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The 3 things millionaires are doing today to maintain and grow their net worth

Financial planning, passive income and investing: The three ways millionaires build their net worth.

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The Mint app has shut down as of Jan. 1, 2024. For alternatives, check out CNBC Select's ranking of the best budgeting apps.

Growing your net worth has a lot to do with what stage you are at in life.

Generally, younger adults in their 20s are focused on finishing their college education and finding employment before they can even start thinking about increasing their wealth.

But knowing your net worth down the road — and ways to improve it — can help you see where you are on your financial journey while you plan for your future.

Essentially, a positive net worth is when the value of what you own (your assets) is larger than the money that you owe (your debts, or liabilities). This generally happens over time when assets grow in value faster thanks to compound interest, appreciation and changes in the market. Assets may include things like your house, cars, investments in stocks or bonds and cash you have in the bank. Liabilities are things like your mortgage, your car or student loans and outstanding credit card balances.

CNBC Select was curious what millionaires do to maintain and grow their net worth. We asked Faron Daugs, certified financial planner, founder and CEO at Harrison Wallace Financial Group, about what he sees his millionaire clients doing these days to ensure their long-term wealth and stability.

1. They have a financial plan

Daugs' millionaire clients have a solid idea of what their financial situation looks like today and in the coming years.

They plan for the future and look at many aspects of their finances, such as savings, debt management (yes, even millionaires have debt), insurance, taxes, investments, retirement and estate planning.

"All areas should be addressed [and] some areas have a greater level of importance at different times in each client's financial life cycle," Daugs tells CNBC Select.

Younger adults may be more focused on building a savings and paying off credit card debt or student loans. Older adults with families and homes may be more fixated on insurance for their assets, tax implications and investments, while their latter years are most concentrated on retirement and estate planning.

"These plans are updated regularly," Daugs says.

Many financial advisors offer analysis of your financial plan, whether it's still loose or clearly settled in your mind. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is a good place to start your search for an advisor near you. Just make sure you ask beforehand about the fees they charge. Advisors should be transparent about their services and cost. Some financial planners will charge by the hour or have a monthly retainer that might be within reach if you're just starting out.

2. They find passive income opportunities

"Many of my millionaire clients seek out opportunities to generate other sources of income that do not require their full-time participation," Daugs says.

Some examples Daugs mentions are rental property, business ventures and investments in private equity.

Having other income streams helps to cushion your savings, especially as you grow older and plan for your retirement years. Certainly not everyone can afford to own multiple properties, but smaller-scale rental opportunities might include renting out rooms in your house/apartment or renting out your car while you work.

Supplement your income from home

It may not be passive income, but you can bring in some cash on your own free time without leaving your home. Read more on 5 easy ways to earn extra money from your couch.

3. They invest with an open mind

Daugs says that his millionaire clients are willing to take on more risk with their investments. They tend to be more open to new ideas and are comfortable carving out a portion of their portfolio to invest money in new sectors based the stock market's conditions, certain policy issues, technological trends and/or the broader economy.

Of course, risk-taking is possible, in part, because millionaires have more money and can arguably weather potential setbacks more easily.

But even if you're not rolling in extra millions, you can still invest in diversified funds that earn more money over time than your traditional savings account. Investing in diversified portfolios (as opposed to one-off stocks) tends to come with less risk because you are putting your money in a range of stocks from a variety of sectors.

Such an example is investing in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks an index, the most common of which is the S&P 500. You can find ETFs offered by Vanguard, Fidelity, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.

But you don't have to be an expert to invest your money: Investing beginners who don't follow the market closely can choose to put their money into a robo-advisor like Betterment and Wealthfront or a monthly membership service like Ellevest. Platforms and programs like these typically provide some advisory services, but know the fees beforehand.

You can also utilize plenty of free online resources to help guide you through your investing journey. Try finance apps like Mint and Empower, as well as YouTube channels like "Rule One Investing." Plus, as you invest you can use the software apps to track your net worth over time.

A key rule of thumb to know when you're ready to invest is if you already have an emergency fund set aside. The money you put in the market should be extra cash after your everyday needs are met. This might mean knowing you could handle an unexpected expense, like your car breaking down, plus stashing aside at least six months' worth of your living expenses first.

To learn more, check out this three-question checklist to help you determine when you're ready to invest your money.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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