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The 7 "Ingredients" to Wealth


Common qualities of the rich include hard work, smart investing, frugality, and good luck. A study also found that persons with a net worth of at least $5 million usually possessed the following characteristics.

“Nothing is as likely to destroy your financial future as your own emotions.”William Bernstein, MD

When I was a young I once asked my physician-dad if we were rich. He told me that we were wealthy.

Spectrem Group, the nation’s leading research provider in the wealth management, and CNN Money recently did a study to come up with “wealth traits.”

Among the more common qualities of the rich were “hard work, education, smart investing, frugality, risk taking, and good luck.” Digging deeper, however, it was found that persons with a net worth of at least $5 million possessed these characteristics:

1. Entrepreneurial attitude

Research shows that the vast majority of “wealthy” Americans are in business for themselves. And while more than 50% of today’s US physicians are still self-employed working in private practice, the trend is not their friend. More and more doctors are opting to become employees.

“Entrepreneurs are responsible for almost all the economic growth in America.”

—Ronald Reagan

2. Always working

Constantly thinking and doing the job is another means to wealth. From medical school to internship to residency and on into medical practice, it’s the rare doctor who can sustain the 40-hour week. In my own study of physicians, I was told time and time again that hard work was their key to success.

“It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

―Babe Ruth

3. Get up and go

High-net-worth types have an abundance of energy and vigor. These are people who don’t wait around for something. They make things happen. I’ve seen this with the medical profession through the years. My dad wasn’t bragging when he said “doctors save lives every day.”

”Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.”

—Thomas Edison

4. High confidence

Wealthy types have a strong a sense of "I can do anything." They set and reach goals. Poise under pressure and determination to accomplish things are in their nature. When it comes to doctors many in the public might call this arrogance. But my understanding of the medical profession is that self-assurance is vital to their accomplishments.

“Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

―Norman Vincent Peale

5. Discerning

Those with wisdom—and, it appears, rich types—know what they don’t know. Even with confidence, they recognize they're not the smartest person on every matter. Their answer is to surround themselves with other smart people. They delegate—seeking out others to help them master the fundamentals and pay attention to details.

"He who won't be counseled can't be helped."

—Ben Franklin

6. Modest

With wealth comes the ability to buy things—a lot of things. But these successful people recognize that money can’t buy happiness. While they certainly live comfortably, they don’t show off their achievements. They apply the rule: Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”

—Coco Chanel

7. Sensible chance takers

While risk takers at heart, these types smartly hedge their bets. Investments are seen on a long-term horizon. Balance and caution is the guide. Physicians are probably lacking most in this area. As an editor of Physician’s Money Digest, I kept a DDD file—Dumb Doctor Deals. Sad but true.

“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”


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