"On average, millionaires invest 20% of their household income each year. Their wealth isn't measured by the amount they make each year, but by how they've saved and invested over time," writes Ramit Sethi in his New York Times bestseller "I Will Teach You to Be Rich."
The more you can set aside, the better, but even a little bit can go a long way, thanks to compound interest. An easy way to dip your toe into the investing pool is to start saving for retirement using accounts where your money is invested, like a 401(k) or IRA.
"It's not that there aren't world-class performers who punch a time clock for a paycheck, but for most this is the slowest path to prosperity, promoted as the safest," Siebold says. "The great ones know self-employment is the fastest road to wealth."
While the world class continue starting businesses and building fortunes, "the masses almost guarantee themselves a life of financial mediocrity by staying in a job with a modest salary and yearly pay raises," Siebold explains.
You buy things you can't afford
If you live above your means, you won't get rich.
Even if you start earning more or get a hefty raise, don't use that as justification to give yourself a lifestyle raise.
"I didn't buy my first luxury watch or car until my businesses and investments were producing multiple secure flows of income," writes self-made millionaire Grant Cardone at Entrepreneur. "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."
Too many people make the mistake of chasing someone else's dream — such as their parents' — explains Thomas C. Corley, who spent five years researching self-made millionaires.
"When you pursue someone else's dreams or goals, you may eventually become unhappy with your chosen profession," he writes in "Change Your Habits, Change Your Life." "Your performance and compensation will reflect it. You will eke out a living, struggling financially. You simply won't have the passion that is necessary for success to happen."
You rarely step outside of your comfort zone
If you want to build wealth, be successful, or get ahead in life, you're going to have to get used to uncertainty or discomfort.
"Physical, psychological, and emotional comfort is the primary goal of the middle class mindset," Siebold writes. "World class thinkers learn early on that becoming a millionaire isn't easy and the need for comfort can be devastating. They learn to be comfortable while operating in a state of ongoing uncertainty."
You don't have goals for your money
Money won't just appear — you have to work at it. If you want to eventually build wealth, you have to have a clear and specific goal in place before forming a financial plan to achieve that goal.
Rich people choose to commit to attaining wealth. It takes focus, courage, knowledge, and a lot of effort — but it's possible if you have precise goals and a clear vision, emphasizes self-made millionaire T. Harv Eker, "The number one reason most people don't get what they want is that they don't know what they want. Rich people are totally clear that they want wealth."
"What most people do when they earn a dollar is pay everyone else first," self-made millionaire David Bach writes in "The Automatic Millionaire." "They pay the landlord, the credit card company, the telephone company, the government, and on and on."
"The average person believes being rich is a privilege awarded only to lucky people," Siebold writes. "The truth is, in a capitalist country, you have every right to be rich if you're willing to create massive value for others."