I grew up in an upper-class neighborhood, filled to the brim with Wall Street execs and ladies who lunch. However, I myself didn’t have much money. When I first started out on my own, I wasn’t always able to afford rent. I often got angry and even jealous of those who had more than I did.
Oh, how things have changed.
It took me a while and a lot of hard work, but eventually, I started to get onto my own two feet. These days, I realize that there are a lot of interesting tricks that the wealthy do that keep their heads above water. People aren’t lying when they say that being rich is a mindset.
Today, much of my time is spent figuring out what makes someone wealthy. Is it luck? Or, is there a way to change that luck? As someone who has been among poor people and the ultra-rich, here are some of the most interesting things I’ve noted about those who gain wealth.
1. Poor people don’t think for themselves, rich people often do.
Maybe it’s the individualist in me, or maybe it’s the type of wealthy people I’ve met, but I’ve noticed this trend a lot. The majority of people I have met who have "followed the herd" with everything from their life choices to their careers aren’t well off.
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People often expect success to be formulaic, and that the old school advice on "what you’re supposed to do" should always hold water. The thing is, life doesn’t work that way. By the time advice becomes traditional, it stops being useful—and starts being the way everyone works. Unfortunately, that means that following that advice will make you average at best.
The wealthiest people I know have been extremely individualistic, even if their wardrobe of choice is a suit. They think for themselves and go outside the norm on a regular basis. As such, they also tend to be more tolerant and open-minded about new concepts, people, and opportunities.
2. Poor people do not have ties to wealth, while the rich actively seek them out.
This is often the biggest divisor between the rich and the poor: their networks. When you’re born into money, it’s easier to stay rich. It’s actually statistically proven to be the case, even on a global scale.
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The easiest way to get money is to network with the right people. When you’re not born into money, you often have to seek out people who already are wealthy in order to get opportunities, learn from them, or even fund your business.
Studies show that you will statistically make around the same amount of money that your five closest friends do. So, who are your friends?
3. The wealthy invest wisely—in both themselves and in others.
Most people who make up the 1% do not make their money at a job. They make it via investing, or via starting their own company. Most people who get enough money at their jobs to be in the 1% do so because they invested time in networking as well as invested time into improving their skill sets.
The poor invest too, but often do so in items that have low returns or people who simply aren’t good for them. If they do invest in wise decisions, they often do so as flukes.
4. The wealthy invest in appearances differently than the poor do.
One thing you’ll notice is that it’s very rare to find a wealthy person who is bragging about $200 shoes or proudly boasts that they have a Gucci bag. The reason why is simple: they don’t need to say that they can afford those things.
The most financially shaky people I know are the ones who tend to wear the flashy clothing—and it’s a trap I’ve fallen into, myself, back in the day.
A better way to invest like a wealthy person is to have a few good clothes that fit you well and make you appear educated, rather than a pile of designer duds that you went broke paying for.
5. Rich people are also more inclined to marry than poor people are.
Bitter divorcees might want to rethink their outlook on marriage. If you look at the numbers, it literally pays to get hitched.
Studies show that people who marry have higher earnings at jobs and are also likely to have better standards of living. People who are wealthy are also much more likely to pop the question than people who aren’t.
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That’s not even the worst of it, either! Statistically, being single is more expensive than being married, too. Most people I know who are adamantly against marriage are broke and are worried about "the spouse taking every dollar" in the event of a divorce. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
6. Wealthy people generally have no problem asking for more.
Call it "entitled" or call it "aggressive," but it’s true. Most people who get rich are very vocal about their wants and needs—even over tiny little things like discounts and rent. This often leads them to better deals.
A lot of people who are poor avoid asking for what they need and often will avoid walking away from offers, even when they know they’re getting scammed. Getting what you want often will require asking for what you want. Of course, you don’t have to be a jerk about it, but asking still remains important.
7. Those who are very wealthy are quick to cut out toxic people from their lives.
Toxic people are a dime a dozen! And they do a lot more than drain your emotions and time; they drain your bank account, too. It’s scary how many people I’ve met who had passed up serious opportunities or gave up huge swaths of their time to people who don’t deserve it.
Most people aren’t aware of how bad people can be to your bank account until they actually cut others out from their circles. Cut toxic people out, and you’ll be shocked at how much your bank account grows.
8. Wealthy people are way more time-oriented than poor people are.
This is one of the most striking differences between the rich and the poor. When you spend time, you can’t get it back. With money, you can. As a result, wealthy people will value their time much more than they do money.
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To save time, they will outsource projects to others. If they feel others don’t value their time enough, they also walk away—possibly even at the risk of losing out on a lot of money. This is also a primary reason why wealthy people charge more for their service.
9. The rich have routines; the poor often don’t.
I speak this from experience. Routines work. By numbers, wealthy people are more likely to have routines. It helps them focus and also cuts down the chances for them to do something stupid.
10. Statistically, the rich also hit the gym more often than the poor do.
Whether this is because the poor don’t have time or not is up to debate, but the numbers don’t lie. A survey of the most wealthy people in the world showed that 75% of all millionaire or billionaire individuals have aerobic exercise at least four times a week.
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It’s also worth pointing out that good-looking people, particularly if they are not overweight, also make more when working a job. Statistically, the "pretty bonus" can add as much as 10% to your salary per year. All things considered, it’s a good investment.
11. The rich read, the poor watch reality TV.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Jersey Shore as much as anyone else. However, studies show that reading is a "rich person" activity. Around 88% of all wealthy people read for at least 30 minutes per day. Meanwhile, only 2% of poor people are said to do the same.
Interestingly enough, the same study showed that around 75% of all low-income people watch reality television. The rich, on the other hand? Less than 10% of them would tune in.
12. Rich people are willing to say "no."
The power of "no" is often underrated. Saying it can help you appear authoritative, and also can help you avoid major financial mistakes. The thing that most people hate about saying no is the reactions they get. Wealthy people are used to it, and learn to shrug it off.
From what I’ve seen, poor people are way more conscious about what others think of them. They have a harder time saying no and are far more likely to worry about appearing like a jerk. As a result, they often suffer from it.
13. Wealthy folks are early birds; poor folks sleep in.
You might think of sleeping in as a luxury, but make no mistake about it—it’s not good for you. When you sleep in, you’re wasting time that could be spent doing things like exercising, working, or even just taking time to enjoy the morning.
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It’s insane how many examples of billionaires are out there that swear by an early morning wakeup call. Richard Branson is one of many wealthy people who gets up at 6 AM so that he can go out and do some exercise. Another? Dwayne Johnson, who gets up at 4 AM. Jack Dorsey, another wealthy guy, waked up at 5 every morning so he can work out.
14. The wealthy are more interested in self-promotion.
Surprised? Don’t be. The reason why you hear about rich people is because they spend a ton of time promoting themselves, their brands, and their products.
15. Finally, rich people don’t give up.
I’m not saying that we’re all going to be wealthy if we keep at it, but I am saying that there is something to be said about tenacity. A lot of wealthy people were very close to giving up on their dreams when they finally made it big.
If you’re worried about not making it, don’t stop what you’re doing. Work harder, and maybe one day, I’ll be writing about your habits, too.