Want to become a millionaire? Making it happen in the next five years doesn't have to be a fantasy. That's the view of Steve Siebold, 50, author of How Rich People Think. Siebold, a self-made millionaire who consults for corporate sales teams and gives speeches across the country, says that in fact, people over 50 have the advantage when it comes to getting rich. That's right: 50 is the new 40.
"It's easier to get rich at 50, even 60 or 70, than it is to get rich at 30," Siebold says. "There's no question of that in my mind. Older people have the life experience that a kid just doesn't have. Maybe [younger people] know more about technology, but we lived longer and know the ups and downs of life. In creating a fortune or financial independence, there are going to be ups and downs. Older people have a great, great advantage to get wealthier way faster. And it's so ripe for the taking."
Siebold, a Chicago native, says most people have a lottery mentality and have been brainwashed to believe that the only chance to get rich is by picking winning numbers or playing slot machines. The rich, however, have trained themselves to expect big things to happen and earn more money. They're bold, aggressive and fearless in their pursuit of wealth.
"What the wealthy have taught me over the years is to look at your beliefs around money, success, prosperity, and rich people," he says. "Ask yourself: 'Is that helping me develop more wealth and build my net worth, or is it holding me back?' I think 95 percent of the population, in even the richest country in the world, have negative beliefs about money. After a year or two of interviews [for this book], I realized why I was broke."
The average American needs to stop looking at money from a fear and scarcity point of view, and start seeing money through the eyes of freedom, possibility, opportunity and abundance, Siebold says.
"Look at your beliefs and look at the beliefs of the wealthy and how they think about money," he says. "They see it as a game. They're just playing a game, and they're having fun. They're moving things, and they're creating value for society, and they're getting richer all the time. It's more about thinking about money in terms of abundance and opportunity and freedom and all the good things, such as good health. Money can save your life if you have enough of it, because you can pay for treatment for whatever you have."
Siebold has failed with businesses over the years but has learned more from those failures than he has from his successes. Failure, he says, makes you analyze what you did wrong. Worrying about failure, however, holds people back from taking a chance and being successful. We shouldn't be our own worst enemies - look at the rich; they've brainwashed themselves with positive belief so they're not as afraid to take the chances and risk.
"What holds people back is more a lack of belief," Siebold says. "It's the fear that 'I won't recover. What if I start a business and I fail?' I've done that, and a lot of people have done that. You start over. You find a way to make it work. One of the things I saw from wealthy people from the beginning is that they had this unwavering belief that no matter what they did or if they failed, they would find a way to recover. Most said that's a belief they had to build in themselves. They had to tell themselves, 'if I lose everything, I'm not going to die. I'm going to make it. I will make it all back and more.' And that's what they do. They're not born with this. They talk themselves into it while the rest of us are talking ourselves out of it."
Getting rich is not a complex process. You don't even have to be a genius, Siebold says. It's about creating a value proposition, and the bigger value you create for your customer, company or individual, the richer you get.
"You create value if you mow one lawn," Siebold says. "You create more wealth if you mow 100 lawns. Looking at it as complex prevents people from acting and becoming wealthy."
With the country emerging from the Great Recession, Siebold contends the streets are "paved with gold."
Millionaires are paying more for personal services than they ever have. If you can solve a problem that people and companies are willing to pay for, you can make an endless amount of money, Siebold says. He says it's a perfect time for many people to start lawn care services, maid services, handyman businesses, pool cleaning companies, or grocery shopping services.
Companies are sitting on trillions of dollars that they will spend if it creates value. People older than 50, maybe they're retired or still working in the corporate world, have a lot of experience and expertise that they can sell to companies as a consultant. You can become a millionaire later in life even if you have little now, he says.
"I don't think it's too late at all if you're over 50," Siebold says. "I know I expect to earn 10 or 20 times the money in the next five years than I earned in the last five or the five before that, simply because there's so much opportunity out there in the marketplace. We have a society that's hoarding cash, especially corporate America, and they're very confused about how to proceed. There's a lot of fear mindset of not knowing how stable the economy is. The wealthy are getting wealthier, and they're buying personal services like they're going out of style. There are all kinds of services that people can start to sell to the wealthy. That's where the money is."
In his book, Siebold interviewed billionaire Rich DeVos, co-founder of Amway and owner of the NBA's Orlando Magic, and billionaire entrepreneur Sam Wyly. Most, however, weren't famous and don't like any publicity.
"Most of these millionaires that I've interviewed are normal people like you, me and everybody else," he says. "They're not Rhodes Scholars. They're average people who changed their mindset and went to work. Most are not living in giant mansions. They're living quietly. They're our neighbors, but they have millions of dollars in the bank. They never worry about money and never have to worry about it again."