I recently shared 10 Highly Effective Habits of Frugal People, and that post got me thinking about the habits of rich people. What makes them so successful? Is it just luck, or is there something more to what they’re doing? I believe it all comes down to habits and a motivated, healthy mindset. At the end of the day, if you’re not developing good habits, then chances are you’re probably unknowingly developing poor habits.
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” – Colin Powell
Like most things in life, your attitude and daily habits have a tremendous impact on your level of success. I’m such a firm believer in manifesting your own destiny, and a big part of that is the internal mantra that “it all starts with me.” If I believe in myself and my dreams, then I have to make it happen. We must be willing to actively pursue our goals. Once you establish daily habits that are in place to propel you forward, your vision board can become reality.
10 Highly Effective Habits of Rich People
1. Keep Track of Your Money
Do you know how much you spend each month down to the penny? If not, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. As I pointed out in Financial Fitness in 2021, 65% of households don’t know how much they spent last month! Most working adults can tell you their exact income, just not what they spend. You work hard for your money, now it’s time to treat it that way!
Rich people typically have complete control over their finances. They usually follow a strict budget and know exactly where their money goes. Once you track your expenses, as in every dollar that goes out, you will have a greater understanding of how to value your money. For me, it was eye opening to say the least and completely changed our household spending habits. It allowed us to revamp our budget and cut down on the waste. If you want to learn more about tracking your dollars, read more over on Why The Dollar Tracker Makes More Cents.
2. Read (a lot)
Rich, successful people read a lot! Continuous learning, growth, and development are imperative to mastering any skill. One of the most important keys to success is investing in yourself. We live in the age of global information and have access to more knowledge than anytime in human history. The wealthy simply capitalize on this opportunity and constantly strive to improve their knowledge. It’s even reported that Warren Buffet, arguably the greatest investor of our time, still reads 500 pages every single day.
I get that it’s unrealistic for most people to find time to read 500 pages daily, but I would challenge you to start slowly with just a few pages each day. Once you incorporate reading as part of your routine, it will become a habit that you do without even realizing. Investing time and energy to improve yourself will never leave you empty handed.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” — Richard Steele
If you’re still searching for a good place to start, check out my recommendations in 6 Must Read Books to Prevent Debt Payoff Burnout and 5 Must Read Books That Will Empower and Inspire You.
Okay, we all know exercise has plenty of benefits to your physical health, but what about your mental health? How often do you feel not only physically, but mentally drained? Those binge watching sessions and laying around scrolling through our phones leave us feeling exhausted.
No one is saying you should hit the gym for an hour each day to help control your finances, but maybe start small by integrating a daily walk into your routine. Steve Jobs, Apple Co-founder, famously walked during all of his important meetings to increase creativity and productivity. Walking even 20 minutes a day has been proven to sharpen your mind and boost your overall mood. What could be more frugal than that? A daily walk with my family after dinner has improved my physical and mental wellbeing.
4. Don’t Avoid Risk
“The greater the risk, the greater the reward!” It may seem counter-intuitive to many, but taking risks is a strategic habit of the rich. They aren’t afraid to lose money and even expect it to happen on occasion. I’m not saying throw all your money away on a long shot or anything like that, but you have to learn to take calculated risks. Some people are so afraid to take a chance that they never end up actually doing anything that will deliver great reward. Develop skills that will allow you to recognize and capitalize on a good opportunity.
Several years back, my husband was extremely interested in Bitcoin and followed its updates daily. A Bitcoin? I feel you, I still don’t know anything about cryptocurrency, or whatever it’s called. He, on the other hand, researched and saw a good opportunity. At the time, the price of a Bitcoin was in the low hundreds, but he just didn’t want to take the risk. Fast forward to present-day and the price of a Bitcoin currently trades at almost $50,000! His unwillingness to take a risk resulted in a huge missed opportunity and valuable lesson learned. (Side note: The lesson I learned – Don’t bring up the subject of Bitcoin around him.)
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky
5. Avoid Television
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I love trashy reality TV and binge watching. This habit of avoiding television is one I had trouble getting behind early on. It wasn’t until we actually pulled the plug and cut our cable that I realized how the instant gratification and mind numbing programs were robbing me of the daily opportunities to pursue my passions and be the best version of myself. Now, I understand why rich, successful people rarely watch TV. It is mind blowing how big of an impact this one small change can make in your overall wellbeing, health and creativity. The time spent zoning out in a show can be better spent pursuing your goals and dreams. Check out How I Saved $1,800/year Cutting Cable and [un]Plugged-In: How Giving Up TV Changed My Life.
6. Go to Bed Early
Going to bed early is something I struggle to do. The constant glow of the phone seems to attract me like a moth to a bug zapper. Also I’m on level 10,000 of Candy Crush. I know I should put it up and go to bed, but I just get sucked in.
Let’s face it, getting a good night’s sleep is critical to being productive the following day. I’m working on it, so I’m totally preaching to the choir here!
A nighttime routine is the best way to ensure you give your body and brain enough time to recharge. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep to accomplish this. Turning off the Netflix and putting down the phone at least an hour before you plan to fall asleep helps tremendously. If you’re struggling to find ways to integrate reading into your daily habits, this is the perfect time to crack open a book. Studies show that reading before bed followed by a good night’s sleep boosts your ability to retain information.
If you’re still struggling with this, I’d recommend reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. He speaks about the benefits of going to bed and waking up early. Imagine what all you could accomplish with an extra 2 hours each day!
We’ve all heard the old sayings “Talk is cheap” and “Actions speak louder than words.” Affluent people develop the habit of doing instead of just talking. They act on their goals and continuously strive to accomplish their dreams. Even if progress may seem slow, it’s still a step in the direction of success. Laying a brick each and every day will eventually build a whole house, but you have to lay the bricks. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a person cannot make a decision, which leaves them in a state of limbo, accomplishing nothing. I would rather make a bad decision and learn from it than stay stagnant. We have to take action if we want to see progress.
“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
8. Value Relationships
Cultivate meaningful relationships and learn to eliminate ones that waste your time and energy. Valuable relationships require work. A great marriage doesn’t just happen, it takes constant commitment. Friendship is not a one-way street that should feel like a drain. It’s important to identify relationships that do not serve you well and make the decision to either improve it or eliminate it. It’s just as important to nurture and care for the strong relationships in your life.
Understanding the value of a good relationship and surrounding yourself with trusted individuals are keys to success. Building a strong network of like-minded people that are aligned with your long-term goals is a rich man’s gold.
While this habit sounds simplistic, it can be one of the hardest to conquer. It’s human nature for people to grow, and sometimes people we love don’t grow along with us. It can definitely be hard to let people go and move on, but it’s critical in certain situations. Time wasted on relationships we’ve outgrown is lost forever and can be better focused on the ones that can further our growth. Surround yourself with strong friends and partners, develop and nurture those relationships, and weed out the ones taking up your precious time.
9. Dream Big
This is an interesting habit to me. It’s not so much something you’re trying to develop but something you’re trying to get back. Remember when you were a kid and anything was possible? What happened to those dreams? Big, huge, unfiltered dreams.
Rich people don’t forget how to dream big. They don’t simply dream about buying a vacation house on a tropical island, because they’re too busy planning on owning the entire island. Whatever your dreams are, people may never understand them and, even more likely, try to convince you those dreams are unreachable. Understand that you should not be limited by anyone. Imagine how many people told Jeff Bezos he was crazy for thinking he could create the largest online marketplace in the world. Instead of listening to those negative voices, he chased his dream one book at a time and left those naysayers in the dust.
So, if your dream is to be debt free, start with one debt at a time. When your dreams are extremely large, small challenges will appear as tiny bumps on the road to success. Before you know it, you’ll be halfway there and eventually crossing the finish line. Every goal is attainable if you believe and actively pursue it.
“At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable.” — Christopher Reeve
10. Don’t Give Up
Why is it that we are so quick to give up on ourselves? I lecture my kids about always believing in themselves and to never quit on their dreams. I tell them they can do anything they put their minds to and they’re capable of achieving greatness. Yet, I’m the first to want to throw the towel in when the going gets tough. It’s naturally engrained into our minds to quit on something when it gets hard, to procrastinate when the job seems overwhelming, and to second guess our abilities when faced with a challenge.
Rich, successful people don’t quit. The just don’t. When they set their mind to a goal, they commit 100% of their efforts. They dive head first and settle for nothing less than absolute success, finding creative ways to solve problems and simply never giving up.
I’m challenging myself and you to believe in ourselves, trust our capabilities, meet the challenges head-on, and never give up on our dreams!
Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, get rich, or just be the best version of yourself, personal finance is a skill everyone can use to develop better habits. The truth is success looks different to all of us, because our dreams vary. Being rich doesn’t always mean you have millions of dollars in the bank. You can be wealthy in many ways, and finding your version of success, whatever that means to you, is worth its weight in gold.
“Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” — William Makepeace Thackeray
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