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Financial success comes from working harder

Last week, I wrote about how to become a millionaire by 35 and I featured an interview with Frugal Trader, the man behind the popular blog Million Dollar Journey. He’s a real person on a quest to becoming a millionaire in his 30’s. If you did not read this article, you have to because his thoughts are golden. He did not inherit millions, he is not doing it by winning the lottery or heading to the casino. Instead he is doing it the simple, old fashioned way.
This article was very popular and you will see from the comments, Million Dollar Journey is a very credible and well respected personal finance blog in Canada. As a result, I was a little surprised when I got am email from a reader who said “I don’t want to hear about people who want to do it. Anyone can say they are going to do it. I want to learn from people who have already done it.” Despite the sharp tone of his email, there is some merit in his comment. I thought I would respond to his email through this post.

After being in the financial industry for the past 20 years, I have met a lot of millionaires in my career and being the sponge that I am, I have learned from so many of them. And as a result, I have preached what I have learned but I have also practised what I preach and as a result, I have reached some great financial success myself.

What was the key to my financial success?

Being the father of 4 boys, I think a lot about what to teach them to help them find more financial success in life. One thing I tell my boys all the time is it’s all about working hard and trying your best.
Everything I have in life today came from working hard. It’s very common to hear people preach the merits of working SMARTER and not HARDER. As much as I can appreciate the merits of that message when it comes to time management and productivity, I think we have put too much emphasis on that message and it’s created an excuse to be lazy. I always tell people that building wealth is simple, not easy and if you want to build it faster, you have to work harder at it. I believe in this day and age if you are serious about getting ahead and if you want to get serious about accumulating wealth at any age, you have to work SMARTER and HARDER. That’s what my dad taught me and what I will continue to teach my kids.
You see, I can appreciate Frugal Trader’s practical strategies for financial success:

  • make more than you spend,
  • make good use of your cash,
  • know your financial situation,
  • set goals and take baby steps.

As much as these are prudent strategies and great advice, I’m willing to bet you knew this information already. Knowledge is one thing but taking it the next step and putting ideas to work is really the key. Implementing ideas is where working smarter and harder comes into play.
The key to success lies in your belief, your commitment, your actions, your effort, your discipline, etc! That’s the stuff that’s hard.

So what’s the main reason people can’t or won’t become millionaires?

I think wealth is achievable for anyone and everyone and while circumstances may play a role in attaining wealth, most people can do it by developing good financial habits. Maybe the problem is they don’t want it bad enough or they are not willing to work hard enough. Maybe they can’t stay disciplined or they are not committed to changing their financial habits. Maybe the problem is that simple.
Any other millionaires want to weigh in and share their thoughts? What does it really take to become a millionaire?


  1. Sustainable PF

    Did your reader not catch that FT is pretty darn close to reaching his goal? IIRC he is debt free and about 2/3rds of the way to his goal. All earnings (and savings) go toward reaching the goal.

    • Jim Yih

      Thanks SPF,
      As you and others know I have a lot of respect for FT but his point is there are a lot of people out there that talk about how they want to do it but ultimate credibility comes when you accomplish it. I have no doubt that FT will be there!

  2. Krantcents

    Millionaire status is meaningless! I achieved that when I was 38 years old! Did I work harder? I did things I enjoyed, it did not feel like work. Were there difficulties? Absolutely! There were ups and downs, late nights, problem tenants, difficultties in business and a lot of things that would stop even superman. I got through it with discipline, persistence, tenacity and determination. 26 years later, I am nearing my second retirement. I have been able to do all the things I ever wanted to do. I still have many more goals though. I have been teaching for the laat 10 years and love it. Financial freedom allows me to do the things I enjoy.

    • Jim Yih

      Congrats on your success. I agree that how you define wealth is personal and many people will have different opinions on what number that might be. I’ve often preach that if you can find work you love then it’s not work. In my travels not everyone has that luxury so I think people need to know the pursuit of wealth requires effort. You can never go wrong with have work ethic!

  3. Barb Friedberg

    Jim, I applaud your accomplishment and agree with your premises. Keep it simple and maintain modest spending and excessive saving habits and wealth is achievable.

    • Jim Yih

      Thanks Barb!
      There really is something to be said about keeping it simple.

  4. My Own Advisor

    FT is well on his way. I can’t wait to see his goal reached in a few more years!

  5. Richard Brown

    I notice not all millionaires are the same when it comes to how they made their money, but you’ll notice that most of them have very similar work ethics and also pursue a lot of knowledge/self education.

  6. Novelia

    Cool. Your weblog seems to be excellent, and I’m glad i’ve located a thing listed here well worth including to my favorites.

  7. Flat Stomach Exercises

    I don’t want to hear about people who want to do it. Anyone can say they are going to do it. I want to learn from people who have already done it.

  8. Feeling Blogger

    this is true, you need to work hard just to make your financial needs even.

  9. Constant Voltage Led Driver

    This is true, to become a millionaire in 30’s. He/she should do work harder and harder in the life.

  10. marine hoist crane

    Yes you are right. we should work hard.

  11. Theresa

    Think big and you are a millionaire in your own right. I follow that mantra, though I am not a millionaire yet but it does help me to have a goal, work hard towards achieving it and meet my financial needed.

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