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The 3 Money Secrets That Turned Me Into a Millionaire at 26

Here's how to build wealth, according to a self-made multi-millionaire.

Look around social media these days and you'll notice a major trend—self-made millionaires sharing the secrets to their success. Chris Choi is a perfect example. He says he became a millionaire at age 26 and "financially free" at 30 by building a thriving Airbnb empire. More recently, the entrepreneur and content creator has taken to TikTok to share his best money tips for others hoping to do the same.

Choi says there are a few key ways to put yourself on a path of wealth—and that they're all relatively easy to do. Here's how to change your life and finances in three simple steps, according to the self-made multi-millionaire.

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Live below your means.

Woman in trench coat shopping
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Choi's first piece of advice is applicable to people from all financial walks of life. He says you should always live below your means, regardless of how much you're making in income.

The key, he says, is to stop buying "dumb" things. "If you're not making over half a million dollars a year, you shouldn't be driving a German car. Instead, you should be driving a Toyota or a Hyundai. Also, you shouldn't be wearing LVs, Gucci, or Diors. Instead, you should be wearing H&M or Zara," he says in a recent TikTok post.

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Make money in your sleep.

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Next, Choi says "You have to find a way to make money in your sleep. If you don't do that, you're going to have to work until you die."

Though this is of course easier said than done, Choi recommends creating a passive income source by investing in real estate—and argues that you don't necessarily need to own your own home to start profiting.

"Nowadays you don't need much capital to invest in real estate," he says in the post. "You can start out by using a strategy called rental arbitrage."

This was Choi's own method for building wealth, he explains in a separate TikTok video. Beginning with $8,000 in capital, the entrepreneur strategically invested in rental apartments and requested permission from the owners to rent them out on Airbnb. He then furnished the apartments and oversaw the sub-rentals, turning a profit in the process.

RELATED: 8 Things You Should Stop Buying If You're Middle Class, Financial Experts Say.

Become a contrarian.

An attractive black businesswoman on the town

Third, Choi says that your mindset has everything to do with your financial growth. In particular, he says you need to "become a contrarian" in order to make money. "Stop following the crowd. People who walk alone are usually the ones who go furthest in life," he says.

This seems to align with Warren Buffet's famously contrarian investing advice "to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful."

Being bold and making financial decisions that are right for you could pay off in the long run, both argue.

RELATED: I'm a Finance Expert and Here's How I'm Going to Make My Kids Rich.

That's not the only "mindset shift" you should make.

Middle aged couple financial planning

In a separate post, Choi shares that there's another "mindset shift" you need to make in order to build wealth. He says you should disabuse yourself of the notion that you can only become a millionaire if you already have a lot of money.

While it's undoubtedly easier to build wealth when you have a foundation of financial security, Choi claims that over 80 percent of millionaires are self-made (one study from Fidelity Investments roughly corroborates that figure while others dispute it, putting the percentage much lower at around 27 percent).

"Lack of money is not your problem. Lack of money is merely a symptom of what's really going on underneath you. Underneath you, there's probably financial illiteracy, bad habits, lack of self-love, lack of confidence," he says.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more