How 5 Millionaires Made Their Fortunes

These 10 tips come from people who accumulated wealth the old-fashioned way.

By + More

Decide how much money you really want. For many people, $1 million won't be enough. "For most Gen-X and Gen-Yers, retiring with a couple million when they are 65 won't be anywhere near enough to maintain even an average lifestyle, because that little pup called inflation is constantly nipping at your heels as you try to run towards building your own retirement nest egg," says Cartwood. A more reasonable goal might be $3 million—an amount that Cartwood considers the minimum to be a "bare-bones millionaire" these days. Consider your ideal lifestyle and what you would like to be able to fund. A mortgage of a certain size? Exotic vacations? College tuition for your children? Having a concrete goal in mind makes it easier to get there, says Cartwood.

Invest against the grain. Corey recommends making investment decisions based on the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing. When stocks are down, anyone buying can get them at a discount. Corey's rule of thumb doesn't just apply to stocks. "Buy a foreclosed house, fill it up with roommates, and you can get a pretty good passive income," he suggests.

Live below your means. Even Eminem, a celebrity and millionaire, scales back his purchases out of concern for frugality. London's Independent newspaper reported that several years ago, as Eminem considered buying a $15,000 watch he liked, he started worrying that he should save his money instead. Eminem reportedly said, "I don't want to run out of money; I want my daughter to be able to go to college." And so far, at least, Eminem hasn't fallen victim to the financial challenges so many other stars, from Aretha Franklin to Annie Leibovitz, have faced.

On the same note, Smith says even though she's a millionaire, no one would know it—and that's the point. She recommends saving at least 10 to 25 percent of your income. She also suggests avoiding buying "status" items, such as fancy sports cars or mansions. After all, bling doesn't make a millionaire—in fact, too much of it can prevent you from ever becoming one.

Twitter: @alphaconsumer