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Millionaire in the Mirror

Written by John M. Grund

Getting rich is easy, the hard part is hanging on to it. The keys: Don't think success makes you infallible, and diversify.looking at the millionaire in the mirror

Keep maxing out your 401(k), watch your house appreciate, get lucky with those stock options and before long you might be looking into the mirror one day, saying, "I'm a millionaire."

Every new millionaire does it, has that little mirror conversation. "I'm a millionaire. Technically. But I'm a millionaire. Muh-hill-yun-airrr. Millionaire. Yow."

The next thing you need to do is think about how to make sure you remain a millionaire for a while.

New millionaires typically are woefully under-diversified. They may have a huge chunk of their net worth in a house they've owned for years, they may have hundreds of thousands tied up in company stock, or they may have most of their money in a family business.

The problem is that the same luck that helped make them millionaires may turn against them. Holding a lot of your company's stock is a particular danger because if things go bad, you may lose your job and a good portion of your portfolio in one go.

Money manager Kenneth Fisher, writing in Forbes magazine, observes that nine of the top 10 billionaires on the magazine's list of the world's wealthiest fell out of the top 10 over 10 years.

Most saw their fortunes grow far more slowly than if they had simply invested the money in a stock index fund.

And these are billionaires, presumably a thousand times smarter than mere millionaires. Of course, thinking that your money measures your smarts is part of the problem, success makes you hang onto your winning investments too long and begin to think you're infallible.

Don't believe you're infallible. If you don't need the big house anymore, think about downsizing now rather than later. Sell some of the company stock. Look for ways to liquidate some of your ownership of the business. Set yourself up to be a millionaire for the long haul.

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