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October 1, 2006 -- If you listen to most personal finance "experts" out there, you'll hear time and time again that the best way to achieve wealth is to invest in things like stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

Well, betting on Wall Street can certainly help build your asset base. But traditional investing is just one pathway to riches in this country.

What many financial "pros" won't tell you, however, is that one of the best ways to achieve wealth and become a millionaire is to invest first, last and always in yourself.

* Did you know that, according to statistics from the U.S. Labor Department, the average college graduate in America earns 62 percent more each year than do high school graduates? Over a lifetime, that translates into a $1 million earnings gap!

That's a powerful reason to consider getting that college degree - or perhaps going back to school - in order to increase your earning potential.

* Undoubtedly, though, many of you in corporate America may actually be thinking of ways that you can check out of the workforce and become your own boss. If so, you'll have a much greater shot at becoming a millionaire, because studies show that entrepreneurs are far wealthier than are people who work for others. In fact, 70 percent of all millionaires in America are entrepreneurs.

* Lastly, anyone seeking millionaire status should definitely strive to improve his or her credit rating, because the person who has perfect credit will, over his or her lifetime, save or earn $1 million or more than the person with bad credit.

Having perfect credit - which I define as having a FICO credit score in the range of 760 to 850 - means you'll not only get the best rates on mortgages, credit cards and auto loans, you'll also save a ton of money on things such as life insurance and auto insurance.

Obviously, lots of other ways exist to become a millionaire, such as investing in real estate. But at the end of the day, you are your own best asset. Start to think of yourself as the ultimate blue chip investment. Invest in yourself, and you'll find that joining the ranks of the millionaire class is well within your reach.

Lynnette Khalfani, The Money Coach, is the author of "Investing Success," "Zero Debt" and "The Money Coach's Guide to Your First Million," as well as the Web site

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