It can seem, sometimes, that wealth is just a matter of luck, despite the fact our country’s ethos—the American Dream—is that anyone can be self-made. The truth is, non-inherited wealth is grown over time due to habits and mindsets the rest of us everyday schlubs may not have adopted just yet. Here, 11 things rich people do that you may want to copy ASAP.
11 Things Rich People Do Differently
Some of us (ahem) don't think much about our money until our debit cards get declined. Others are always thinking about our bank statements, and these smart cookies set regular financial goals to which they hold themselves accountable. We suggest writing down each goal, whether it's to save a certain amount or to pay off a certain amount of debt. Remember: The smaller and more incremental the goal, the easier it is to achieve (e.g., weekly or even daily goals versus monthly or yearly ones). If you're not great at holding your own feet to the fire, consider enlisting the help of an accountability partner. This person should check in with you regularly to see if you are meeting your goals (and vice versa).
If you're anything like us, you have a general idea of how much you want to save each month, and yet somehow, by month's end, that money seems to have disappeared. If you actually want to save, you'd be wise to automate a deduction from your checking account to your savings account monthly—no take-backs allowed. As Warren Buffet once said, "Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving."
It's not exactly natural to think more about our well-being in the future than it is to consider our present-day happiness; however, people who accumulate (and keep) wealth tend to have a longer lead time in terms of the payoffs they require for certain behaviors. If you're weighing your desire to splurge right now (be it on an expensive sushi dinner or a fully-loaded Tesla) as being more important than your financial security in the future, you're not yet thinking like the wealthy. While we don't advocate for forsaking all joy in the moment, it's important to understand what you can actually, reasonably afford to spend now in order to best set yourself up for the future.
Not all rich people do this (well, we're sure that North West's designer wardrobe still qualifies as being scrappy, if you consider the size of that family's bank account), but those who make their wealth last over time generally do. If you're the type of person who massively upgrades your life every time you achieve a minor raise, it may be time to rethink your strategy a bit. Though we all envied Carrie Bradshaw's shoe collection, most of us don't have a friend who will buy our apartment for us in a pinch due to our irresponsible spending. She may have liked "her money where she can see it"—on her feet—but sadly, the path toward wealth requires you leave most of the "bank" you make in the bank. On a related note, the wealthy do not carry credit card balances from month-to-month. Just, no.
This can be a depressing exercise, but it's also necessary if you want to best utilize your time. If you know you can make $1,000 an hour, for example, you're more likely to spend that hour working than you are to spend it watching TV. (For the record, we do not earn $1,000 an hour, but if you do, kudos—delete your Netflix and Instagram accounts ASAP so you can make it rain!) Also, optimizing your hourly earnings generally cannot happen within a 9-to-5, as salaried jobs are rarely the most efficient means for earning money if you look at it from an hourly perspective.
Sure, some people are rich because their parents are rich. Those who are self-made, however, are not likely to have suffered an early setback and given up as a result. The wealthiest self-made people (think Oprah or Steve Jobs, who was fired from his own company) persevered in the face of failure, and likely more than once.
Often, the most impressive earners in the world skipped college to pursue their passion. They slept on couches, borrowed more money than they could ever hope to pay back and worked odd jobs most would consider beneath them in order to get to their goal. One of our favorite stories to this end is the one about Brad Pitt and his neighbors. When the actor was starting out in Hollywood, he had such little money that he and his friends next door would sell their couch back and forth, enabling one apartment an influx of cash when in need, and so on. Brad didn't know he would one day be one of the biggest stars in the world, but rather than take a corporate job that would have allowed him to keep his own couch consistently, he bet big on himself and a sacrificed a lot in the process of doing so—and it paid off.
Self-made wealthy people often have tunnel vision when it comes to the pursuit that eventually makes them all of their money, often to the point of obsession. In other words, they're not "jacks of all trades, masters of none"—they identify one goal, usually something about which they are greatly passionate—and they work hard until it's been achieved. They don't get distracted easily, they don't make a lot of excuses for themselves and they don't waste time on paid gigs they're dispassionate about.
Okay, gross, but it's true that our peers greatly influence our behaviors. Take a look at who you associate with the most—some say we are "the average of the five people we spend the most time with." If you are looking to enter a certain field, reach a certain level of success in your current career, or so on, we suggest you try to find peers who are already where you want to be. Playing video games on your boyfriend's couch isn't going to get you to be a world-famous screenwriter or a high-powered attorney, nor is clubbing with your aimless party friends.
Research done by author Steve Siebold proves that this important difference exists between the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy. Most people think of money as an adversary, a consistent source of stress, a number that needs to be earned or saved against great odds. Not so with the wealthy. They see money as something that can solve problems and better their lives. "[The middle class] sees money as a never-ending necessary evil that must be endured as part of life," Siebold says. "The world class sees money as the great liberator, and with enough of it, they are able to purchase financial peace of mind."
Well, file this one under "major bummers." According to Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals author Thomas Corley, 67% of rich people said they watch less than an hour of TV per day as opposed to just 23% of poor people who said the same. Maybe, though, that's because the rich people are busy eating gold-plated oysters on yachts? We're just going to assume so and keep Netflix-bingeing inspirational documentaries instead of actually making moves to do anything extraordinary on our own. We hear the odds of winning the lottery aren't so bad.
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