My last two posts have mainly focused on the internal world (thoughts) of the wealthy. Success, however, is a combination of our attitudes (internal) and our habits (external).
Before I go any further into today’s post, I want to clarify a few things:
- Wealth does not (automatically) equal success. If fact, you can find story after story of wealthy people who are estranged from their families and have no real friends. However, while the media loves to focus on those types of stories, there are many stories of wealthy people who are very successful in other areas of their lives as well.
- You may not want to be wealthy. Wealth brings additional challenges that some people may not want. The habits and attitudes defined here, however, can help in any area of your life.
- We are not wealthy (yet). We are doing better financially than we ever have, and I am confident that these habits will only improve what we have done.
- These posts only apply to those in a free-market economy, such as America. Being born in poverty in a third-world country brings an entirely different set of challenges. People born in poverty, however, can rise out of it using these types of habits.
If you would like to be better off in the future than you are now, however, this post, and my previous two posts, should help.
My post today is based on some great research that Tom Corley has done. He spent five years studying the habits of the wealthy and the poor. Tom’s family was wealthy until he was about 10, then they lost everything overnight and lived in poverty the next 11 years. Tom didn’t want to live this way – he wanted to know exactly what wealthy people did to become and stay wealthy. Here are some key findings from his five-years of research:
- The wealthy live within their means. They save approximately 20% of their income and spend no more than 25% on housing, 15% on food and 10% on entertainment. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about millionaires:
“Millionaires become millionaires by budgeting and controlling expenses, and they maintain their affluent status the same way.” -The Millionaire Next Door
- 88% of the wealthy read at least 30 minutes per day about their career, education or for self-improvement. Only 2% of the poor do this. 63% listen to audiobooks as they commute, while only 5% of the poor do this.
- 67% of the wealthy watch less than an hour of TV per day. 77% of the poor watch more than an hour of TV per day. Instead of watching TV the wealthy work on hobbies, or side businesses, or they volunteer and network.
- And speaking of volunteering… 3/4 of wealthy people volunteer with an organization or cause they believe in at least 5 hours a month, while only 10% of the poor do this. Volunteering is a great way to network as well.
- 62% of the wealthy are focused on at least one major goal every day. Only 6% of the poor do this.
- The wealthy wake up early – 44% get up three hours before their work day begins. 3% of the poor do this.
- 81% of the wealthy make and prioritize a to-do list the night before, while only 19% of poor people do. In addition, they focus on the tasks – they complete, on average, 70% of their list.
There are other habits as well, but these seven are a good starting place. If you were to pick one or two of these to begin focusing on, what would you choose?
My plans are to work on:
- Listening to audiobooks as I commute
- Waking up earlier
- Prioritizing my to-do list the night before
I would love to hear what area you are focusing on – please leave your comments below!
Will you please cite these statistics? Thanks. 🙂
Thanks for the reminder! I should have posted that in the article. It’s in Corley’s book Rich Habits:
Mark Hersom says
Great article. Planning out your day, is something I teach and do. I tell people how can you go on a trip with a map. Planning out your day, help you accomplish more in a day.