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Is there some mysterious secret to being rich that most of us don’t know or are there things that rich people do that any of us can do? There are! We’ll show you 17 money habits of the rich you can adopt.
The Wealthy are Different
The wealthy are different from you and me but not in the ways you might think. Largely they aren’t dozens of IQ points smarter, they don’t have some money guru advising them, and they haven’t figured out the secret to alchemy.
Wealthy people just tend to have better habits than many of us, but they are habits we can practice too.
1. They Aren’t Flashy
This habit is what separates a lot of wealthy people from some rich people. Perhaps the ultimate example is Warren Buffett versus the kind of people you see on Rich Kids of Instagram.
Warren Buffett is the second wealthiest person in the world and probably the smartest investor in history.
He is currently worth more than $75 billion. Buffett lives in the same house he bought in Omaha, Nebraska in 1958, as late as 2013, he still had a flip phone rather than a smartphone, and his favorite hobby is not the high stakes poker games some rich people enjoy but bridge.
Wealthy people tend to live below their means which is why you don’t hear of people like Warren Buffett declaring bankruptcy, but you often hear about professional athletes and musicians who have had to take that step.
Of course, when you have almost 80 billion dollars to your name there isn’t much you could do to lose all of it, but those of us with considerably less can follow the example of wealthy people like Warren Buffett.
Don’t upgrade your life every time you see an upgrade in your income. Keep your housing costs at 30% or below of your income. Stock your emergency fund with six months’ worth of expenses, fully fund your 401k and IRA accounts.
Once you’ve done those things, you can have a little bit of fun Rich Kids of Instagram style.
2. Early Birds Get the Worms
It can be hard to drag yourself out of a warm bed in the morning but doing so has a lot of benefits. It gives you time to exercise, another habit of the wealthy, before the day gets away from you. Exercising in the morning has been shown to increase energy and productivity.
Getting into the office before most of your colleagues gives you time to get your workday started without so many interruptions whether they be coworkers who like to chat or phone calls.
Those who get up early are shown to have better quality sleep, and we are only beginning to understand how much impact good sleep has on overall health both physical and mental.
3. They Network
The old saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know” is the reason wealthy people network and why it’s essential for those of us aspiring to be wealthy too.
Networking can help you find a better job, find a new employee, is an excellent source of advice and can help you surround yourself with other successful people, another habit of the wealthy.
4. They Don’t Watch Television
Americans spend an average of five hours a day watching television. This is an enormous waste of time, and something wealthy people don’t do.
There are countless things that you could be doing that would be more beneficial; exercising, reading, getting more sleep, preparing a healthy meal.
But maybe the most beneficial thing you can do with at least some of those hours is starting up a side hustle. Everyone should have more than one source of income. Your side hustle doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, at first anyway.
Even if it doesn’t, having extra money coming in can go a long way towards helping you meet your financial goals.
5. They Keep it Simple
All of us only have so much energy to expend. Wealthy people don’t expend their precious energy on mundane things because they need it to deal with important things.
This helps us avoid what is called decision fatigue. When you have too many decisions to make, even if most of them are small decisions, your willpower and ability to make good decisions starts to wane.
This is why Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day and why Warren Buffett eats the same fast food breakfast sandwich most days.
Don’t waste time and energy dithering over little things that don’t matter to the bigger picture like what color shower curtain liner to buy or whether to serve broccoli or asparagus tonight for dinner.
Some good ways to take these kinds of decisions off your plate is to build a capsule wardrobe of basic pieces that work together and to come up with a dozen recipes that everyone in your family likes and just rotate them.
When you do have big decisions to make, make them in the morning after a full night of sleep and not while you’re hungry. If you’ve ever been starving and decided to stop for a fast food meal rather than going home and cooking, you know how hunger can affect decision making.
Limit your options. Choice is a good thing but too many choices can be overwhelming, and we can freeze with indecision. If you are faced with a dozen choices for your 401k plan, you don’t have to read the 75-page prospectus for each one.
Thirty minutes of research will allow you to narrow down your choices to the best three. From there you can investigate all three more fully, so you make the best decision.
6. They Have Patience
Wealthy people do not practice instant gratification in any area but especially not in areas concerning money. That’s why you never hear of a wealthy person who became that way through some kind of get rich quick scheme.
They know building wealth takes time and anyone or anything promising to make you rich fast is a scam.
Investing is a long-term thing. Even small sums of money invested and left untouched for enough time can become big sums of money.
Growing a business (or a side hustle) takes time. If you abandon every investment or every project you start because they didn’t make you rich in six months, you are never going to achieve wealth.
7. They Make Their Bed in the Morning
What could this possibly have to do with being wealthy, making your bed is such a small thing? Ahh, that’s it precisely.
Making your bed is a small thing, but small things often have big consequences. Making your bed in the morning gives you a sense of accomplishment before you’ve even left your bedroom.
Because one good habit serves as the foundation for further good habits practiced throughout the day, making your bed first thing in the morning is an easy cornerstone to lay. It doesn’t take any thought, time or much effort but it sets you up to make good decisions throughout the day.
Think about your eating habits. If you eat a healthy breakfast, you don’t want to “ruin” the effects by eating an unhealthy lunch.
If you got up early to work out in the morning, you don’t want to undo that hard work by coming home and polishing off a bottle of wine. Good decisions lead to more good decisions.
8. They Choose Their 5 Carefully
Jim Rohn believed that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Those people have the most influence on our behavior, our decision, and our self-esteem.
Who are those five people for you? Are they people with the same habits and goals that you have? Are they positive, optimistic people? Do you feel good when you spend time with them?
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, you need to reevaluate who you allow into your life. You should be surrounded by people who are successful, healthy, smart, happy, and who support you in making good decisions and discourage you from making poor ones.
9. They Are Educated
Educated doesn’t necessarily mean they attended an Ivy League school or even attended college at all. It means that wealthy people are always learning.
Read a lot of books or audiobooks, some of them should be personal finance related. Listen to podcasts, read newspapers including a few from outside the US, it’s a great big world out there and what happens in other places can affect the US economy and your money.
10. They Enjoy Their Work
We spend too much of our lives working to hate what we do for a living. This isn’t to say that everyone has to have their dream job. There are only so many of us who have what it takes to become an astronaut or professional athlete.
But if you want to be happy and successful, you must find some enjoyment and fulfillment from the work you do.
This doesn’t always happen overnight, and sometimes it takes a few tries to find what we enjoy doing. That’s okay. Remember, wealthy people, are patient.
Most everyone has to pay their dues in the beginning, and that often means spending a lot of your time doing things you might not enjoy. As long as you are in a position to move up to a position you will enjoy, that’s okay.
If you don’t enjoy your work, you have to come up with a plan to find something better. This is where networking and being around positive, successful people can come in. They can help you find work you will enjoy.
11. They Know When to Move On
While wealthy people are patient, they also know when to cut their losses and move on. We all hate to admit we were wrong and that’s what makes us refuse to admit defeat and continue to sink time and money into something or someone that is not going to be beneficial.
When it becomes clear that despite your time and effort, something is just not going to work, whether it’s a job, a relationship, or a side hustle, learn from your mistakes, remember what you did right, and move on to the next thing.
12. They Are Less Risk Adverse
Wealthy people are not afraid to take a risk but a calculated risk. They may jump out of the airplane but they have triple checked their parachute. Many of us have passed up an opportunity because we were afraid of the risk.
That might mean you didn’t take a great job offer on the other side of the country because you were afraid to leave what was familiar or you turned down a promotion at your current company because you were too comfortable at the level you were at.
Being afraid of a new challenge or leaving the familiar are never good reasons not to take a calculated risk. Don’t be afraid to fail.
13. They Know Where to Spend
Sure wealthy people might drive older, less flashy cars than rich people but the car they bought was a reliable car. They could have spent less on a car than they did but spending the least amount of money possible is not a habit of the wealthy.
They buy for quality because they want to get the most for the money they do spend. In other words, they are frugal, not cheap.
14. They Look After Their Things
The reliable car the wealthy person bought ten years ago is reliable because they looked after it properly.
They researched to find a good mechanic whom they can trust, they schedule regular maintenance, they don’t ignore warning lights, and they have the proper insurance coverage so if there is a problem, they don’t take the financial hit.
Even high-quality things won’t last forever unless you take care of them correctly. That kind of little upkeep now and then whether it’s regular oil changes for your car or regularly polishing your shoes, makes the things you spend money on last even longer.
15. They Take Emotion Out of Investing
As I write this, the Dow Jones has just plunged 1,175 points, and $4 trillion has been lost over a period of eight days. If you let emotion rule your investing decisions, you might panic as many people have clearly done and start selling off your investments.
That would be a mistake. As Warren Buffett says, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” When you invest money, you have to tune out scary headlines and the pundits on CNBC shouting at you.
Once you have done your due diligence, investing should be a hand’s off, set it and forget it endeavor. Remember, another habit of wealthy people is patience.
16. They Don’t Make Wishes
While some of us make wishes, wealthy people make plans. We might wish to save a million by age 40, but wishing is all we do.
Wealthy people will take the steps they need actually to do it; save 20% of their income, stay out of credit card debt, network so they can stay on the lookout for a better opportunity, and spend their spare time making extra money with a side hustle rather than watching television or playing video games.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are blowing out birthday candles and hoping for the long end of the wishbone.
17. They’re Lucky
The definition of lucky that we mean is “Luck equals opportunity plus preparation.” Take the networking to find a better opportunity for example. A wealthy person planning to attend a networking event will do a lot of preparation ahead of time.
They will know who is attending, what they do and for whom. They know who they want to talk to. They know something about that person and their company.
They have copies of their updated resumes with them. They get business cards from the people they want to further engage with and follow up the next day to schedule something, even if it’s just a casual meeting over coffee.
Those are the kinds of people who “luck into” good opportunities.
Anyone Can Do It
Did you notice anything about this list? Despite the fact that the word “Wealthy” is in the title, most of the habits we listed have nothing to do with money and they are things anyone can do. It’s because these habits don’t only apply to money.
Broadly speaking, wealthy people are successful in other areas of their lives too because they have these good habits. Things like being patient, surrounding yourself with good people, and not making decisions based on emotions are good habits and have positive impacts on our overall lives.
Start with what is probably the easiest thing on this list, making your bed every morning. Then choose another thing, maybe choose one that takes a little more effort, like going to a networking event.
Every week or month, add another thing until these habits of the wealthy are your habits too. You will be surprised how easy it is to incorporate these habits into your everyday life and the tremendous impact they will have.