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Habits of Financially Successful People


Sometimes wealth comes to those who are lucky; they win the lottery or they decided to invest in Apple in 1981 when the share price was just $28.83. However, it's far more likely their wealth came through good habits.

Sometimes wealth comes to those who are lucky; they win the lottery or they decided to invest in Apple in 1981 when the share price was just $28.83. However, it’s far more likely their wealth came through good habits.

Wealthy people actually have a lot of the same traits and habits that enable them to persevere through difficult times and come out on top with millions (or billions) of dollars. It’s not a coincidence that the rich share these habits.

Of course, that doesn’t mean waking up early and reading more is guaranteed to make you a millionaire in 10, 20, or 30 years. However, there’s no denying the “rags to riches” story. Marketing firm NowSourcing reported that 68% of the Americans on Forbes’ Billionaires List are self-made billionaires—they didn’t inherit their fortunes.

Clearly the right habits can be a roadmap to success. Author Tom Corley interviewed 233 wealthy people and 128 poor people during a 5-year period. He found that the wealthy people had similar habits to one another and the poor people had similar habits, and there was a huge difference between the 2 groups.

The rich are definitely creatures of habit with 84% believing that good habits create opportunity and 76% believing that bad habits have a negative impact.

To-do lists

According to NowSourcing, 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list and, more than that, they check off at least 70% of that list a day. In comparison, just 9% of people who struggle financially have a to-do list. Having goals and writing them down gives them a purpose, something to strive toward.

Don’t allow a list to overwhelm you, though. Financially successful people focus on accomplishing a specific goal at a time, and they make sure their daily actions are aligned with longer-term goals. While 80% of wealthy people focus on a specific goal, just 12% of poor people do the same.

In order to get through that list and actually accomplish what they want, successful people have learned how to manage their time effectively.

Wake up early

True, there isn’t an overwhelming majority of wealthy people who wake up early, but 44% of them get up 3-plus hours before work, which is far more than the 3% of poor people. In the hours before going to work, successful people focus on self improvement and reading educational material relating to their jobs.

Waking up early is also a common trait of the super wealthy. Many CEOs and business leaders are the type of people who wake up at 5 in the morning, read the paper, send out some emails, and fit in some time to exercise all before heading in to the office.

Keep healthy

Corley found that 70% of wealthy people ate less than 300 junk food calories each day. In comparison, 97% of poor people ate more than 300 junk food calories a day.

True, healthy foods aren’t cheap, but financially successful people try to eat healthy and stay fit because health issues can interfere with their ability to make money. Plus, staying healthy reduces medical expenses and lessens the strain on their finances.

Three-quarters of successful people are said to exercise aerobically 4 days a week compared to 23% of people who struggle financially.


Instead of relaxing in front of the TV, wealthy people gravitate toward books. Not only does 86% claim that they love to read, but 88% read at least 30 minutes each day and 63% listen to audiobooks during a commute.

According to Corley, the reading that wealthy people do is often for education or for career-related reasons. He also found that 76% read 2 or more education-related, self help-related books a month, which is something the poor don’t do.

Continue to learn

Related to their desire to read, wealthy people believe in the importance in continuing to learn throughout their lives. They put an emphasis on education, reading, and self-improvement and as a result wealthy people commonly adapt and evolve easily.

While 86% of successful people believe in lifelong educational self-improvement, just 5% of those who struggle financially agree.

Successful people stay successful because they aren’t afraid to change their minds or entertain other viewpoints. In their pursuit of knowledge, they allow what they learn to mold them. Continuous learning helps them develop new skills to keep them valuable to shareholders, clients, and consumers.

Surround themselves with other wealthy people

Wealthy people spend a lot of time around other successful people. In fact, 79% network 5 or more hours each month. They place importance on building relationships by returning phone calls, remembering personal information about the people they meet with, and, of course, networking regularly.

Successful people limit their exposure to negative people and naysayers and spend time with those who effect change and who will be a positive influence. They network to find people who can help them on their way to further success.

Even people who haven’t reached financial success should spend time with wealthy people. The best way to pick up their habits and traits is by keeping company with the people whose behaviors you want to emulate.

Do what is difficult

People with money work longer, harder, and smarter. They sacrifice today in order to reap the rewards further down the line. And they aren’t happy with the easy road. Instead, they usually make their money by finding the gaps in the market, by coming up with something no one else has before.

Furthermore, successful people are persistent. They don’t let failures keep them down, and, believe it or not, wealthy people usually have even more failures than most people. However, they learn from their mistakes. According to Inc.com, while financially successful people use their mistakes to help them succeed the next time, only 17% of the middle class can say the same.

Successful people realize that mistakes are inevitable. It’s how they react and move forward that sets them apart from the rest of us.

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