Recent Millionaire Lessons

In this week's episode of Chill & Prosper, we’re talking about some lessons I've learned from being a millionaire. 

I love talking about money! Part of my job in the world is normalizing talking about money and wealth. 

My business reached the million dollar revenue mark 6 years ago, and I’ve learned a LOT. 

Want to hear about it? 

I talk about ...

  • Dispelling myths about money and being a millionaire
  • Dealing with people’s comments about money
  • Retiring my husband Mark 5 years ago
  • What I outsource in my life and business
  • Paying more taxes (exactly how much I pay!)
  • Giving away money


Hey, gorgeous. I'm excited about today's episode because we are talking about all the lessons that I've learned about being a millionaire. This is cool because I love talking about money. Part of my, I guess, job in the world is normalizing talking about money and just making it normal and easy and making you realize that it's just a normal... I'm just a normal person, and I'm not anything special. But of course, I have learned a lot of lessons since becoming a self-made millionaire by the age of 35. I am almost 42 at the time of talking.

And one of the reasons why I talk about this stuff is because I don't believe that talking about money is vulgar or bad. I don't think that having lots of money makes me better than anyone else. I don't think it makes me worse than anyone else. It just is what it is. And for a long time, I was frustrated that people just weren't talking about money. And obviously so many of us have been taught that it's very impolite talking about money too. Part of my role in the world is just talking about money.

I don't aspire to be a guru. I'm just happy contributing to this conversation around money and role modeling, I don't know, just a normal person. I'm not going to add a lot of disclaimers to each point because I feel like we're always pressured to... Of course, I acknowledge my privilege as a white woman who doesn't have any disabilities, who lives in Australia. I know how fortunate I am. I know there are real problems in the world. I know all of that, but I'm not going to add it to each point because it will get long.

Just assume what I talked about at the start. I acknowledge my privilege, and I'm super lucky and grateful and all those things. Also, I'm not going to tell you how to get rich necessarily. This is just about normalizing money and just talking about money in no particular order. Now, I have done a blog post about this as well, so I pulled some of it out of it, but I just wanted to add some extra thoughts around it. One thing for me about being a millionaire is that I often worry that my kids will grow up unmotivated and entitled.

And I definitely romanticized growing up without money. I romanticized the idea that working hard is the norm. And I often say this to Mark too, I go, "Well, I had four jobs when I was at university," and he's like, "I know." I say that to my kids too, because there's still a part of me that thinks my success has come from struggle. My success and my motivation or my ambition has come from struggle, and that it's come from my work ethic. I often do worry about not only that my kids will grow up without that resilience or work ethic, but that I will lose it by being too comfortable.

If I get used to my success, then I just won't have any resilience in the world. So that's something that I kind of work on a lot, because now I've met people who grew up rich and they are resilient and they are hard working, or they've got a good work ethic. That could be something for you as well of decoupling that idea that we can only be wealthy if we have this massive work ethic and we have to work really, really hard for it, because that's not necessarily true.

I actually have to work way less now than I did when I started out, because I have to be way smarter about how I work. Anyway, that's one thing. One thing I have noticed though is how much of a lubricator money can be. It does make life smoother. I love that I can fix things when they're broken. I can just buy things when I need them, and I don't have to worry about unexpected costs. I remember what that's like. It's just one thing went wrong, it can just derail your whole month, your whole everything because it's so important.

But I do see that that's a really hard habit to get out of. If you grew up poor and you're used to inconvenience because of money, it's a really hard habit to get out of it. I see this with my mom. My mom will rather park somewhere, even if it's really far away, because she's like, "Well, I don't want to pay for parking." Whereas I'm like, "Well, I'd rather pay for parking. I don't care." It's such a little blip in my day, but it's really hard to get out of.

And as a kid, my mom couldn't buy lots of things, so we often just had what we needed at the time. I see her now, she'll buy one carrot and one onion instead of buying a bag of carrots, a bag of onions, because that's what she's used to. I see on the other side of it now how money can just create ease and not having to worry about all of those little things. Now, why am I even sharing this is because I think sometimes we have really complex feelings about money and you might be on the cusp of a big leap in your business, a big leap in your income, and there's still a part of you that has complex feelings around it and you feel guilty around it.

And even hearing me is, might be bringing some stuff up for you about, "Oh God, well, I'll be such a lazy person, or I'll be so entitled." It's good to look at the dollars and keep an eye on those. Anyway, I noticed in myself how I often use money just to solve problems. It's like, oh God, I'd rather just pay the money than have to think about it. There can be some good and bad things around that. I've noticed that sometimes instead of having an awkward conversation, I'll just throw money at it.

That's something that's just... It's true for some people without money. They can over-deliver. They can help people out. They can have really bad money boundaries. If that's you, that's just something to look at as you receive more money, but also it's something to look at in terms of resisting making more money in the first place. If you're someone who bails people out in your life, well, you might be resisting making more money because you worry that people are going to ask you for more. It's just something to think about.

The other thing I've noticed too as I've received more money and made more money is that I'm not that into physical possessions. And I thought that being rich would be about having lots of jewelry or having shoes and things like that, and I really realized I actually don't have expensive tastes. I want you to reflect on that. Where do you feel like being rich means a certain dress code or a certain way of being? I can really reflect back this in my early days.

I was like, "Oh, I'm not polished enough to be rich. I don't have the right hair. I don't have the right nails. I'm not groomed enough," and that is because often the examples we see of wealth are TV examples or movie examples, where the women are very, very thin. They're very fancy. They've got big jewels. They've got very, very fancy designer clothes, big high heels. And if that's your only example of wealth, it's just going to set up this real split in your mind of, "That's what I have to be like too."

And if you have that picture that wealth doesn't look like you, you're kind of just pushing it away further and further, because you might not take opportunities, or you might not put yourself up for things, or you might not be visible because you don't feel like you fit the mold. This is why I talk about this stuff. This whole episode is not to brag. It's just to say, "Hey, if you like wearing flip-flops, tracky dacks, then you can be rich too. If you like shopping in thrift stores, you can be rich."

There's no and/or here. You really can redefine what wealth means to you. I still love getting a bargain. I actually really love Facebook Marketplace now that that's come out. I buy stuff from Facebook Marketplace all the time. And even still, when people put stuff out in this street, I'm like, "Can I repurpose that?" I don't know if that's just part of growing up wealthy, sorry, growing up poor, but even now, it's not going to change. If you like getting a bargain, you're probably still going to like getting a bargain.

When I met Oprah and I said to her... Because she complimented my caftan and I was like, "Thank you. It's a Camilla caftan." And then I was like, "I wasn't going to wear Target to Oprah." She went, "Excuse me, I shop at Target all the time." And I went, "Of course. Why would I think that just because she's literally a billionaire that she only wears fancy designer staff?" We all have to redefine what that means for us. You know one of the coolest things about having money? Being able to travel business class and first class.

Now, it is expensive. I still think it's expensive. It's more expensive to travel than it was for my first probably three cars combined. But it is one of those really cool things where having the abundance to be able to get places rested and feeling really good makes such a difference. Especially if you're traveling for work, you're traveling for a speaking gig, you're traveling for a networking conference, it is really, really, really priceless because I would say that now time is more of my currency than money, time and convenience and pleasure and well-being.

And because I'm the golden goose in my business, I always have to really watch my energy. I have to make sure that I'm taken care of. And in the early days, I would travel economy. I'd be in the back of the plane. I would arrive somewhere. Do a speaking gig on the same day. I think even just sometimes having more abundance means you also have the courage to set boundaries with things. And recently I did a speaking gig and it was a lunchtime speaking gig, but it was in a different city to me. It was a three hour city away.

I said to them, "I need a hotel room the night before," and they're like, "Well, no, you don't. You just have to leave your house at five o'clock in the morning." And I was like, "Yeah, but I also have to get hair and makeup done." And I just said that's the boundary because I know that I don't have to make do anymore. Maybe that's the confidence that comes with having more money is that you don't feel like you always have to be super cheap with yourself and take that energy out of literally your life force.

Okay, cool. I'm just going to take a quick break. If you like this juicy honesty, I've got way more to come. I want to tell you about what some people get weirded out about when they find out that I'm a millionaire. All right. I'll be right back after this break.

Hi, everyone. My name is Ashley Capps, and I live in Dustin, Florida, where I work as a mental health therapist at my own private practice. I came across Get Rich, Lucky Bitch because actually a client recommended it to me, and I am so glad that she did. The two things that really stood out to me in this book were: one, upgrading my life, which was starting to make small changes to really show the universe that I was ready to accept the abundance that was waiting for me; and two, raising my prices.

I started my business about two years ago. And since then, I have been terrified to raise my prices. But based on Denise's guidance, I did it anyway, and I have been shocked to see the results. Not only have I not lost customers, but I've actually gained more of the kind of customers I'm really looking for and established myself as a valuable therapist with the education and expertise that is worth paying top dollar for. I can honestly say that Denise's book has changed my life and not just the way I handle my money, but also how I present myself as a business woman.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to establish a better relationship with money and increase their income.

Hey and welcome back. And today, we are talking about what it's like to be a millionaire. Again, this is not like a braggy lucky bitch Denise episode. This is just to normalize what it's like to have money, make it just a normal conversation, maybe dispel a few myths about it, and hopefully give you some excitement to make more money in your business. Because if an idiot like me can do it, maybe you can do it too. One of the weird things that I didn't expect about making more money is how other people have comments around it.

For example, when I was in a corporate job, I'd have the older misogynistic men and they would... When I asked for a pay increase, they'd be like, "Oh, you get paid enough, or when I was your age, that was a great salary." I'm like, "Yes, but you're 30 years older than me." Now I often surround myself with, well, people who are not misogynistic. I mostly have women around me. I have a lot of friends in the queer community. We're just not like that. We don't have preconceptions about who's allowed to have money.

Often I meet older men who just don't know what to make of me. They'll say something like, "Oh, you're very confident. You're a very confident young lady," or they asked me what my husband does, or they'll brag about their success to kind of compete with me. It's really, really strange. I sometimes forget what role I'm supposed to play around them, which is like being very deferential and things like that. They just find that I'm a little bit arrogant, or they'll ask what I do and I go, "I write business books."

And they go, "Oh cool. Is it just for women?" I go, "Oh you know what? Not exclusively, but mostly." And they go, "Well, what about men?" And I go, "Oh my God, there's a million books written for men," or they will ask me what my hobby does, all that kind of stuff. And I go, "He works for me." Hair flip. I find that really strange because in a lot of ways, I'm still learning how to be a rich person. I don't know how to act. I don't know what's the... I'm not fancy. I didn't grow up wealthy, and so I don't know what I don't know sometimes.

And there's just little things that maybe rich people know that I don't know. Anyway, the other thing on the other side of it now where I am in a place of privilege and comfort is how much of my life was often in a feast or famine cycle and how you can kind of get not addicted to it, but you can feel like you're anticipating it. Even though making money feels really easy and fun to me, there's still part of me that's waiting for the crash and waiting for the bad thing to happen. We moved around a lot as a kid.

Our finances were very precarious. When my mum made some money, we'd have really nice yogurts and really nice food, and then we wouldn't. I think it takes a while for your nervous system to overcome that, and that's not even a money thing. Rich families have dysfunction too, but just how much my body's just not used to ease and for things just to be comfortable. I'm still kind of sometimes waiting for the rug to be pulled out under my feet off me to have to go back and be a waitress or clean houses.

I think the reason why I share that too is because there's probably never going to be income level where you're free from your past. I still have to work on that stuff all the time that I'm just like a scrappy kid from the central coast who grew up on welfare. So much of that is part of my identity that who am I who is a very lucky, privileged self-made millionaire, who's part of the 1%, I'm building assets so I can build generational wealth, all of that kind of stuff, but it just doesn't... It's not quite always there for me.

My nervous system still hasn't quite caught up. Even though I would say my fight or flight response has lessened, it's still sometimes there because I can remind myself, oh, I can just solve problems with money and it's no big deal if a tire burst or something like that. Nobody died is basically... It's like, "Oh, I can just solve that with money." Something else that happens. I still have money blocks, and I still judge rich people. I get triggered.

I get disgusted by people who I perceive as wasting money. That's weird, right? Because what's abundant for one person might be really just like nothing to them. I still judge people who have three yachts or buy lots of expensive things because that's not me. But maybe that's the judgment that I have to let go of and maybe you judge me and maybe even just hearing me talk so cavalierly about money when there are starving people in the world, that might trigger you as well.

As I said, part of what I do is just to talk honestly and openly about money and hopefully that will give you permission to make money as well. Because you know what? I'm still a judgy bitch. I still sometimes judge for people as well. I judge the way that some people I know who spend their money, even when they don't have it. But you know what? If you judge you now, you're going to be judgy when you've got more money. One of the cool things... There's lots of cool things about being a millionaire.

And one of them was that I could retire my partner. I've seen so much backlash around this where people go, "I don't want to retire my partner. He's just going to sit around and do nothing or how emasculating or whatever." Let me just speak to that. Mark can do whatever he wants. If he wants to go back to university, which he's done recently to study, if he wants to get another job, if he wants to start another career, totally fine. I think what's been really important for us is to look at our shared values as a family.

And our values are freedom, adventure, abundance, and joy. Freedom, adventure, abundance, and joy. It got to a point where his corporate job was not freedom. It wasn't abundance, because he salary was capped. It didn't allow us to go on adventures when we wanted to, and it didn't necessarily bring either of us joy for him to have that corporate job. When I say I retired him it, he can do whatever he wants, and he's a very ambitious guy. Don't feel like that's something you have to do or aspire to do or even that it would be negative.

But for us, it's been amazing to have that abundance. Our kids don't remember Mark ever having to be in a job. This morning, he did Piper's hair, which was so cute. He did like these little pigtails. He can take them to school. He can pick them up from school. We went into the ocean after we dropped the kids at school. That freedom has been amazing and it's been so worth it to make money to have that freedom together as a family. But it doesn't have to look like that for you. It really doesn't.

People ask me what I spend my money on, and I would say like I spend my money on convenience. I have a cleaner. I actually don't any work at all around the house. I don't do any laundry. I don't do any cooking. I don't do any cleaning. Anything I can outsource, I will. We have a daily housekeeper who comes and makes breakfast and does tidying and does laundry and does food shopping and food prep and those little errands to the post office and to pick up light bulbs and all that kind of stuff.

She's the boss of the house basically. But then everything else we can outsource, we do, cleaner or getting our lawns done. We send our dogs to doggy daycare twice a week. We have a dog walker to come to help us out. I definitely spend my money in convenience, and that means anything that will help me. I also spend my money on just like accountability, I think. Instead of going out to yoga, I have a private yoga instructor to come to the house just for accountability. I hire coaches to help me.

I have quarterly business planning sessions with somebody. Anything I can do to make my life easier and to stop me from sabotaging myself, I'll do. The other thing that is important to know is that when you make more money, you have to pay more taxes, and you'll generally just have a lot of expenses. I have a really abundant multimillion dollar house, and so I have to pay lots of land tax. I pay for security. I pay for lots of maintenance. I live near the beach, and so I have lucky bitch problems because the sea air makes everything rust quicker.

That's not to complain, but it's just that it's okay to have those costs. It's okay to pay more taxes. And if you can get okay with it where you're at right now, if you can get okay with outsourcing a little bit right now, then you'll increase your capacity to do so. You'll acclimatize yourself to be able to do so and to handle more complexity. My tax bill is easily half a million dollars a year. Does that feel good? It feels like okay. I don't feel triggered by it. I don't get angry about it.

I don't expend a lot of energy on it. I just pay it. But that had to come from me dealing with the fact that I had to pay even a dollar in tax. Each time I hit a new tax threshold, I had to give myself permission that not only was it okay to pay tax, it was okay to deal with complexity and I wasn't going to get in trouble. I had to really like dig deep into those feelings of like, oh, I'm not enough, or people are going to think I'm a fraud, or I'm going to get into trouble. Those were the things that I had to get over.

The other part though is it's really fun to give away money. When I was really kind of starting off in my business and I would feel poor, I would give away $2 to a busker and I would immediately feel richer. I would hide money in unexpected places, because I knew that if someone found that, it would make them feel abundant and it would be... I wanted to feel like Oprah. You know how Oprah used to give away cars and things like that? Again, don't wait until you're a millionaire to feel abundant, to feel generous and like a wealthy philanthropist.

You can start now and seed that and then stretch yourself. The first time I gave $20 to a charity, it felt really big. And then it was like then $200, then $2,000. You just stretch yourself, but you grow into that version of yourself to be that philanthropist that you want to be in the future. Sometimes now I have conflicting things about feeling like I'm responsible for everyone, or I have to give away all my money. But I think to sum it all up, I'm pretty much the same person. I like the same staff.

I still like eating pizza. I still love eating pepperoni pizza from Domino's. I have lots of cheap tastes, but I'm still the same person that I ever was and that's why I wanted to do this episode. I knew that for some people it might make me sound out of touch or braggy or bitchy. I don't know, maybe that's my stuff. But also part of it is just to let you know that it's okay for you to be you right now. It's okay for you to make more money with where you're at, with who you are, and acclimatize yourself to it bit by bit.

You never going to be perfect and you don't have to be, but that's okay. You can start with where you're at right now, and I believe in you. I think that you can be richer. I think you'll make a really nice millionaire. I can't remember who said it, but it was like, "I've never been a millionaire, but I think I'd be just darling at it." And recently I've been stretching my mindset about what would be possible. Could I be a billionaire one day? And I don't necessarily aspire to it, but I was like, "Hmm, I bet I'd be just darling at it. I bet I would be super generous and fun."

Each time you have those feelings, look to somebody who you could emulate and aspire to be. I love looking at Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx. She's a billionaire. She's super fun. She's really generous with her friends. She gives back. She's creative. She seems to be a really cool chick. It's always fun to look at the next level and to see what comes up for you. Well, thanks for joining me on this conversation. I will be right back with my final thoughts after the break.

Hello, I'm Deanna with PROCOTE CEO, and I live on Dolphin Island in the Gulf of Mexico, and I'm a law of attraction business coach. Summer of 2020 I read Denise's Get rich, Lucky Bitch while at my office on the beach. Denise's unapologetic strategies taught me to value my worth, charge accordingly, which helped me to align with my true self, create a bitching business model and feeling like the business savvy CEO of my brand.

I'm Jamie DeMarco, dating and relationship coach and founder of Find Your Fairytale, and I love Denise and all of our books. I've binged listened to Show Preneur, Get Rich, and Lucky B and honestly they've been totally life and business. Changing. The Money Manifestation soundtrack, pure gold. I feel like every time I put it on, money just to magically come to me. I recommend all of Denise's books to anyone that wants to live an easier, chill life of abundance, love, and prosperity.

Hey, gorgeous. Welcome back and here's my final thought for today. I heard this a long time ago. I have no idea where it came from, but it was like, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be free? Do you want to be right or do you want to be free?" This one really shifted something in me because I'm a Virgo. I'm right about pretty much everything, and I can be very righteous about what I'm right about as well. I started saying to myself, do I want to be right or do I want to be rich?

And here's where it comes up for me. Sometimes if he follow me on Twitter, you'll see that I sometimes get into random internet fights with people because I want to be right. I can sometimes really just like get caught up in that person's wrong. I'll just literally say to people on Twitter like, "You suck. I hate you. You're wrong." I'm on Twitter @denisedt, by the way, if you want to see. Twitter is like my... That's my kind of political self and not so chill sometimes Denise. But I have to remind myself, do I want to be right or do I want to be rich?

I don't have to get involved in every fight. I don't have to get everyone over to my side. I actually just put out what I can put out. Even when it comes to writing your book, creating your course, doing your business, not everyone's going to like you, not everyone's going to agree with you, and that's fine. You don't have to help everyone. You can only offer what you can offer. You can only write what you can write. You only know what you can know. I don't know if that's going to help you this week, but it really does help me, and I really needed to remind myself about that this week.

Do you want to be right or do you want to be rich? Sometimes you can be both, sometimes you can't, and you can just choose. I'd rather be rich than right 100% of the time. I don't know about you. Okay, my gorgeous one, go forth, chill and prosper. Peace out from me, and I will see you on the next episode. Bye.

About the Show

Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.

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