13 ways to guarantee you won't become a millionaire

We’ve cued you in on steps to take to get rich — but which choices will stunt your path to wealth?

Here, we rounded up habits, beliefs, and traits that self-made millionaires and authors have identified as inhibiting if you want to build wealth.

As always, no guarantees of future riches, but steering clear of these 13 things can’t hurt:

Buying things you can't afford


Living above your means is a surefire road to financial stress -- and 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.'

Thinking you don't deserve to be rich


'The average person believes being rich is a privilege awarded only to lucky people,' self-made millionaire Steve Siebold writes at Business Insider. 'The truth is, in a capitalist country, you have every right to be rich if you're willing to create massive value for others.'

Start asking yourself, 'Why not me?' he encourages. Next, start thinking big. Rich people set their expectations high. Why not $1 million?

Relying on one stream of income

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'Self-made millionaires do not rely on one singular source of income,' Thomas C. Corley, who spent five years studying rich people, writes in 'Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.'

'They develop multiple streams. Three seemed to be the magic number in my study ... Sixty-five per cent had at least three streams of income that they created prior to making their first million dollars.'

Examples of these additional streams are real-estate rentals, stock market investments, and part-ownership in a side business.

Being content with what you already know

The wealthiest, most successful people are constantly exercising their brains and looking for ways to continue learning long after college or their formal education is over.

This choice is entirely up to you, emphasises self-made millionaire Daniel Ally at Entrepreneur: 'Often, people depend on their employers to buy them books, send them to seminars, or provide them with coaching. However, you must take your education into your own hands if you want to prosper. Invest in yourself.'

Hanging out with the wrong crowd

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'Einstein said that consciousness is contagious,' Siebold writes. 'That doesn't mean dump your friends because of their low net worth. But if you want to become rich, you need to start associating with other rich people.'

Think of it this way: 'If you wanted to become fit, you would hang around fit people at the gym. If you were interested in religion, you would associate more with people at church,' he explains. 'So if you want to become wealthy, get around other wealthy people and learn from them.'

Keeping your partner out of the loop, financially

'Millions of married couples don't talk about money,' writes Ally. 'It makes them uncomfortable, which sometimes leads to arguments. However, you cannot get rich unless you disclose your financial precepts with your spouse.'

Plus, two heads are generally better than one. 'Money is only multiplied when love is in the mix and both members of the household have a clear understanding about their finances,' he writes.

The alternative is not getting rich and relationship stress. After all, arguments about money are a leading predictor of divorce.

Not saving when you're young

At the end of the day, your wealth is not defined by how much money you make -- it's defined by how much you keep.

If you want to get rich, you have to pay yourself first -- and you have to start as early as possible, because when you start to save outweighs how much you save.

'Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts,' writes Cardone. 'Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency ... To this day, at least twice a year, I am broke because I always invest my surpluses into ventures I cannot access.'

Focusing too much on saving

David Ramos/Stringer/Getty Images

That being said, you don't want to focus so much on saving that you start neglecting earning.

Siebold theorizes that the wealthy focus on what they will gain by taking risks, rather than how to save what they have.

'The masses are so focused on clipping coupons and living frugally they miss major opportunities,' he writes. 'Even in the midst of a cash flow crisis, the rich reject the nickel and dime thinking of the masses. They are the masters of focusing their mental energy where it belongs: on the big money.'

Working for your money

Those haircuts weren't cheap.

'If you work for money, you give the power to your employer,' Robert Kiyosaki writes in the personal finance classic, 'Rich Dad Poor Dad.' 'If money works for you, you keep the power and control it.'

Working for money is the easier path -- it's what we're taught in school (how to write a résumé, get a job, and work hard). Having your money work for you -- by starting a company, being your own boss, or investing -- requires calculated risk and a level of comfort with uncertainty.

After all, there is a significant difference between how rich people and average people choose to get paid.

Staying in a job you hate

A crucial step to accumulating wealth is finding and following your passion, as journalist Napoleon Hill discovered nearly a century ago after studying hundreds of rich people.

Today, this emphasis on passion is just as relevant. 'Every wealthy entrepreneur in my study who realised incredible wealth also had passion,' Corley writes in 'Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.' 'Passion trumps any advantage those who lack passion might have in life.'

As Steve Jobs said during his 2005 commencement address to the graduates of Stanford: 'You've got to find what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.'

Trying to go at it alone

Zak Kaczmarek / Stringer / Getty Images

'No one realises success without a team of other success-minded people,' Corley writes.

Ally says he reached a standstill until he asked for help: 'At a certain point in my business, I couldn't grow any further until I hired a few key people ... Most people won't ask for help because their ego is in the way.'

Asking for help extends beyond hiring key people. As Siebold notes, the rich aren't afraid to fund their future from other people's pockets: 'World class believes in using other people's money. Rich people know not being solvent enough to personally afford something is not relevant. The real question is, 'Is this worth buying, investing in, or pursuing?''

Being negative

'There is no hope of success for the person who repels people through a negative personality,' Hill wrote in 'Think and Grow Rich.' 'Success comes through the application of power, and power is attained through the cooperative efforts of other people. A negative personality will not induce cooperation.'

He was on to something: Today, research shows that positive, happier people are more likely to perform better at their jobs and are less likely to be unemployed. And, as Corley found, 'In my research, positivity was a hallmark of all the self-made millionaires.'

Avoiding failure

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Most people never win because they're afraid of losing, or failing, Kiyosaki emphasises in 'Rich Dad Poor Dad.'

'Yet if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes,' he writes. 'We learn to walk by falling down. If we never fell down, we would never walk. The same is true for learning to ride a bike ... The same is true for getting rich ... Failure is part of the process of success.'

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