’t want people to know you’ve got money. “That’s where you keep your money because people don’t know you’ve got a bag, so they’re not asking,” he says. “And then you’re not going out spending unnecessarily trying to show people that you’ve got it.”

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