It may seem obvious that Americans with more than a million dollars in a brokerage account worry less about retirement — if they didn't worry less, just imagine what that would mean for the less fortunate. And news about America's retirement crisis is on autoplay in the financial press.
But there's a more optimistic message from these millionaire investors.
The ones surveyed by E-Trade are self-directed, meaning they reached millionaire investor status on their own, without sophisticated investment strategies available only through an exclusive private bank or a financial advisor running their portfolio.
When you look at how they made it, you will notice that investing smartly doesn't require any secret formula. Just a few basic, simple rules.
"These are the folks who did the fundamentals right," said Lena Haas, E-Trade's senior vice president of retirement, investing and savings. "Of course it's nice to have money to have more comfort in your daily decisions, but the big factor is, they've adhered to sound financial principles."
When asked what financial advice they would give to a younger investor, these are the top three recommendations of self-directed millionaire investors:
1. Eighty-five percent advise starting to save as early as possible.
2. Sixty-three percent suggest investing for the long term and never trying to time the market.
3. Sixty-one percent say you should contribute enough to your 401(k) to get the full employer match.
Working with a financial advisor to create a plan was cited by only 9 percent of these investors.
"These people are successful not because they won the lottery. There's no magic bullet; it's just that they have done everything right," Haas said. "They started investing, they stayed disciplined, and they didn't get derailed."