What is stopping you from being wealthy?

Wealth, it is often said, starts with a state of mind. Many believe that part of the reason wealthy people stay wealthy is the way they think about-and handle-their money.
Following are some tips from the rich that can help you achieve financial independence.

Live below your means. Although the media portrays them differently, the majority of millionaires clip coupons and watch their pennies. According to The Millionaire Next Door, look in their closets and you'll find clothes bought on sale. Look at their driveways, and you'll find American-made cars from older model years. The main quality that determines whether or not you'll accumulate wealth? Frugality.

Create a budget. Rather than worrying about financial security, the wealthy tend to create a plan and take action. They know how much their family spends for food, clothing and shelter. So take your cue from the wealthy: Create a budget you can live with-and stick to it.

Plan for the future. Instead of spending it all, the average wealthy person invests nearly 20 percent of household income in stocks and mutual funds. The wealthy also know the value of life insurance (five to seven times their annual income), credit cards without revolving debt, and emergency money. You should too.

Cut your tax bill. You don't need a private accountant to learn this trick: Reduce your taxable income though retirement savings plans. In addition to helping you to accumulate wealth, an IRA or 401(k) allows you to shrink your tax bill. So sock away as much as you can in tax-advantaged vehicles.

Don't panic. Over time, the stock market remains a wealth-builder's best friend. Millionaires and financial experts agree that regular, consistent contributions to the investment of your choice-whether the market is up or down-is still one of the number one ways to accumulate wealth.

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