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When it comes to becoming a millionaire, your mindset is an important factor, maybe the key factor, in getting you there. Yes, earning a higher income can help you build your net worth — let’s not pretend a high income isn’t important — but poor financial habits can destroy any amount of income. However, even modest earners with the right mindset can become wealthy over time.

Here are seven key mindset shifts that you can make to help you become a millionaire.

7 mindset shifts that can make you millions

The following mindset shifts require you to move to a perspective where you’re an active participant in your success and not merely a passive recipient of whatever happens to you.

1. “I need to hit the lottery” → “Wealth is built over decades”

Many people think they need to accidentally step into wealth, such as by purchasing a lottery ticket or inheriting it from a lost relative. But many millionaires — especially 401(k) millionaires, those with a million in their retirement accounts — got there over many years, if not decades. So you must think over the long term and then make wealth-building habits a priority in your life.

One of the best ways to build wealth is to invest in the stock market. Rather than try to trade your way to wealth in the short term, take a long-term mindset by buying and adding to investments every month. Study after study shows that a long-term passive approach beats a short-term active approach the vast majority of the time, making it easy for even new investors to win.

2. “I don’t have enough money to be an investor” → “Investing is a process that anyone can do”

Many people make excuses that they don’t have enough money to be an investor. But today anyone with a few dollars can become an investor. It’s never been easier or cheaper to open an investment account, and the tools to be a successful investor have never been more accessible.

In fact, if you work with a brokerage that offers fractional shares, you can get started with $5 and purchase partial shares of even high-priced stocks and funds.

The mindset shift begins when you start thinking of yourself as an investor — regardless of how much you have. Yes, becoming an investor doesn’t make you rich, but it opens the mindset where you can begin taking the actions that grow your wealth. And one silver lining of beginning with a little is that you can learn how to invest without making mistakes that cost a lot of money.

3. “Stocks are for the wealthy” → “Stocks are how people become wealthy”

Similarly, people may tell themselves that they can’t own stocks because they’re not wealthy. But owning stocks is how the wealthy became wealthy. The attitude that stocks are limited to the wealthy is self-defeating if you really want to grow your wealth. A broadly diversified portfolio of stocks is one of the best ways for you to build life-improving riches.

Of course, not all stocks are winners and investors have many different ways to build wealth with stocks, whether that’s owning individual stocks or going with exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that own stocks. The best ETFs have delivered attractive returns to investors over years.

4. “People won’t know I’m wealthy unless I show it off” → “People don’t need to know I’m wealthy”

For many people the value of wealth is being able to show it off, with flashy cars, enormous houses and showy jewelry. But showing off your wealth is one of the best ways to get rid of it. Wealth is only wealth if it remains unspent, so you can’t show it off, at least not in the same way.

Instead, many affluent people grow their wealth quietly, driving that 15-year-old car or living in a modest house. The proverbial millionaire next door exists, and they’re living totally different from the glitzy and glamorous lifestyles that Hollywood wants to show — and sell — you.

And if the affluent do show off their wealth, it’s often in ways that showcase their low-stress lifestyles, with time to do what they want without worrying too much about their money.

5. “Spending comes first” → “Saving comes first”

Those who are growing wealth prioritize their saving and investing over their spending. Living below their means always comes first, giving them money to invest and grow their wealth over time. With this approach it becomes easier to grow your wealth each year, as your investments continue to climb and help you amass an even larger nest egg beyond just what you can save.

If unexpected expenses crop up, these individuals already have an emergency fund in place so that they won’t have to touch their high-return investments and they can continue to compound. By putting saving first, you help ensure that you always have enough later.

6. “I’ll save and invest next year” → “I’ll start investing today”

Many individuals simply put off saving and investing, with easy excuses that they’ll do it next year or that they have higher priorities for their money now. But time is your biggest ally when it comes to investing, because your money can make money. And the more time you give it, the more wealth you’ll amass — without doing any extra work. It’s vital to start investing today.

One of the easiest ways is to open and fund your employer-sponsored retirement account such as a 401(k) or 403(b). Your employer often offers you a matching contribution if you contribute, meaning that you can make an instant return on your money — that is, free money to save.

If you want to save money on your own or have unlimited investment choices, then you can go with one of the best IRA accounts or even a taxable brokerage account. However you decide to go, the point is to begin now and learn all you can about how to invest smartly.

Here’s a simple — but not easy — three-step plan for how to retire a millionaire.

7. “I don’t know what to invest in” → “Stock funds make it easy to invest”

One stumbling block for new investors is not knowing what to invest in. They don’t know which stocks to buy and worry that they’ll be ripped off by fraudsters. These are reasonable concerns, but even new investors have good options and can proceed at their own pace.

First, work with a reputable brokerage. Bankrate has reviewed the major online players, and you can get started without a deposit, and stock and ETF trades are typically free.

Second, stock funds offer a great advantage to new investors. ETFs can offer low annual costs and attractive annual returns, and you don’t need to be an expert to purchase one. Look for funds that have strong five- and 10-year returns and that are run by a reputable fund company.

One of the best picks is an S&P 500 index fund, which owns about 500 of America’s most successful companies. This kind of fund has returned about 10 percent annually over time, and it’s the recommendation of investing legend Warren Buffett.

Bottom line

You can earn all the money in the world, but if you don’t save and invest it, you won’t build any wealth. You’ll have to continue to hustle until you get the right mindset. But start with the right mindset and you can begin growing wealth with any amount of money or income.

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