I have worked as a Pension Administrator in the retirement plan industry for over a decade. We handle thousands of 401k plans, pension plans, and 403b plans, and 457’s. We complete their annual compliance testing, trust accounting, retirement plan designs, assist with processing loans and distributions, and filings of their tax forms such as the Form 5500, 8955-SSA, 1099’s, and 5330’s.
Due to the nature of my job, many of our clients are very wealthy.
I saw kids who had millions, successful business owners, and one of our clients was a very famous celebrity.
The majority of our clients were, I say this again, very wealthy – wealth that I could never even dream of.
Before our financial journey, we were struggling financially. I was living paycheck to paycheck and working with clients who had millions – it was an interesting time.
And, I had never really met anyone with the type of wealth that my clients had. Before this job, I always thought these people didn’t really exist. Or, at least, I never thought I would meet them.
However, I regularly met with these types of clients, and surprisingly, a lot of them were very “normal.”
Quick note: I recommend reading the book The Millionaire Next Door. It’s a great book that talks about this subject!
Sure, there are stories about rich people who spend their money like crazy and end up in bankruptcy.
But, the average millionaire is actually quite smart with their money and quite, surprisingly, simple when it comes to how they live their life. More important, they know how to manage their money well.
The reality is much different than the crazy and farfetched lives you see nowadays on Instagram and YouTube.
If you don’t believe me about how “normal” the uber wealthy can be, here are some examples of rich habits – but those who are wealthy yet frugal:
- Warren Buffett lives in a house that he bought in 1958 for around $30,000.
- Mark Zuckerberg drives an Acura.
- John Caudwell (worth $2.7 billion) rides his bike 14 miles to work every day and even cuts his own hair.
- Jim C. Walton (son of Walmart founder) drives an old truck with no air conditioning.
I have personally met several retirees who have millions and live in an RV. RVing is a ton of fun, but a lot of people just assume that RVers have no money. If only they actually knew! We became friends with one RVer who actually has a nice house and millions in the bank, but he lives in an RV that is worth less than $20,000. You never would have guessed!
If you want to be wealthy (whatever amount of money or lifestyle that means to you), continue reading in order to learn more about the rich habits that allow the successful to keep their money.
They know the value of time.
I still remember to this day a client who had an assistant whose sole purpose was paying the bills. The assistant just spent their day remembering what bills to pay, such as the electricity bill.
At the time, I thought it was nuts. After all, I was having a difficult time paying my own bills and managing my debt, so thinking about how someone had the luxury of hiring someone for such a small task (one that could even be automated) sounded absurd to me.
However, I’m sure they never had a late payment. And, perhaps, they just actually disliked managing that aspect of their life.
By outsourcing tasks, people are able to focus their time on the tasks they actually want to do and value doing. This can help them grow their wealth significantly faster than a person who never outsources or does very little of it.
This is definitely a rich habit. The wealthy and successful understand the value of their time and use it to their advantage. They don’t waste time doing things that they don’t see a benefit from. Even if you aren’t rich, you can take part in this rich habit by automating your bills or writing down in a calendar when they are due. This will ensure that you are spending less on late fees and other penalties.
They wear the same outfits.
The average wealthy person is smart when it comes to spending money on clothing. This rich habit means that by being smart with their spending, they are able to keep their wealth!
The thing about people who are wealthy is that for the most part, they usually look very “normal.”
Usually, they don’t drive Lamborghinis. Sure, you may still see nice cars, but the wealthy are usually spending their money in other areas and aren’t trying to impress others.
And, you’ll often find them wearing similar outfits.
Former President Barack Obama once said, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
Many other successful people feel the same way, including Mark Zuckerberg, the late Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and many others.
The average family spends $1,700 a year on clothing, which is a lot of money. Plus, the average person wastes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes a day when deciding what to wear!
Having too many clothing options can lead to wasting time deciding what to wear, as well as wasting money. If you want to take part in this rich habit, try finding just a few pieces of clothing that you really love and build your outfits from there. Focus on many things going together for any type of situation
They have more than one source of income.
A lot of wealthy people have many sources of income.
They may have a day job, a business (for the most part, the wealthy are business owners along with many other forms of income), rental properties, dividend income, and more. This allows them to bring in more money.
They also do this because the wealthy know that one source of income may not last forever, and they are also able to lessen their risk by having multiple income streams.
They have long-term goals.
Successful people and millionaires are known to set goals, especially long-term ones. Many successful people, especially the self-starters, are extremely determined, and without goals, it would be hard to be successful.
Setting goals is important because without a goal, how do you know where you’re heading? Goals can help keep you motivated and striving for your best.
Please keep this quote from Statistic Brain in mind, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”
And, it’s true!
This is an easy rich habit to start. Whether it is just making a yearly resolution or creating a vision board for your goals, anyone can set a goal to start working towards. While some long-term goals may seem unattainable, such as early retirement, tracking your progress will help you stay on track.
They have a budget.
Yes, even the wealthy have a budget!
Not all of them have a traditional budget, but trust me, they know where their money is going, and they are closely watching their cash flow.
Tracking your money and knowing where it is going can help you see where you’re wasting money and what spending habits need to be changed.
Whether you are just using a pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or a budget app, this rich habit is one that will help you work towards your financial goals.
I personally like using the EveryDollar App. You simply enter your income and expenses and the app does the math for you.
They educate themselves on financial matters.
When the wealthy and successful are unsure of a financial decision, they usually either seek out financial advice from a professional expert and/or they seek out the knowledge they need by educating themselves.
The wealthy and successful are always learning.
They read numerous books, attend classes, read the newspaper, and more.
By reading this blog you are already taking part in this rich habit, but don’t forget about ebooks, other online articles, or even by checking out finance books from the library.
They realize the value of experts.
Continuing from the previous point, the rich are interested in educating themselves, but they also know when to hire help.
Knowing when to get help from accountants, lawyers, experts, and more can help them take advantage of confusing laws, areas where they aren’t experts, etc. This can prevent wasteful spending, bad investments, and unnecessary legal issues.
This helps them save time as well as money!
We can’t all hire out help when we need it, but there may be some areas in your life when this rich habit may be accessible. This can be as small as hiring someone to clean your house once a month or using a meal service to help take the stress out of cooking for your family everyday.
They don’t fall for lifestyle inflation.
The wealthy and successful tend to live way below their means. Yes, some of them still spend money extravagantly, but many aren’t living paycheck to paycheck in order to do so.
Many wealthy people buy items used, they drive “normal” cars like Toyotas, and they aren’t trying to keep up with the Joneses.
This is drastically different from those who aren’t millionaires.
Here are some money statistics that may scare you:
- 68% of people live paycheck to paycheck.
- 26% have no emergency savings.
- The average household has $7,283 in credit card debt.
- The average monthly new car payment is around $480.
Many people try to keep up with others and fall for lifestyle inflation, which can prevent you from being smart with your money.
When trying to keep up with the Joneses, you might spend money you do not have. You might put expenses on credit cards so that you can (in a pretend world) “afford” things. You might buy things that you do not care about. The problems can go on and on.
Taking part in this rich habit is another easy one. Before you purchase something new, think about it’s long-term value to you and why you are purchasing it. If you want it just because it’s the newest thing on the market, you should probably think twice about your motivations and think about the positives of not buying that new car, pair of shoes, TV, etc.
We personally buy almost everything used because it saves us so much money. Our car, phones, laptop, home decor items, kitchen appliances, and books are all second hand. Thanks to this, we literally saved thousands of dollars that we were then able to put into our savings. And you know what? Quality wise, they were literally almost brand new.
As I said earlier, think twice before purchasing something new. Chances are you can find it second hand for a lot cheaper.
They still use coupons and haggle.
This may be surprising, but many wealthy people still use coupons and even negotiate in order to get the best pricing!
According to AOL’s article Guess Who Clips the Most Coupons?, households with average incomes of $100,000 or more actually clip more coupons than those who bring in less than $35,000.
You can sign up for coupon apps or look to your local paper and online to take part in this rich habit.
The wealthy make their money work for them, and that is how they stay rich.
Most of the clients I dealt with were well invested too. They weren’t trying to beat the market, and they weren’t falling for get rich quick schemes. Instead, I saw a lot of well diversified portfolios, lots of Vanguard and other funds, and more.
Investing is important because it means you are making your money work for you. If you aren’t investing, your money is just sitting there.
This is important to note because $100 today will not be worth $100 in the future if you just let it sit under a mattress or in a checking account. However, if you invest, then you can actually turn your $100 into something more. When you invest, your money is working for you and hopefully earning you income.
- If you put $1,000 into a retirement account that has an annual 8% return, 40 years later that would turn into $21,724.
- If you started with that same $1,000 and put an extra $1,000 in it for the next 40 years at an annual 8% return, that would then turn into $301,505.
- If you started with $10,000 and put an extra $10,000 in it for the next 40 years at an annual 8% return, that would then turn into $3,015,055.
What other successful and rich habits am I missing? Share in the comments below!
Read my other posts…
- The Basics of F.I.R.E (Financial Independence Retire Early)
- How Much Money Should I Save Each Month? How Much Do I Need To Retire?